From Carl Junction, Missouri, Natalie is a dedicated golfer focused on growing the game and shedding light on the amazing sport. While playing collegiate golf at Missouri Western State University (2009-2013), she received several accolades during her time as a Griffon. After graduating from MWSU, Bird worked on obtaining her Ph.D., focusing her research area on risk management and legal issues as they pertain to the golf industry. In 2020, she earned a Ph.D. in Health, Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Arkansas. Her dissertation was a content analysis of over 1,500 lawsuits resulting from participant injury and is the first study of its kind within academia.
Currently, Natalie is in the process of launching her content brand, natbirdgolfs, which will be launching very soon. She will also be starting a nonprofit focusing on women’s golf, and we will continue to update Team Teleri as she works on this endeavor. On top of Natalie's busy schedule, she teaches classes at Missouri Western and the University of Arkansas, and is also the Assistant Golf Coach for Training and Practice Development at Missouri Southern State University.
We are so thrilled to add Natalie to our apparel name lineup! Welcome to the Team, Natalie!
Check her out on Instagram for the newest updates on all things natbirdgolfs, and her brand new website: natbirdgolfs. We will be including quick links to nonprofit here when it becomes available so you can support her cause.
To celebrate Teleri Athletics 1st Birthday milestone, a contest was held for Team Teleri on our Instagram for the chance to have a Teleri Athletics apparel piece named after the winner. The goal of this Birthday Contest was to give a huge thank you to all the incredible girls and women we were lucky enough to meet and interact with through Teleri Athletics and sport. This contest was designed to make Team Teleri feel special and let the Team know their support of Teleri Athletics is highly appreciated, important, and personal.
Not only has Natalie followed and supported Teleri Athletics since the beginning of our first collection launch, she has constantly shown her heart and focus to golf in more ways than just playing the sport. For our contest, Natalie submitted a video entry, where she explained how golf has been in her life and how it will continue to be with her in unique ways in her upcoming endeavors.
The Natalie Skort:
We thought our functional lace skort was the perfect apparel choice to name after Natalie. The lace skort is the ideal mix of feminine and athletic, with the hint of different and stylish that makes it unique to Teleri Athletics. This skort will stand out when worn, but doesn't forget the features needed to compete and focus on the sport. We believe this skort complements Natalie's personality and style perfectly and are honored to have her as the "name behind the skort".
- First female golfer in Missouri Western history to advance to the NCAA Division II Super Regional (2013)
- Missouri Western State University Female Athlete of the Year (2013)
- Missouri Western State University Tom Smith Career Achievement Award (2013)
- Earned Ph.D. at the University of Arkansas (2020)
What is one of your favorite memories playing golf?
One of my favorite memories playing golf was when I made my first birdie. I was in 5th grade, very small for my age, and struggled to hit the ball very far. It was on a par 3 that required me to hit over the water, and not only did I hit it over, but I actually hit the green, which was a huge accomplishment for me at that time. I made a 30-foot putt and I think my dad was more excited than I was! My teacher played golf and I remember how excited I was to go to school the next day and tell her I made my first birdie!
How does it feel to have an apparel piece named after you?
So many feelings and emotions come to mind knowing there will be a piece of clothing named after me! But mainly I feel excitement and gratitude. I’ve been blessed with many opportunities in my life with golf, but this is truly something I never could have imagined. The funny thing about it is when I saw the skort’s design I immediately thought “Wow! This is so ME!”. I am so grateful that Teleri Athletics chose me as a winner!
Biggest takeaway from collegiate golf.
My biggest takeaway from collegiate golf is that you can achieve anything you set your mind to, but you have to get out of your own way. I put enormous pressure on myself as a college athlete, and sometimes that led to poor performance. I would overanalyze my score and live and die by the shots I hit on the course. When I finally understood what taking one shot at a time really meant, I was able to get out of my head. Putting in the work and letting the results take care of themselves is what it’s all about— it’s trusting the process. This mindset has greatly impacted me on and off the course and I apply it to everything in life!
Tell us about your business and natbirdgolfs!
This spring presented a variety of unexpected career opportunities that forced me to place some of my entrepreneurial ventures on hold. I teach classes at both the University of Arkansas and Missouri Western State University, and this past spring I was also the Assistant Golf Coach for Training and Practice Development at Missouri Southern State University.
