Tuesdays with Corey interview with Oneda Maryon Castillo
Oneda Maryon Castillo was born in Akron Ohio, where she and her two brothers were raised by their single mom Ruth in Cleveland Ohio and Buffalo New York. She and her husband Ron of 47 yrs, have made Fayetteville, Georgia their home for the past 24 years. Oneda and Ron have been blessed two children Ron Jr. and Bianca along with four fantastic grandchildren.
Oneda joined the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) in 1997 becoming only the 3rd African American to reach Class A teaching status. She has served as a National Evaluator for the LPGA since 2005, and was its first African American appointee. The National Evaluation team is responsible for the certification testing of up and coming LPGA golf teaching professionals. In 2014 she became the first African American to be appointed to the LPGA’s Global Education Team. Global Educators teach the classroom material needed for LPGA Teaching Certification. The LPGA is the first and only American sport organization to open a headquarters outside of the United States choosing South Korea. Oneda travels to Seoul South Korea to teach Asian women from Korea, Japan and Vietnam how to be certified LPGA golf teachers.
Oneda is also a Certified Club Fitter, who enjoys helping golfers to improve their games, with the use of modern technology. Her high level of expertise is recognized by Titleist, who has sponsored her for many years. She also enjoys her work for the PGA (Professional Golf Association) traveling around the country to teach business women in the Golf for Women Clinics series. Oneda teaches other national programs such as LPGA*USGA Girls Golf, The First Tee, Executive Women’s Golf Association, The Georgia State Golf Association Adaptive Golf Academy, as well as The PGA HOPE Program (Helping our Patriots Everywhere). Now in her spare time Oneda is having fun doing some acting in the TV series Greenleaf!
Oneda’s greatest satisfaction however, comes from her work as The Director of Golf for the Women In Golf Foundation, a national organization headquartered in Atlanta. Oneda is passionate about it’s youth academy and college prep program. The foundation’s premier event is The Women’s Collegiate Championship which it has hosted every April for the past 25 years. This tournament is the national women’s championship for HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). It is with this foundation that she works so hard to empower women and youth through the game of golf in her community.
Oneda was named a TOP-50 BEST TEACHER for 2017-2018, presented by the Women’s Golf Journal. In 2016 Oneda was proud to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama. She was presented this award for her lifetime commitment to building a stronger nation through sharing the game of golf. Oneda was named Club Fitter of The Year in 2015 by African American Golf Digest. The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority named Oneda an Epic First, “Women Who Launched New Dimensions”. She was inducted into the African American Golfers Hall of Fame, on May 25, 2014. Oneda was voted by her peers LPGA South East Section Teacher of The Year in 2012. Her exploits have been widely publicized and featured on the Golf Channel’s series Golf in America, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlanta Journal, Atlanta Magazine, The Women’s Golf Network, and many others.
The goal of playing golf in all 50 United States was completed by Oneda with Ron on January 13th 2018, fake missile day in Maui Hawaii. Oneda is currently working on her LPGA Master Certification thesis.
Intro: Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, it's time for Atlanta Business Radio, spotlighting the city's best businesses and the people who lead them.
Stone Payton: Welcome to this very special edition of Atlanta Business Radio. It's time for Tuesdays with Corey, brought to you by our good friends at The Long Term Care Planning Group. Now, here's your host, Corey Rieck.
Corey Rieck: Thank you very much, Stone. Today, we have a great, great guest on today's show, Tuesdays with Corey. Oneda Castillo comes to us as a much sought after golf coach, golf consultant, and motivational speaker. She serves as a global education instructor for the LPGA and Director of Golf for the Women in Golf Foundation. She's a class A teaching professional and is a member of the African-American Golfers Hall of Fame. It's my great pleasure to have Oneda Castillo on today's show. Oneda, welcome.
Oneda Castillo: Good morning, Corey. Thanks for having me.
Corey Rieck: Oneda, you have a great story. Tell our listenership about how you got started in golf, and how you got to this point, and how you got so accomplished.
Oneda Castillo: I hope we have enough time 'cause this is-
Corey Rieck: Me too.
Oneda Castillo: ... this is one of my favorite questions that you asked, how I got started in golf. My husband is a wonderful family man, Ronald. And, of course, I call him Ron. But anyway, he went out with some buddies to play golf. And you know how guys are. They're, "Come on, man, let's go." So, they gave him some shoes to wear, gave him some clubs to use. The shoes, he said, were two sizes too small, but he wasn't gonna complain. He just went out and played. He had such a good time that the very next day, he said to me, "I want to go to the driving range and hit some golf balls."
Oneda Castillo: And my daughter, Bianca, was maybe three months old. And he said to me, it was a beautiful day in May. I'll never forget it, and he said to me, "Why don't you bring the baby, and you guys can get some fresh air. Come along with me." So, of course, get out of the house with a new baby on a sunny, beautiful 70-degree day, yeah, sounds like a good plan. I wrapped the baby up, and we went. And I was sitting on the bench watching him hit golf balls. And he knows I was an athlete my whole life, right? I always played sports growing up with the two brothers. And he had maybe five or six golf balls left at the bottom of that bucket. And he turned, and he looked at me, and he said, "Hey, you want to hit some of these? I'll hold the baby. Why don't you give it a try?"
Oneda Castillo: And that sentence right there, I call it a defining moment in my life. There was Oneda before golf. And after that sentence, it was Oneda with golf. And my life changed. I got up, swung that golf club, and of those five or six golf balls, whatever, I probably hit two of them. That seemed really good and felt really good. And that was the beginning. Before the week was over, I had signed up for golf lessons. He had gone to the local golf store and bought him, me, and our son, Ron Jr. sets of golf clubs. And off we went into our golf journey.
And because the guys were busy with their own hobbies, my son played Little League Baseball, my husband's a fisherman's hunter kind of guy, golf was my thing more so. And I just became engulfed in it. I had no problems getting a babysitter because mom and sissy were so happy we had this new baby, so I had babysitters, and I just ran off and pursued golf to the nth degree because it was my way of being able to go outside and play again.
