This is the first in a three-part installment of "Leaders in the Clubhouse: Executive Women in Golf" presented by KPMG.
A 10-time Emmy Award-winner and former longtime NBC Olympics producer, Molly Solomon now oversees production and programming on Golf Channel—the first woman to become executive producer for a national sports network. Solomon also serves on the advisory council for the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit, which will take place at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in June and will connect accomplished women like Solomon with the coming generation of women leaders.
How did you become interested in golf?
In 1993, I was assigned to be the production associate on NBC Golf, which means you do all the stats and graphics. I didn’t know what par was at the time. But I love sports, and whatever I get assigned I throw myself into. A mentor of mine, Jon Miller, took me aside after the second week and said, “If you’re going to work on this tour, you need to play golf.” He set me up with an instructor, Cindy Reid, who was at TPC Sawgrass, for five days of intense introductory lessons. I just fell in love.
What did you learn in those first five days?
What I remember from Cindy, and it’s been my nemesis to this day, is that my very intense, quick personality, with a mind going a million miles an hour, doesn’t translate well to golf. I had to slow everything down and get into a better tempo. That’s actually been a great lesson for life. I need to pause, take a beat and slow down to get in sync.
What has golf taught you since then?
It reminds me of the value of hard work. It’s hard—and incredibly humbling—to learn to play golf as an adult. I’m just not very good at times. The fact that I can’t conquer golf makes me that much more of an avid player. I want to go back and try harder. The perfectionist in me will just never, ever give up.
How’s your game these days?
It’s gotten a lot better since I moved to Florida! You just can’t play a very long season [living in the Northeast]. I’m an 18 handicap. I do have [11-year-old] triplets, so I don’t get a lot of time to play. But I’ve come a long way from where I first started.
What don’t viewers understand about the golf tournament telecasts they watch?
There’s one ball in play in the NFL, in basketball, in baseball. In golf, there might be 40 balls in play. The complexity of a golf telecast is beyond imagination—it’s mind-boggling. You’re watching a golf telecast and all you feel is serenity, when behind the scenes it’s organized chaos. It’s madness to produce—joyful madness.
How did you get involved with the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit? Why was it important to you?
I’ve been working closely with them as we’re creating [coverage of] the championship. I’ve told them my story about having a really strong mentor and sponsor at NBC. We want to have an impact on the next generation of female leaders. It’s vitally important. With the summit, we’re not only talking to women in positions of power; we also want to empower younger women who are advancing in their careers, because there just aren’t enough women in leadership roles.
Click here to learn more about the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit.