Friday, April 4, 2008

Natalie Gulbis

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Why Is She Famous?

Natalie Gulbis first became a golfer to watch when, at 14, she became the youngest to qualify for an LPGA tournament. By age 18 she was already a professional, winning over just as many fans with her sex appeal as with her swing.

Natalie Anne Gulbis was born on January 7, 1983, in Sacramento, California. Natalie's father John worked for the Sacramento County Probation Department, while her mother Barbara continues to act as purchasing director for a Sacramento medical laboratory. Natalie first hit the links at age 4, when her father began to teach her to play golf. She soon fell in love with the sport. At 7, she won her first tournament, and by 10, young Natalie was already breaking par.

In 1996, 13-year-old Natalie finished in second place in the California State Women's Amateur tournament. The top spot went to another future LPGA player, Dorothy Delasin. The following year, however, Natalie came back to win the tournament. That same year, she became the youngest player to ever qualify for an LPGA event, playing in the Long Drugs Challenge. Natalie would hold this record until 2002, when 12-year-old Michelle Wie made fresh claim to it.

natalie gulbis the all-american

Natalie continued developing her golf game at Granite Bay High School, where she played on the boys' team. Despite the fact that she was also committed to gymnastics and diving, Natalie still excelled academically, and graduated early, at age 16.

On the strength of her high school scores, Natalie was given a scholarship to Arizona State University in 1999. At that time, Arizona's golf team was the defending NCAA champs. In her freshman year, Natalie won three tournaments and was recognized with All-American honors. The next summer, she qualified for the US Women's Open, was ranked 34th among amateurs, and then was named MVP at the USA-Japan Collegiate Golf Championship. On the strength of these achievements, Natalie made the decision to turn pro.

natalie gulbis joins the lpga

Natalie went to the LPGA Qualifying Tournament (aka "Q-School") in the fall of 2000, and earned a spot on the tour on her first attempt. In 2001, Natalie moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. Her reason for doing so was initially strictly for tax purposes, but she soon grew to love her new home on Lake Las Vegas, about 30 minutes from the strip. Another advantage to her new location was its proximity to the Butch Harmon School of Golf, where she could take daily instruction from the same man who tutors golf heavyweights like Tiger Woods and Adam Scott.

In 2002, Natalie tied for fifth at the ShopRite LPGA Classic and for fourth at the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic. These two performances propelled her into second place in the Rookie of the Year points standings. The following year, Natalie tied for 12th at the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship and scored a career-low 63 in the third round of the Welch's/Fry's Championship. In 2004, Natalie finished in the Top 15 in five tournaments and carded her first LPGA career hole in one in the final round of the Safeway Classic.

natalie gulbis' calendar

In 2005, Natalie released her second calendar. The first annual 2004 edition was deemed "too provocative" by the USGA, who cancelled Natalie's signings, but it still proved to be a very successful enterprise. Natalie has also played on many charity and Pro-Am events, where she has teed off against such celebrity athletes as Roy Jones Jr., Michael Jordan and Barry Bonds.


"I see myself as an athlete and just try to market myself as a feminine athlete." -Natalie Gulbis


Natalie may not consider herself a sex symbol, but she's easily one of the sexiest female golfers around. She put out her own racy calendars in 2004 and 2005, and posed in a bikini for FHM. As far as Natalie's concerned, her physical appeal is all part of building a fan base for the sport. "Whatever brings fans out to watch is great," she explains.

Natalie isn't currently seeing anyone, but she has some firm ideas about what she's looking for in a man. She's attracted to anyone who is passionate about what he does. It needn't be golf -- but it would help, as she has more in common with athletes. "If he has a long drive and he's good looking," admits Natalie, "that would turn me on."


Natalie Gulbis has been able to make a very good living playing golf all day -- we don't know how other people measure success, but that sounds impressive to us. She started at 4 and won the California State Women's Amateur at only 14. A few years later, she has made it to the LPGA, and has been playing professionally since 2001.

While not readily known to the broader public, Natalie has long been marked as an up-and-comer by LPGA fans. In fact, following interviews on ESPN and in Sports Illustrated, and photo shoots in men's mags like FHM, Natalie (with the help of a business manager and two agents) is enjoying fame that is disproportionate to her standings in the LPGA. Were she to finish in the Top 5 more often and even win some tournaments, Natalie would likely become a real superstar.

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