Corey Rieck: What year was that, Oneda?
Oneda Castillo: Well, it's easy to remember because my daughter was born in 1983. So, there you go.
Corey Rieck: 36 short years ago.
Oneda Castillo: Yeah. And it seems short, Corey, because I have been so busy with it and growing. At first, it was me growing my game. And as I played and raising my children, I realized the great benefits of golf as I was going along and the kids were growing up in it, I saw the great benefits of it. And once I became proficient at it, I was that mom that was out there helping with the junior clinics. And then, I began to realize how wonderful it was to be able to share the game, and that's what I've been doing really ever since.
Corey Rieck: You're in excellent shape. And it's obvious to me that you've been an athlete who sort of turned into a golfer. What other sports did you play before you took up golf?
Oneda Castillo: Well, as an inner city kid, we went outside and we played all day. We didn't have Nintendo - did I say that right - and X-Box. So, we went outside and we played. And I played everything the boys played. Girls that I knew were over playing dress up and playing with baby dolls. That wasn't my thing. So, I was out there playing baseball, basketball, football. Whatever the boys were doing, typically, that's what I was doing. So, I was your classic tomboy. And having brothers, one older, one younger, of course, we just all went together.
Corey Rieck: So, you were the middle kid.
Oneda Castillo: I'm the middle kid.
Corey Rieck: I'm a middle kid.
Oneda Castillo: Yes.
Corey Rieck: [I think that explains a good bit. So, you hit some balls when you and Ron went out the first time.
Oneda Castillo: Yes.
Corey Rieck: And what were your thoughts when you picked up the club before you hit your first one?
Oneda Castillo: To be honest, I kind of was, "This seems like a stupid, boring game." But I was sitting on that bench, and I remember how perfect the day was, and how wonderful it was to be outside. And I was thanking God for my little daughter. And I was in a good place. And when he handed me that, being in that good place and loving to be outside and play, I was able to strike that ball, and I saw it just flying up against that blue sky. It was a euphoric type feeling. And if anyone, if you ever hit a golf ball with a driver, and it comes off that club face hitting that sweet spot, it's a wonderful feeling. And you just want to do it again, and be outside, and enjoy Mother Nature. And I'm that person. I love God's gifts and outdoors, you can see it, smell it, feel it there.
Corey Rieck: Yeah, there is something about that. So, you have two kids?
Corey Rieck: Bianca and Ron. Do they play?
Oneda Castillo: [00:06:52] Of course, they play growing up, Bianca doesn't play anymore, but her kids do. They play with me, of course. And my son, Ronald, is in the industry. He is the Program Director for the First Tee of North Florida.
Corey Rieck: Oh!
Oneda Castillo: Yes.
Corey Rieck: Another great program. So, your journey with the LPGA has been a fascinating one. Tell us about that.
Oneda Castillo: Well, once I decided to become a teacher, remember I said I was that parent that was there at the junior programs just helping out, and I enjoyed doing it. I got compliments from the professionals that were running the programs, "You're a good teacher." I'm hearing this, but okay. When my husband, who worked for Ford Motor Company at the time, he was in management there, we were transferred here to Atlanta because they felt like that facility needed some help. And that's when I decided that I was going to pursue golf as a career. And I got involved with the teaching aspect of it. I volunteered for every teaching aspect that I could. My first real job here was managing golf stores at Hartsfield International Airport. I did that. And then-.
Corey Rieck: How was that experience?
Oneda Castillo: Well, that was interesting because it was another side of it. It was the retail side, the business side. And I liked it, but that didn't really fill the bill for me, if you will.
Corey Rieck: Sure.
Oneda Castillo: And at that place, my journey here in Atlanta was defined because I met a gentleman named Lew Horne. And Lew's an attorney. He's deceased now. But he put me in contact with LaJean Gould. He and I chatted in the airport and kind of got to know each other. And he said, "There's a lady you need to meet." And LaJean had founded the Women in Golf Foundation, and she had just gotten it going, and the Collegiate Classic was getting started. And I took my little daughter at that time, was probably eleven - ten or eleven - and we went to watch the collegiate athletes play. And we enjoyed being there. I met LaJean. And she and I literally have been partners in the crime of growing golf amongst women and youth in Atlanta ever since.
Corey Rieck: You mentioned something that you have going on at the end of this month.
Oneda Castillo: Yes.
Corey Rieck: That golf tournament. Tell the listenership about that and its genesis. And you've, obviously, been heavily involved in making that a success. But tell us more about that.
Oneda Castillo: [Yes. The name of the tournament is the Women's Collegiate Championship. This is our 25th year hosting it here in Atlanta. We have the women golf teams from the historically black colleges and universities, the HBCUs. They come here, and they play their national championship. And this year, of course, is our 25th silver anniversary. It will be contested at Callaway Gardens on April 26th, 27th, and 28th.
The 26th is the pro-am version of that tournament where we do professional development for the ladies. We have people from the corporate community come in in the morning, and they do workshops with the young athletes. Our subject this year is, "Are you ready?" We want them to be ready. And we are really adamant about helping them to build their networks while they're still in the college arena. So, that when they get out, they step out into corporate America, and they have a network already going for them.
After the professional development segment, then the corporate people bring their team of golfers, and they're able to play with a collegiate athlete who is their pro. So, another opportunity for people to get to know each other, and those young ladies to help build that network. And then, the second two days on Saturday and Sunday is actually their national championship. Renee Powell, who is only the second African-American female tour professional, is coming in this year. We give away her trophy. But this year, she's coming in. She is not able to come every year. Obviously, she's busy. But special for the 25th anniversary, she will be here to greet the athletes and congratulate the winning team.
Corey Rieck: What a great thing there. To me, what an outstanding idea of being a young kid, graduated from school, you're sort of giving them a running start. You're getting their feet wet, if you will, meeting some of the people they'll be networking with. Well, the one thing about golf that I really like is that you're able to build a relationship with someone, and it's sort of accelerated if you're with them for 18 holes. They get to see you on your good moments. They get to see you in your other moments. And they get to see how you respond to both. I think that's pretty telling. And what a great idea to give those folks a running start.
