Nicole Picken, Mullumbimby Golf Club’s new pro golfer, in one on the smart new carts.
Nicole Picken, Mullumbimby Golf Club’s new pro golfer, in one on the smart new carts.

Mullum welcomes Nicole as golf pro

Nicole Picken was a horse-mad young Mullumbimby girl until the day some neighbours took her out to the golf course for a bit of weekend fun.

From that moment on it was curtains for the horses as the 12-year-old used all her powers of persuasion on her parents to be allowed to drop horse riding and take up golf.

Fortunately her parents were convinced and last week Nicole came full circle as she returned to her home ground to become the first female golf professional at Mullumbimby Golf Course.

And just as it was the challenge of the new game that attracted the young Nicole to the sport, so it is the challenge of the new job that sees her bubbling over with enthusiasm.

“It’s a really exciting time to be attached to the club,” she said.

“The board has some great ideas about moving the club forward, to improve the course, the clubhouse and the facilities.”

Nicole knew from very early on that golf was where she wanted to spend her life.

She began a Professional Golf Association traineeship only a year or two after leaving Mullumbimby High School, undaunted by the masculine world she was entering.

“It’s a three-year apprenticeship,” explained Nicole, “and one of the hardest you can take on.

“You do a business degree as well as working 40 hours a week in the shop and playing golf.”

And while Nicole started her training as one of only two other women, she is pleased to see far more women training to get where she is.

She speaks highly of the skills learnt during training and in her working life.

“It teaches you so many life skills,” she said.

“How to deal with people, defuse tricky situations, stand up and give a speech if you win a game, make presentations, and it gives you the ability to relate to people of all ages.”

After Mullumbimby Nicole spent time in the big smoke, both in Melbourne and on the Gold Coast, as well as playing golf overseas, but after becoming a mother had to cut back a bit on work commitments.

But it was always the dream to come back to her much-loved childhood home, so when her husband was the first to find work locally they jumped at the chance.

With the position at the golf club for Nicole, it all “just fell into place,” with Nicole’s parents happily baby sitting while child care is sorted out.

Nicole and her team had three weeks of preparation before opening the doors of the shop on January 1.

There is also a brand new fleet of 13 carts for access to the course, now looking so gloriously lush after the recent rains.

Nicole plans to be in the job for at least as long as her predecessor.

“I see this as a long- term position,” she said, “and I feel very proud to be the club pro here.

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