With that being said, this summer (2021) I will be creating golf content for natbirdgolfs full time! I will be producing golf content on YouTube, Instagram, and on my website (coming soon) in the areas of game improvement, lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and health and fitness. I plan to expand into creating digital and print materials that can aid players in improving their game later this year.
I have also begun the process of starting a nonprofit focused on career and educational opportunities for women in golf. The idea behind this venture is to provide information for girls so they can make educated decisions if they’re wanting to pursue a career in the golf industry. It is a common misconception that in order to work in the industry you have to be a coach or teaching professional, and I want to provide awareness, networking, and opportunities for girls to pursue careers they are interested in within the sport they are passionate about. I also want this organization to be a collective of different golf brands within the industry with a focus on community over competition.
What is the best golf advice you've ever received?
Oddly enough, the best golf advice I’ve ever received isn’t really golf advice at all. My papa used to always tell me to “keep my nose to the grindstone” whenever I would get frustrated or discouraged. That always motivated me and even today when I face challenges I hear his voice saying the same thing in my head.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years I anticipate pursuing the same projects I am now, and possibly doing a few other things on the side. Unlike many of my peers when I graduated with my Ph.D. I planned to jump into many things rather than focus solely on teaching or research. My dream job is to create golf content and develop my nonprofit, as well as teach a few sport law classes and possibly do some consulting work. My dissertation was focused on lawsuits stemming from golf ball-related injuries and I’d love to someday work with golf courses to improve their risk management procedures and strategic planning. I am excited to see how all of my ideas evolve over the next few years, and I look forward to being involved in as many areas of the golf industry as possible!
Pick one: Junior Golf, Amateur Golf, Professional Golf, Collegiate Golf.
Collegiate golf. I absolutely loved this season of my life for a variety of reasons, but to put it simply, it was a time in my life I felt the most “me”. I love competing and working hard toward a goal. Getting to do that on a daily basis made college golf the best experience I’ve had so far.
In your opinion, what is the most important aspect to getting more girls and women into golf?
I think the most important aspect to getting more girls and women into golf is simply to make golf a welcoming space. I think this is slowly changing but golf can still be overwhelming if you know nothing about it. Many women are reluctant to begin playing because they simply don’t know where to start, or even once they know the basics they may be hesitant to join a league or go out to their course alone. Beyond providing opportunities through things like events, leagues, and clinics, the overall golf lifestyle can be a great avenue for women to get into the sport. Things like apparel, accessories, and products can give women the confidence to pursue golf; that’s why I think golf lifestyle content is so important. It’s fun, but also can give women a way to get involved with golf before they ever step foot on the course.
What is the best part of being a woman in golf?
For me personally, the best part about being a woman in golf is witnessing the growth in the game for women and girls. Growing up, I didn’t have many female golfers to relate to. Few junior golf opportunities existed in Southwest Missouri, and most of those were primarily for boys. I didn’t have many female golfers to look up to and I didn’t have the opportunity to play in many tournaments because they simply didn’t exist. Seeing that change over the years has made me so excited for the future generations of female golfers! I hope to contribute to that change by creating golf lifestyle content so women and girls can be encouraged to play and enjoy the many aspects of the golf life!
What is your favorite golf accomplishment?
My favorite golf accomplishment was being named Missouri Western Female Athlete of the Year my senior year of college. There are many reasons why this is my favorite accomplishment, but mainly I felt like all of my hard work paid off. The summer prior to my senior year I went through a swing change that required dedicated practice unlike anything I experienced before. I spent hours on the range every day and encountered many setbacks. But ultimately all of that work led to a very successful senior season which resulted in being the first female golfer in program history to advance to postseason play. Earning this award was great for me personally, but also led to recognition of our program. College golf is not like college football—it’s easy to be overlooked because practices and events occur off campus. But being named Female Athlete of the Year over all other female athletes in all other sports made me feel like our team was finally being noticed. On a more personal note, this award also gave me confidence to pursue some of my biggest goals and ambitions, even those outside of golf. It taught me if you really work hard at something and stay dedicated despite challenges, you can do just about anything you set your mind to.
Favorite Teleri Athletics piece.
Blakesly Skort is my fav