Oneda Castillo: That's the way we see it. Exactly, Corey, because we know that in business, when you know golf, you are a member of a certain society. You understand the language. It's not that you hit the best drives or you the best player, but you're a part of that community now. And we realize that these young women, they're coming out of college, probably, the majority of them for sure, are not going to be tour players. But our whole goal is that they become life champions. And with the Women in Golf Foundation, what we do is we work with the youth. We have a youth program in the summer. We do the collegiate. And then, we do Businesswomen's Golf Clinics because, again, like you said, we want these women to be able to communicate well and be a part of that golf society. And you know people, when you play, like you said, you're out there for 18 holes, you get to know a person a lot better than you do having lunch for a couple of hours.
Corey Rieck: 100%. Would you agree that if you were a female executive, and you can play golf, don't you think that gives her an advantage, an additional advantage?
Oneda Castillo: Oh, without a doubt.
Corey Rieck: Yeah.
Oneda Castillo: I interviewed a young lady. I'm working on a project right now for the LPGA for my master's thesis. And I interviewed a young lady recently, and she told me that growing up in golf, she felt was a great tool for her when she got out into the business world. She felt like it helped her to make decisions better. It helped her to control her own emotions better. It helped her to be able to read people better. She literally said that golf has given her a leg up. Those were her words.
Corey Rieck: I would agree with all that. I think that one of the things that's useful with that is there's a discipline to it. You have to have a system of preparing for each shot of warming up, and you have to have a short memory. If you hit a bad shot, you've got to forget and move on. If you hit a good shot, you should forget and move on. And many will hit the bad shot, and it might define the next few shots, and you can't do that, right? I mean, would you agree with that?
Oneda Castillo: I absolutely agree. I remember with my son, he was probably about 14, another great athlete, and we were on the golf course, and he had a bad shot, and he threw the club. So, now, here's mom. This is a teaching moment. And I said to him, I said, "Number one, I bought those clubs. So, don't throw them anymore." And I said, "Number two, if you should throw it again, you're gonna go to the car and wait for me to finish playing because I'm enjoying my day. And number three, have you ever hit a good shot after throwing a club? Probably not." So, he worked on controlling his emotions. And to his credit, he did par the next hole.
Corey Rieck: It's an interesting point you bring up because there is, I believe, a certain modicum of decorum that's expected on the golf course. There's a certain politeness. It's expected that you're going to play by the rules. It's expected that you're not going to forget how many shots you took. And it's expected that you're going to not lose your program if you hit a bad shot.
Oneda Castillo: Exactly.
Corey Rieck: And I think for me, if I'm out there with someone, and those things happen, that's defining because they're going to do it on the golf course, they're probably gonna do it another place.
Oneda Castillo: They're going to do it in business. They're gonna do it in life. If they're lying about the score, they're gonna lie about other things. And that's why it's such a wonderful business tool for people.
Corey Rieck: It is.
Oneda Castillo: You're out there for four hours or so with them playing. And would you want to go into a business partnership with someone who is so ... what do I want to say? Sometimes, you see their anger, they're out of control, they can't control their emotions, and they cheat, all these things. Everybody in golf, you're expected to have those great qualities that we try so hard to show our kids. The game shows them the respect, the courtesy, the perseverance, that type of thing, all those good life skills.
Corey Rieck: Well, you're not going to always get your way every day in business. You're not always gonna win every deal. And I think part of it is golf has all those things in it, and it can happen on a hole, it can happen in the entire round. You could hit a great shot and follow it up with a not so great shot. And like I was saying earlier, you've got the short memory. And to me, I want to build relationships with people that are even. Okay. You might get a little wound up if you miss a deal, if you miss a shot, but you got to move on. And you can't let it define who you are for more than a couple of seconds.
And I think that that's one of the reasons that I really like golf. And I enjoy watching the people on the tour, both on the women and the men, because they're very, very stoic there. They're all very, very good. Yeah. And it's fun to watch them when there's a lot of pressure. And I mean, I enjoy watching how these guys respond because even if they hit it in a bad spot, they're so good, they're usually going to come out of it in a good state.
Oneda Castillo: And one of the things that golf does for people, I think, is it helps them to learn about themselves.
Corey Rieck: Yeah.
Oneda Castillo: That was one of the things that I enjoyed and appreciated about the game as I was learning it and becoming a good player, I should say, because I've always been a good athlete. But learning how to maintain my patience, learning how to, as you said, only hold on to it for a couple of seconds and be able to get back into that routine that works well for me to get set for another shot.
Oneda Castillo: And I work with my little granddaughter now. She's eleven. And I'm telling you, I'm having a blast being an employee of an 11-year-old. And I told her out on the golf course, I said, "There's two things that I don't want you to give me, your glove or your tee. You handle those. And I'll handle the rest of your equipment." And then, the thing that we've worked on that I've had so much fun with her is helping her to define herself. She's a winner, and she hates hitting a bad shot. And she'll have that face. And the thing that we work on, I'll say to her, "Who's in charge of how you feel?" And her response that we've practiced is she has to tell me, "I am." And then, I'll ask her again and I'll-
Corey Rieck: What a great point.
Oneda Castillo: I'll keep asking her, "Who's in charge of how you feel" until she smiles. And then, she'll start giggling. And what we found and what she's realized about herself is that when she smiles and that giggle happens, she hits better golf shots. So, it's about her learning about herself. Like you said, we're only gonna hold onto this bad feeling for a couple of minutes. And then, now, you take over to get ready to move on with life.
Corey Rieck: Well, I think that's where routine comes in. And if you have a defined pre-shot routine, that can help you with any anxiety that comes with hitting a bad shot or any bad feelings that comes with that. And you have to forget it. I mean, I think, it's-
Oneda Castillo: You have to.
Corey Rieck: I think it's okay to not be happy with yourself. You've got to have a short memory, and move on, and get into your next routine.
Oneda Castillo: I like that short memory line. I'm gonna use it.
Corey Rieck: But you're not going to give me credit for it, are you? So, you achieved class A teaching status with the LPGA in 2003.
