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‘Boxed in’ by golf’s status quo traditions, Seema and Nisha Sadekar come out swinging

Tradition has forever shaped the game of golf: the strict etiquette, the abiding sportsmanship and, yes, the polo shirts. And it makes sense: golf is a difficult game, so the fewer distractions, the better. It’s also why, if you are going to rock the boat a little, you’d better be able to put a good swing on the ball. Well, sisters Seema and Nisha Sadekar can — and do.

Seema and Nisha, known to many as the Sadekar sisters, are IMG Sports Academy graduates, former top collegiate golfers and touring pros, constant fashion trend-setters and — for more than a decade — principals of the dynamic golf-management-and-events firm PGD Global. Their lives have been shaped by challenging the status quo and they’ve succeeded, with tenacity and style.

“We grew up in a fairly strict Indian household where our parents loved sports. I was 12 and Seema was 8, and our dad said, ‘I want you girls to start playing golf.’ And we initially thought ‘Who plays golf? Only old people play golf, right?’”

Nisha Sadekar

Finding themselves in the unlikely game of golf
Sadekar sister find themselves in the most unlikely place - golf

Seema and Nisha started to spend a lot of quality time with their dad playing golf. He would take them to the Canadian Open and show them the different players. They still felt disconnected from the game. They didn’t see golfers or golf fans who were like them. There weren’t many people of color or players their own age when they began to play. They didn’t feel like they belonged.

But their parents saw the sisters’ potential and kept pushing them. They recognized the girls felt uncomfortable and forced them to embrace that experience and figure out how they did belong. And they did – from a young age, Seema and Nisha got their understanding of life and competitiveness from golf.

PGD Global is born

PGD Global is a product of Seema and Nisha being uncomfortable. Their business produces and showcases events that break barriers. One of those events is Augusta Jam, a celebratory musical event held in Augusta, Georgia. during the Masters Golf Tournament in April. The event unites cultures and celebrates diversity through golf and music while supporting the local Augusta community and its charitable initiatives. In 2017, Hip Hop Artist Snoop Dogg participated in a golf lesson at Augusta Jam and then led a discussion on diversity, culture and growing the game of golf for diverse audiences.

“If it wasn’t for our past, feeling like we didn’t belong or trying to battle with our identity and those uncomfortable moments, we never would be where we are today.”

Seema Sadekar

The stance on women

Seema and Nisha want to see more women and more women of color play golf. Yet, many of the women who attend their events have never been to a golf course or past the clubhouse. The sisters believe that people need to see more diverse women in commercial or brand partnerships that surround the game and would speak to women in a way that would help the game grow.

When they were younger, Seema and Nisha’s father dressed them in pleated khakis and oversized golf shirts when they practiced. They felt their identity as Indian women was so much brighter, more exciting and fun than what golf offered — and they felt trapped in the status quo. That is where the fashion side of the business comes in. They partnered with brands like Fendi and Michael Kors to reach beyond golf’s traditional core audience. As corporate America spends more dollars on diverse women, that movement that can make a difference and bring those diverse women to golf.
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Is there still pressure to accept the status quo?

Nisha says: “One hundred percent yes.” People tell the Sadekar sisters that the events and projects they produce are not aligned with tradition. They continue to honor the game of golf and how it’s evolved, while asking about the next level of evolution and looking to define and grow the next generation of golf.

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