The American Dream Queen

In this new economy where double-digit unemployment is the accepted norm, many believe the “American Dream” as we know it, is a thing of the past. Much like our long lost manufacturing industry driven overseas by government policies and suffocating regulations, or even displaying our nation’s flag in public (Fox News), the “transformation” of this country is well under way.

With half the population exempt from the federal income tax code, it’s no wonder they keep electing politicians that promise to “spread the wealth around”, particularly when they profess that “at some point you’ve made enough money” (YouTube).

President Obama claims he’s not pushing financial reform because we “begrudge success that’s fairly earned”, but just who defines, what “fair” is sir? A team of “Czars” appointed rather than elected, with little or no experience in the private sector?

I can relate to those striving to achieve the “American Dream”, having created a brand that made it from “conception to CVS” after years of sacrifice, effort, and commitment. Yet as hard as it is in this day and age to keep what you earn, or as a former business partner from theDeep South would say, “eat what you kill”, I was humbled and inspired this past week.

At the Bell Micro LPGA Classic in Mobile, AL, I was honored and privileged to meet the one and only Natalie Gulbis, a true American Dream Queen!  Ok, in our “celebrity obsessed” society, please look past the physical beauty, the stunning athleticism and looks. Natalie is a marketing genius, and her work ethic is beyond belief. In fact, most all the ladies of the LPGA exhibit a commitment to their craft that would leave most mortal men in a stupor. But Natalie has taken it to another level, and I can only pray that those in power deem her being “fair”, and that they don’t decide that she has “made enough money”. This incredible woman earns every bit of it, walking the fairways of the world and converting it to “green”…

No one is there to bail her out after a bad shot (other than her great caddie/manager/body guard/friend, Greg) and no government program will help her if she fails, and believe me, she is too big to fail, or should I say too talented to fail.

Based on the brief time I spent on the range with Natalie and Greg, this is certainly just a small sample of the time dedicated to her American dream…

  • 5-6am – work-out – cardio – weights – stretching
  • 7-8am – change – breakfast – to the course
  • 9 until – practice, practice, practice – full swing/short game
  • Depending on day – Pro-AM – practice rounds – P.R.
  • Fans – constant autographs on hats, calendars, you name it
  • Communications – instructor/family/friends/agents, etc
  • Media – interviews, pictures, tour officials
  • Marketing – designs golf shoes, fashion, sponsors…whew!

I promise (and I apologize Natalie) for forgetting the evening events, the commercials, and the other endless demands on her time. How she has such a sweet swing and consistent game is beyond my grasp. She plays a game folks; I am not familiar with…

They say your work and talent is simply a “vehicle” allowing the achievement of dreams. So what has Miss Natalie done with her obvious talent on the links? For those of you living in a cave since the “Queen of the LPGA greens” appeared on the scene, here is again, just a sample of her expertly played branding and marketing of her game and name…

Well let’s see (as I get a headache thinking of how she manages it all), from magazine articles/interviews and photo shoots (a natural beauty as well as an articulate communicator), to nationally distributed calendars (getting hot in here), Natalie does not miss a beat. Her image is so sincere, attractive, and marketable; the Golf Channel aired a “Natalie Gulbis” reality show in 2005. Not to stand still (or in anyone else’s line), Natalie kept moving her brand forward with superb internet presence, logo, and links to everything and anything “Natalie”.

Again, I am only reporting what little I know from a short period of time witnessing a true American icon up close and personal, but this business “model” guru, didn’t and hasn’t stopped there. Putting icing on the cake (or a ribbon in her braided hair if you will), one of my American business heroes came calling last year. The Great “Donald” Trump, selected Natalie for the “Celebrity Apprentice” series in the fall of 2009. There hasn’t really been much to be excited about this past year, and with the failings of our politicians, and even some celebrities and fellow professional athletes, Natalie Gulbis is an inspiration to me, and should be to most freedom loving American Dreamers.

Mr. President, I hope you don’t tell Natalie when and if she has “made enough money”, or if she is being fair with the wealth she should be “spreading around”. I recall after the 5 hour Pro-Am on Wednesday, in 90 degree heat and humidity, AFTER 5am wake up calls, AFTER personal fitness, AFTER public relations, practice, interviews, and that was BEFORE, she even got close to quitting time for most “working” Americans. I asked her how she tolerated playing with the amateurs, in the oppressive heat, after traveling across the country; arriving at midnight, up at dawn, grinding it out on the course till dark?

In her typical optimistic, congenial, and sweet tone, she replied, “oh its fun, I love my life, my career, and my fans”. Natalie, you have a fan for life in me, as I’m sure thousands worldwide would claim the same. I can promise you that those “American Dreamers” still working towards theirs, will fight for your freedom to be who you are till the last putt is holed. As they say on the LPGA, “These Girls Rock” and my goodness, this American Dream Queen never stops. Rock on Natalie, rock on!