Oneda Castillo: Yes.
Corey Rieck: What's involved with that? And that's a big deal too.
Oneda Castillo: It is, because the journey is educational. There's bookwork involved. People have to attend three national classes that are week-long. And they have to travel to get to them because they're not every place. So, you have to attend level one, level two, level three. But before you even get there, you have to pass a playing test. So, you have to go out and play to a certain ability, so that the LPGA is confident that you, at least, know how to negotiate a golf course properly. But then, you do all the bookwork. And then, you have to test out at different levels. And when I say test out, you have written test, and then you have teaching test. So, you have to actually take a student in front of an evaluator. And they are going to grade you on whether or not you can change golf, how your communication skills are, things like that. And I have become a member of the team that does that testing process.
Corey Rieck: Another thing that I think I'm very impressed with the use is you're a Hall of Famer. And that, obviously, is an achievement that's well earned. Tell the listenership about that and how all that came about.
Oneda Castillo: Well, the African-American Golfers Hall of Fame, obviously, a lot of people in it before I got there, Rene Powell and LeJean Gould is in there. A lot of people that you've heard about, maybe that you haven't heard about people like Calvin Peete.
Corey Rieck: I know Cal Peete. I know Cal.
Oneda Castillo: Yeah, yeah. Other athletes-
Corey Rieck: The only time he was ever out of the fairways was to take a phone call. I know you're going to use that too, and I want credit for that.
Oneda Castillo: Okay, I'll give you credit for that.
Corey Rieck: I love me some Cal Peete.
Oneda Castillo: Yeah.
Corey Rieck: He was he was money. He was never, ever out of the Fairway ever.
Oneda Castillo: Right, right. I want to say in his prime, when he was playing tournaments and on tour all the time, he kept holding the title of those Most Accurate Driver of the Golf Ball.
Corey Rieck: Absolutely.
Oneda Castillo: Yeah. Yeah. A great player for sure. But the the Hall of Fame, I'm in it because of being the third African-American female to achieve that class-A status. And I remember when I walked in for my first national class and I was nervous, it took-
Corey Rieck: Of course, you would be.
Oneda Castillo: Yeah. It took me some time to actually decide that I wanted to become a golf professional, but just the sharing and seeing what it did for society, for women and youth made me go ahead and make the decision. But I walked in, and I was greeted by, at that time, our LPGA teaching president, Dr. Betsy Clark. I'll never forget it. And she looked at me, and she smiled as such a wonderful smile, and took my hand, and she said, "I am so glad you're here." And she said, "We need you and our community needs you. And I need you to be a model for African-American women and African-American youth." And when she said that to me, it almost brought tears to my eyes because, first of all, I knew her but I didn't know her. It was my first time meeting her face to face. And for her to give me that kind of warm welcome, it was so inspiring to me. I'm like, "Man, I got to do this and I got to do it good."
Corey Rieck: Well, you obviously have. I mean, you've certainly been a model and a mentor to the African-American community and all women in general, really.
Oneda Castillo: And women in general, yes.
Corey Rieck: I think the picture is bigger than just the African-American community. For me, it is.
Oneda Castillo: I agree. I agree.
Corey Rieck: And I think that you've really done well with this. And what made you decide you wanted to be a teaching professional?
Oneda Castillo: Well, like I said, I enjoyed what I saw that it did in my own family. For instance, my son, I can remember when he was 14-15 years old, he would get up in the morning, and get on his bicycle with his golf clubs on his back, and ride over to the golf course, so that he could be a spotter in the tournament on the weekend. And then, he would get to play free golf. And at that time, he was playing baseball for the high school. He didn't play golf until his senior year because the two sports conflicted. But he always wanted to play golf and keep his golf game going. And he was the kid who wouldn't stay up late because he had to get up early to play golf. And he'd say things to me like, "Mom, some of my buddies, they're crazy. They stay up, and they go to parties, and drink beer. But I got to get up and go play golf." So, I saw that it changed some of the decisions that maybe a young kid like him would make.
And then, like I said, with my daughter coming up, I would be that parent working with kids her age. And I saw how well they played together, how they learned those life-defining skills like respect, and courtesy, and all those things. And I just wanted to be a part of sharing that as much with kids as adults. I think I get more of a charge out of working with kids than adults. I love adults, obviously, men and women, but I really get a charge out of working with the youth. So, that was what made me want to do it.
Corey Rieck: Well, you've obviously had a huge impact on those things. And I would agree with you, playing the game, it teaches you a lot. Humility would be right up there. I think many athletes, people that are athletic with, say, football or tennis or some other sport, I think it's a surprise to a lot of them when they start playing golf about how difficult it is.
Oneda Castillo: Yes.
Corey Rieck: And just because you're a great athlete with these other things doesn't necessarily mean it's going to translate.
Oneda Castillo: That's true. And you know, and you've probably seen and heard of a lot of pro athletes that have come over to golf here in Atlanta, they love Smoltz from the Braves and Glavine, all those guys are good golfers. And just the work that I've done in some of the celebrity tournaments and things like that. I've seen guys, Marcus Allen, I mean, the list just goes on and on of the pro-athletes that have come over to golf. Some of them are really good.
Corey Rieck: Yes.
Oneda Castillo: And others can hit it a country mile, but you can't find it.
Corey Rieck: But they don't know what zip code it's going to end up in.
Oneda Castillo: Exactly. Exactly.
Corey Rieck: Well, I think that it's certainly great to ... just because you're a great athlete in another sport, it doesn't necessarily translate. And I think the equipment, it's so technical now. Just the thought of looking at a putter, and if you told me in 1983 I might pay $350 for a Scotty Cameron putter, I would have said you're nuts. That's like a whole set of golf clubs. And yet, it's gotten incredibly technical. Would you agree?
