Sandra Gal: Define “Hot.”

It seems as though every sport, profession and association has taken on a preoccupation with which of their members is the “hottest.” What used to be left to calendar companies, beauty pageants and all things Hollywood has spread to every corner of modern life. Soon, sites will be launched announcing the National Association of Quilters “Hottest Stitcher,” or perhaps the local plumbers’ union will come out with a “Miss Monkey Wrench” calendar. For the LPGA, it’s time to meet Sandra Gal, Golf Digest’s “Hottest Golfer of the Year.”

In golf, the “hot” industry is clear in its meaning, but at a certain point, self-consciousness forces the organization to mention that the woman in question really can play golf as well. In this regard, Sandra Gal is able to help Golf Digest out, despite only a few years on the tour.

Born in Düsseldorf in 1985, Gal toured golf resorts with her family as a childhood influence, and joined the German National team at the age of seventeen. In 2007, she won the Ladies European Amateur, and qualified for the LPGA in ’08 after a winning career at the University of Florida. In the same year, she was Czech Champion and was ranked first in the German Golf Federation. Ok, that’s pretty “hot.”

Gal was a member of the victorious Solheim team in 2011, and recently won her first tour event at the 2011 Kia Classic. She’s also starting to flirt with the majors, having been first round leader at the Women’s British Open. Yes, I agree, that’s “hot,” too – (Is that what you meant? We are talking about the same thing, right?)

It’s always interesting to look at the rest of a person’s profile, and Gal’s is heavy-duty. She studied ballet for over a decade, and credits dance with helping tremendously with balance. At six feet, she describes herself as too tall, not something you hear around the ballet studio that often. She also plays the violin, and for anyone who has ever tried that, it’s a similarly maddening pursuit of control, concentration and minute gradations of execution, just like golf and dance (although no lifts are required in the former two.) Well, the way I look at it, it’s getting “hotter.”

So, there’s your “hot” golfer for the year. However, there’s that pesky tendency on the part of some individuals and organizations to push the definition into the shallow end. Swagger disagrees with Golf Digest’s decision, and offers five alternatives, including Anna Rawson and Blair O’Neal. Neither has ever won anything, but Swagger says “Who cares? They’re hot.” In defense of Rawson and O’Neal, emerging as leading golfers from their countries, colleges and Q schools is hot enough, and they don’t deserve the bashing. The beautiful Spanish golfer, Beatriz Recari, is offered up as an alternative (they were careful to note that she has two wins so as to avoid seeming superficial or creepy). Natalie Gulbis and Paula Creamer rounded out the list, first rate golfers, to be sure, but they’re the age of my children, so watch it – in golf terms, they’re family.

Sandra GalI don’t have a lot of experience with “hot.” I’ve never been “hot,” except when I was running a fever. And, there’s nothing wrong with being, feeling or receiving a tip of the hat for beauty. Still, when I see sites launched by leading organizations entitled “Gorgeous Gals of Golf” and “Golf Babes,” l feel a moment of angst, hoping that they will go on to give a fitting account of the individual’s achievements and real life qualities, past the world of X and Y.

Don’t let anyone paint LPGA players as objectively vacuous. I’ve met them, and they’re not. Sandra Gal is holding up her end of the bargain nicely, and it will be fun to see if she emerges as a tour presence. Meanwhile, being able to play a G flat major scale in octaves, pull off a pas de deux from Swan Lake and shoot 64 twice in the same year ain’t exactly “cold.”


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1 comment

    • James Williams on March 17, 2013 at 4:28 pm
    • Reply

    “Short lived tyranny “ – this is how Socrates described beauty.

    G.F, Event if you didn’t tell me about her physical appearance, the attributes you mentioned “took ballet, played the violin, from Dusseldorf “(I was a German exchange student) – that to me is pretty hot already!

    Anyway, apparently she ended up contributing to and covering an event.
    She makes all of these observations that are very astute. You can tell she’s attacking the Golf game like a master musician – she analyzes and comments on how the men handle pressure and their tunnel vision. Then she talks about how she needed to be “more creative with her short game” and to “learn to take and give the needle”

    That’s some hot analysis right there!

    Other interesting observations:

    “ It is the best feeling in golf, when you pull off a shot in front of thousands of people, when the situation most asks for it. It is indescribable.. every inch of your body is ready.”


    “It made me realize and appreciate to what extent we actually are entertainers. Win or lose, we are there to give the crowds one heck of a performance.”

    So in summary, barring physical appearance, and the evolution of beauties ‘short lived tyranny’ – her own analysis demonstrating how she’s tried to master her craft, along with her background and balance to me.. is “hot.”.

    Very hot.

    PS – on the beauty aspect of other sports, usually that type of thing can be a distraction (Though Danica Patrick has done well harnessing her appearance perhaps to fuel her success in her career).

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