Oneda Castillo: Oh, absolutely. We live in an age where everything that we use and do is generated by computers. And the golf equipment is no different. So, they've drilled it down to the nth degree in terms of efficiency. And of course, the USGA governs how fast that ball can come off the club face. It governs the size of everything. And what we're able to do because we do use computers in the fitting process, we are able to match the numbers and make sure that we've got you into the most efficient piece of equipment for you. Just a quick, quick technical, no matching, we look at ball speed, launch angle, and spin rate. And if those numbers don't match, then we could actually get you a little bit more efficient by making sure that the math is correct, but I need a computer to do it.,
Corey Rieck: So, I think for somebody that's looking to get started, I think that having a coach, having a teacher like you would be so advantageous for multiple reasons. Number one, just from the standpoint of not developing bad habits 'cause I see a lot of people that they have bad habits, they don't have a pre-shot routine, or the routine varies on every shot, and it just doesn't set up well for a good round. And someone like you that has all of your experience to be able to help somebody right away with no bad habits. But I think maybe even something that's equally important is helping them navigate the equipment because I always wonder how many people are going to this store, or that store, "Oh, I'm going to buy that. I'm going to buy that." You need to have someone like you say no, this is the equipment that you need to hit, given your swing, given your balls," and all those things you talked about. And a whole labyrinth to navigate through, in my opinion.
Oneda Castillo: You're absolutely right. And as a golf professional, because I'm a teacher as well, so there's two departments going on there that need to actually sync up. And what happens is I always say to people, when you're just starting the game, we don't want to spend a lot of money, not right off the bat, because we've got to figure out what your body does.
Corey Rieck: And you may not like the game.
Oneda Castillo: Yeah, you may not like it. But as you play, we start to learn your strengths, your weaknesses, and your flexibilities, all these things. And then, we can get you matched up with the equipment that works with you and not against you.
Corey Rieck: 100%.
Oneda Castillo: Yeah.
Corey Rieck: 100%. And do you think that if there is a hundred golfers out there, what percentage of them do you think just go out and buy stuff off the rack versus saying, "Hey, I want to call Oneda, and I want to have her tell me what clubs I should get"?
Oneda Castillo: The number is a lot bigger than it should be. I'm just going to throw a number. I'm going to say 80.
Corey Rieck: You think 80% of people just go buy stuff?
Oneda Castillo: They just go buy stuff. I'm doing something now that I call, Invite Her. So, I'm inviting ladies to come and play. We're doing a special clinic series for them to get them started. And I'm amazed at the equipment that they show up with. This was my husband's old glove, or these were my son's, and I just brought them with me. And the husbands that will just give the wife his old stuff and say, "Go ahead. And if you like it, I'll buy you some." Well, dude, how she gonna like it when she makes a good motion, and club's working against her, and she doesn't get a good result. So, the number is high.
Corey Rieck: Yeah, I agree with that.
Oneda Castillo: And I can remember, people would come in and they'd want all of what Tiger's playing with or they'd want all of what Rory is playing with because that's their hero. And it has nothing to do with what you actually need.
Corey Rieck: Yeah, Tiger's got a little more of a ... I'm a big fan of Tiger Woods and Rory. Little different swing speed there.
Oneda Castillo: Exactly.
Corey Rieck: Those two guys are very, very powerful, powerful people.
Oneda Castillo: Right. And what they're playing with didn't come off the rack.
Corey Rieck: No.
Oneda Castillo: It did not. And so, my answer to people like that is, if that company is paying you to play with their equipment, then you should play with it. If not, you should play with what works.
Corey Rieck: In fairness to those two guys, Tiger and Rory, those clubs are geared to the nth degree to their swing, to their speed, all of those things, all of the clubs.
Oneda Castillo: It's like a custom-tailored suit. And you said yourself about the $350 Scotty Cameron, it'll go even higher if you have your name in it and have it painted like I do mine. But if you were to go out, let's just say, and buy yourself a $3000 suit, would you buy it off the rack?
Corey Rieck: No, not a chance.
Oneda Castillo: No, no. That tailor is going to have that thing fitting you perfectly. And the other thing I say about the fitting process is if you bought that $3000 suit and it fits you perfectly, you can go get another one and have it made and altered to fit you perfectly. But it won't fit you better than the first one unless your body changed. And golf equipment is really the same way.
Corey Rieck: I'll tell you another thing that's important. When somebody is just getting started to have someone, a coach like you, to help keep the bad habits out. But also, we want to put people in the most conservative position to have success. You don't do that if you're buying clubs off the rack, if you're just buying it because Tiger, or Rory, or Phil hits those clubs. I mean, those guys are in a different world golf-wise. And so, I think keeping people happy, keeping him engaged, fitting him with the right equipment, so they kind of have a positive experience as much as could be had for somebody that's just getting started is really important, I think. Don't you?
Oneda Castillo: Absolutely, absolutely. And there are people, I talk about one of my best buddies who would go and buy the latest and greatest. He didn't care. He'd just go buy it because he wanted to have that new piece of equipment. And I had a board member of mine come in, and she wanted to get fitted for a new driver. So, I'd put her on the computer, and she could not hit any new driver better than she was hitting her current one. So, I talked with her, and we realized that her irons were actually old, worn out, and outdated. So, we got her into new irons, and she went on that very season to win the club championship and have a hole in one. So, it was the irons that she actually needed to improve her game as opposed to just buying a new driver, which we realized wasn't working better than her old one. So, that's why I like working with people and working with that complete golfer as opposed to just selling them something because they say they want to buy the latest and greatest.
Corey Rieck: And isn't it interesting? I remember going to the range. And when I got started, I had a coach. And he said, "I want you to look at what clubs these guys are hitting on the range. And what do you think was the number one club that most people were hitting?"
Oneda Castillo: Driver.
Corey Rieck: And he said-
Oneda Castillo: It hasn't changed.
Corey Rieck: And he said, "It's a club you're probably going to hit 12 times around."
Oneda Castillo: Right?.
Corey Rieck: And he said, "Don't you think it makes more sense to practice on the wedges, and the nine irons, and the low irons." Right away. I mean, Jimmy taught me that, "okay, that's okay, but the game is 60 yards in." And that's something that I still see when I go to the range.
Oneda Castillo: Yes, you still see it. And to that point, that's why people are spending more money for the putters, because the driver, you're going to hit 12 drives, but the putter, you're going to hit on every green probably. And then, the wedges, now, have gotten so much better than they used to be. Corey, you used to just walk in, and there were just a couple of things on the shell. Now, you can customize the lie angle, the bounce angles. I'm not gonna get too technical but-.
Corey Rieck: Thank you.
Oneda Castillo: Yeah. You used to have one wedge. Now, you have four.
Corey Rieck: It's a little bit. When you look at just the driver, folks are saying, "Well, I'm going to hit it 10 degrees today," or "eight degrees today," or "I'm going to use this shaft." And it's gotten unbelievably technical. But the wedges is something also that is the lie angle, the bounce rate, the degrees. I'm sure that your giving counsel to your clients and students based on their swing, based on what you've seen them play and saying, "Hey, you need to have this kind of a setup." That's really important as far as I'm concerned.
Oneda Castillo: Yeah, it is. And not only do we look at what the player does, but we also take into consideration the conditions that they play in. And if, for instance, the sand, if you play here in Georgia, the sand here is different than most of the sand you experience in Florida. So, if I've got a player who's a tournament player, we're actually drilling down even more because they're traveling. So, they have to be prepared for the different conditions that they're going to get as they go from state to state, even country to country.
Corey Rieck: So, speaking your state to state, you have completed recently a quest to play golf in all 50 states.
Oneda Castillo: Yes.
Corey Rieck: Why did you do that?
Oneda Castillo: Well, I was sitting at my desk one day thinking that I had played in a lot of places and travel was always something that I've enjoyed and we've enjoyed as a family. I wrote them down, and I got to 25. So, I said, I played in 25, might as well play the other 25. So, there you go.
Corey Rieck: Top five golf courses that you played.
Oneda Castillo: Wow! That's a good one, Corey. Of course, Pebble Beach.
Corey Rieck: Iconic.
Oneda Castillo: Iconic and the beauty is phenomenal. I love Pinehurst. The whole town, not just the courses, but of the courses, Pinehurst number two. And Pinehurst is a town, basically, that I think everybody should go to. Cog Hill in Chicago, I truly loved. Eastlake here in Atlanta-
Corey Rieck: Oh, sure.
Oneda Castillo: ... I have to say is my favorite golf course in Georgia. Clearview Golf Course in Ohio. And that is the golf course that's owned by Renee Powell that her dad built. I love that because of it's so wonderful. The grass is magnificent and the venue itself is historic because of the owner and the builder, Mr. Powell.
Corey Rieck: Where do you play here? Do you have of course you play out of here?
Oneda Castillo: Yeah, I live in Fayette County, as you know. And I play at Whitewater mostly. It was home course for my daughter, Bianca, when she played for Fayette County High. And now, that little 11-year-old that I work for, that's where we usually go.
Corey Rieck: I love how you position that you work for the 11-year-old.
Oneda Castillo: I do.
Corey Rieck: That's funny.
Oneda Castillo: It's a great job. I love it.
Corey Rieck: Who is your favorite golfer?
Oneda Castillo: Famous or non-famous?
Corey Rieck: Anybody. Of all the golfers, who's had the most effect on Oneda?
Oneda Castillo: I've got to say Tiger.
Corey Rieck: Yeah.
Oneda Castillo: And the reason for that is I'll never forget when he won the Masters in 1997 by 12 shots. That-
Corey Rieck: I mean, that was a whitewash.
Oneda Castillo: That Sunday was my birthday. Not only that, I had just turned professional. And when he won that tournament, there was a definition that was given in terms of African-Americans in golf, that there was a level of excellence there that had never been seen. And he gave a validation that wasn't there. It, probably, should have been by some of the people like the Ted Rhodes and the Bill Spillers of the world, who never got to play really at the professional level because of Caucasian-only cause that used to exist in the PGA Charter. But when he did that, it changed the golf terrain really for everybody. But I take my hat off to him.
Corey Rieck: Yes.
Oneda Castillo: Absolutely.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. I'm a big fan of his golf-wise. I think that one of the things I appreciate about him is that the door may have been cracked a little bit for him, but he kicked the door down.
Oneda Castillo: Yeah, he did.
Corey Rieck: And he didn't just win. He won by a wide margin.
Oneda Castillo: Yes.
Corey Rieck: And I love the fact, I love watching him when he has the red shirt and the black slacks on Sunday. And these guys can say all day long that they weren't afraid of him, but you and I both know that's not true. They were 100% afraid of him. Otherwise, they would have beaten him during the time when he was really at his height. And he could play his B minus game, and it's still better than most of those guys.
Oneda Castillo: Exactly.
Corey Rieck: So, I really appreciated that about him. And the other thing I think that was interesting was he really put Nike on the map.
Oneda Castillo: No doubt.
Corey Rieck: And Phil Knight gave him ... I remember this because right about the time he won the Masters, Phil Knight gave him that $50 million and everybody said, "You are nuts." And Phil Knight got into the game of golf because of Tiger. Tiger made golf cool for everybody.
Oneda Castillo: That's true.
Corey Rieck: Certainly, I think he sent a message to the African-American black community about golf, but I think he made it cool.
Oneda Castillo: He did.
Corey Rieck: He was the first ... I mean, I love Jack Nicklaus.
Oneda Castillo: Yes.
Corey Rieck: But Tiger made golf cool.
Oneda Castillo: Yes, he did. He made it look like fun. He had that great smile, the fist pump, and the youth looked at him. When I was managing those stores in the airport, I saw a whole different demographic coming into the golf store just to see what was going on after that day in 1997.
Corey Rieck: Well, and I think the other thing that I really liked about Tiger is Tiger was the first one, I think, in my opinion, that ... he was an athlete. When you look at how he worked out, when you look at how he built himself up, I mean, he was built like an NFL safety with all the weight work he did. And people, I think, probably recoil in horror at all that. But I mean, he could punish the golf ball. And I think he made ... he is an athlete that chose to be a golfer.
Oneda Castillo: Yes.
Corey Rieck: And I think he did a lot. He was trans- ... transformative is a word that I would use to describe him. And he's compelling. I mean, when he's in contention, golf's relevant. When he's not in contention at the end, it's not as relevant. And even now, when he's trying to come back, I think that he's a compelling figure, like him or not. But to me, I'm a big fan, and I think he's done a lot for it. And he really worked at getting in shape, being an athlete. And I mean, a lot of people don't think that you're an athlete if you play golf, and I think Tiger really helped dispel that.
Oneda Castillo: Yes. Yes, he certainly did. And the guy that actually was there before him doing that was Gary Player. Gary Player from South Africa. And he played well into his 70s on the senior tour. And I think he was the only guy who's played at the professional level for five decades. And Tiger, hopefully, what he's had done with his back will allow him to do something similar.
Corey Rieck: Well, I think, the other thing that I respect about Tiger is that he won the US Open on one leg. And anybody that said ... I think he's got enormous courage and enormous ... I love his focus, and I love the fact that he said, "All right, Rocco Mediate, I'm going to handle you, and I going to beat you on one leg." And then, he did it. And did you ever think that that would be ... I thought that we were just kind of getting started. That was his 14th major. And then, the stuff happened. And I really thought that he would be way beyond Jack's record of majors after winning that US Open against Rocco Mediate.
Oneda Castillo: Right. And to answer your question, the best way I can answer it, that day in 1997, when he won by 12 shots at Augusta, I said a little prayer. I said, I hope he stays healthy because if he stays healthy, he's going to break whatever records are there. And then, the health issues- the leg, the back, all that stuff that happened with him. And with the leg issue, that brings up another subject that I wanted to touch on, which is the adaptive golf that I've been doing. I've been teaching people golf that maybe don't have either like them works. And one of the things that's awesome about that, Tiger won the US Open on one leg, but to have a guy sit in what we call an adaptive golf chair, and sit up, and swing, and hit a golf ball, a 16-year-old tell me how great that felt because he hadn't hit a golf ball since this car accident that he was in, and he could now be on the golf course and play again just makes me feel like what I'm doing is worthwhile.
Corey Rieck: Well, it certainly is. And they're incredible people. And it's great that you've expand your brand to help those folks too. What gives you the most satisfaction with what you do? I mean, we haven't really touched on how I met you is I saw you as a motivational speaker. I knew about your golf acumen, but you do all these things. And what of all these things that you do gives you the most satisfaction?
Oneda Castillo: I think what keeps me going the most is when someone walks up to me, and, sometimes, I don't remember their face because it's been a while. I've been doing this a long time, and I've seen a lot. I remember swings better than I do faces sometimes. But have a youngster walk up and say, "Miss Oneda, thank you. My golf has caused me to be able to get this job, and I'm doing so well with it. My bosses let me do this and do that." I've had the women come up to me and say, "Thank you. Golf has opened up something else for me to do socially, and I'm able to get up, and get out, and meet new people." To have that kid say that he could hit a golf ball and be on a golf course again. To see kids giggling and laughing going down the fairway. A young man that walks in with his pants sagging and his hat on backwards to our clinic, and then he walks out two weeks later with his hat turned around and his shirt tucked in. And he's saying, "Thank you," and he's being polite, that's satisfaction for me.
Corey Rieck: Well, you've had a lot of honors. And probably, we don't have enough time to go into it. We've touched on some of them being a Hall of Fame, but you're also recognized as one of the best instructors. How did all that come about? I mean, first of all, I'm not surprised, but how did all that come about?
Oneda Castillo: Really, just from the years and years of working, and the people that have come through, especially with the foundation that I worked for, we're proud to say that all of the youth that have come through our program and stayed with us have gotten college scholarships. We work really, really hard. And we call our program Golf and Life Skills. The kids do golf in the morning, and they do life skills in the afternoon. And with life skills, it's everything from table etiquette, teenagers are filling out college applications, we help them with that. We talk to them about social media and being responsible with that. We do nutrition and fitness.
Oneda Castillo: And so, just all the years that I've worked with that type of thing. And now, I actually teach women how to teach as a global instructor. I've been to Korea. I've teach classes over there to Korean, and Japanese, and Vietnamese women helping them to get their class A certification. So, there's a lot that has gone into my teaching of people. And as I teach one person, they affect how many people who affect so many other people. So, it's like you just keep giving and building and the territory expands.
Corey Rieck: Now, everybody's very fortunate to have you in this role. You were awarded the President's Lifetime Achievement Award from President Obama. Tell us about that and what was involved with that.
Oneda Castillo: Yeah, I was recognized by a group here in Atlanta, Golf for Businesswomen. Anyway, I was contacted by this lady. She knows me. I've worked with her, Patrina King. And I've worked with her. And they had to fill out this application. And I have over 4000 years of volunteer time noted that caused me to be qualified for that award. And some of the things that I have done over the years, obviously, the First Tee, Hook a Kid on Golf, programs here in the city of Atlanta, just volunteer time where I'm out here doing what I do because I'm sharing, and want to see change in our community, and help mainly youth. I don't so much volunteer for adults, but mainly with youth. And now, I work with the Hero Program, which is helping our patriots everywhere. Hope Program helping our patriots everywhere. So, I've done a lot of other volunteer work, and that's what caused me to be able to be awarded by President Obama.
Corey Rieck: Well, that's a tremendous achievement, without question. To me, I see that you have these roles, you're a motivational speaker, a golf consultant, a golf coach. Is there one that resonates with you more than another one role that you prefer or one role that you like doing more than another? I mean, I know you like them all, but is there an order?
Oneda Castillo: Well, I think I told you my favorite job is working for that 11-year-old. And then, I love working with the junior clinics next. And then, I love teaching in the global education program because those women, each woman is going to go out and affect her community. And anytime I get those phone calls from those ladies, and they maybe need some help or maybe just need an encouraging word or two, I'm happy to take those calls and help in any way that I can because I know that they're gonna be able to make a difference. And I think that's why I'm here.
Corey Rieck: How are you securing your clients?
Oneda Castillo: That's a great question. I have worked at the social media part a bit because I know the millennials and that's the way people obtain information today. So, I have a website, onedagolf.com. And I do Instagram, Twitter, Facebook because that's just the way things are done in our society. But other than that, it's word of mouth.
Corey Rieck: Is one social media option more productive for you in terms of getting clients, and another is one more effective for you?
Oneda Castillo: I haven't actually tracked that. So, it would be hard for me to give an effective answer. I would say that Facebook is the bigger one, maybe because it's been around longer. But like I said, it's really actually more a word of mouth.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. Doesn't surprise me. Who do you think is your ideal client?
Oneda Castillo: I love people and-
Corey Rieck: I never would've picked up on that.
Oneda Castillo: My ideal client is someone who walks away enjoying the game, and that puts it back on me because I think I'm responsible for their enjoyment. So, as much as I'm there working on the fundamentals and everything, I work very, very hard to listen to the client and give them what they want.
Corey Rieck: Yeah, I get that loud and clear from knowing you that you are an excellent listener, which if you're gonna be a teacher, you have to be that.
Oneda Castillo: And I could tell you, there's a handful of people that I think in my early days as a teacher that I wish I could get back because I just didn't know enough to give them what they really needed at that moment in time. So, I work really, really hard to make sure that I do that today.
Corey Rieck: There's an old saying I just made up, Oneda.
Oneda Castillo: Okay.
Corey Rieck: Hindsight's 20/20.
Oneda Castillo: I love it. I'm going to steal that one from you.
Corey Rieck: And not give me credit for that either.
Oneda Castillo: No.
Corey Rieck: Okay. What do you think is the biggest challenge in your business?
Oneda Castillo: I hear a lot of things from the younger people coming along, the biggest challenge is the pay isn't always good. Remember, I got an award for volunteer hours, but I do it because I love it. And I say to young people, if you're coming into this business thinking you're going to get rich, do something else. Do it because you love doing it. And that's not just this business.
Corey Rieck: It's any business.
Oneda Castillo: It's like any business.
Corey Rieck: Yeah.
Oneda Castillo: And if you are good at what you do, you'll enjoy life because money isn't what gets enjoyment. And I think that's the biggest challenge for some young people who love the game, maybe love playing the game, want to get involved in the game, but they can't afford to do it because as an apprentice or someone who's just starting out, there's just not a lot of money there. So, you have to love being a part of it and sharing.
Corey Rieck: How has your business evolved over the years?
Oneda Castillo: Step by step. And like I said, as the Director of Golf for the Women in Golf Foundation, that's kind of defined, I'll say, my foundation for each and every year. It's what I love doing and I focus on the most. And then, the other thing that I've done that's helped me actually to play in my 50 states is I do the PGA Women's Golf Clinic. So, I go around the country teaching women golf and playing in different states. And next week, I go to Charlotte. And the week after that, I'm going to DC. And I teach in these clinics. And then, I'll go to Texas, and I'll get to hang out with some buddies there. And so, I love the different facets of what I do. It allows me to grow my network. My territory is big, and I enjoy every moment of it, to be honest with you.
Corey Rieck: Your territory may be big. I think your reach is even bigger. And so, when you go play a Whitewater, what's an average score that you might shoot on 18 holes?
Oneda Castillo: Oh, my goodness. It's a misconception to think that a golf professional like myself goes out and plays. When I go out at Whitewater these days, it's as an employee of the 11-year-old. So, I'll hit a shot or two mostly to demonstrate. But to answer your question about me, if I today, because I never practice anymore for myself because I'm at work on the tee with that person, but I'll shoot in the 80s. And if I get the opportunity to practice a little bit, I can get it in the 70s. And anytime I get in the 70s, there's big smile on my face. I call myself a hack and pearl. So, yeah. But I said to a gentleman at a party not too long ago because he asked a similar question, and I said to him, "When I go on the golf course these days, it's not about me. It's typically about someone else. Yeah."
Corey Rieck: You've been asked and invited on the show because another former guest has highly recommended you. And with all of your success that you've had, what do you think sets you apart if you had to pick a couple of items?
Oneda Castillo: I would say, the fact that I love people, and I love new things, I'm not afraid of a challenge. I think that's big in my case. Some of the things that I've done as a golf pro. I've done because I was in a room or on an email that ask, "Is there anybody who wants to?" And it looks challenging. And I look at it and I think for a moment I say, I'll do it. Not always sure that I'm going to be successful, but I'll do it because it needs to be done, and I think I'll be successful. I'm gonna work hard to try to do a good job and set a good example. And mainly, like in the LPGA, for me, being one of the first to come through at the level that I'm at, I've always wanted to set a good example for the young ladies that come along behind me.
Corey Rieck: Well, you're certainly a shining example for anyone. If you could give the younger version of Oneda some advice, what would it be?
Oneda Castillo: Gosh, I love myself. I think that I might be more patient with myself more than anything, and to stay focused because I've been that person that says yes. I had one of my buddies say, "You need to learn how to say no." And then, when you change your mind and say yes, people will be happy. But I've been that person that has said yes. And then, that has caused my plate to be so full that I don't have enough time all the time for myself. And I think I would give myself the advice to put myself on my schedule a little bit more.
Corey Rieck: If there was a young lady that wanted to follow in your footsteps, what advice would you have for her?
Oneda Castillo: Always do your best and never be late. My mom said, "If you're on time, you're late." So, never be late and always do your best. And save some smiles for the family.
Corey Rieck: Well, you've had a great run, great success, and it's been a pleasure having you on today's show, Oneda. If the listenership wanted to get a hold of you, how would they do that?
Oneda Castillo: Well, there's a lot of ways. But I tell people, just Google my name, Oneda, O-N-E-D-A, and something will come up. I have a website, onedagolf.com. It'll come up. African-American woman golfer, you Google that, I'll come up.
Corey Rieck: Is there an e-mail address or anything that you would have the folks contact you on?
Oneda Castillo: Yes. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corey Rieck: Oneda, you've been a great guest and congratulations on all of your success.
Oneda Castillo: Thank you.
Corey Rieck: Thank you for being on the show and continued success.
Oneda Castillo: Thank you, Corey. And continued success to you. Thanks for having me.