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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Engineering student combines love of golf, TikTok

Photo by Photo courtesy of Katherine Calderon

Material engineering senior Katherine Calderon mid-swing during the 2021 Long Drive World Championship on Sep. 18, 2021. Calderon uses her engineering prowess to showcase her golfing lifestyle, earning a significant following on TikTok as @Clubgirlkatie.

Material engineering senior Katherine Calderon started playing golf at the age of 4. Now, Calderon, @Clubgirlkatie on TikTok, has gathered over 9.8 million likes with her intriguing golf-inspired videos. 

While in the midst of the initial COVID-19 lockdown, Calderon said she downloaded TikTok facetiously. 

“I think one of my friends had downloaded TikTok as a joke and was making videos,” Calderon said. “I was like, ‘I wonder if I could do it too.’ The first video I posted I think, got about 100,000 views. Then the second video I posted, I had made a table out of golf balls, or at least was trying to, and that [TikTok] got 2.6 million views or something like that. I was hooked immediately. I was like, ‘OK, this is really fun. This is something I can do.’”

When deciding on a major that would allow her to design golf clubs, Calderon said she reached out to Patrick Dawson, senior research & development manager of putters and wedges at Callaway Golf, who recommended she study engineering. 

Now with over 170,000 followers, Calderon said she has found her niche with golf-related TikToks, while also incorporating her love for engineering. 

“I think it’s been a fun way to get me out of my comfort zone with engineering,” Calderon said. “I’ve been encouraged by professors [who said,] ‘OK, you want to be a golf club designer? Try it.’ That’s when I started learning to design putters and 3D print clubs. It was super encouraging. Then the encouraging feedback I was getting from posting these things really was like, ‘I can do this. That’s my future career, and people are liking what [they’re] seeing.’ So it was a big motivator.”

With her videos, Calderon said she attempts to show viewers the many sides that golf has to offer. 

“With golf, there’s playing, which is the most known side and the side you see the most on TikTok — playing and trick shots and things like that,” Calderon said. “I try and focus on more of the tech stuff. I cut open golf balls to show people what the different cores are and why equipment works the same way. I’ve worked in golf since I was 16 as a club fitter, and then club builder, like repairs. I’ve been able to learn through my background, not just in playing but in work, how all of this actually works and what makes you play so well. I want to be able to share that knowledge with others.”

Senior Social Media and Content Manager for Topgolf Connor Smith said Calderon has mastered the ability to find a target audience. 

“Whether it’s the balancing of the ball videos, or just the 3D putters that she makes, she’s found an audience that loves what she does, and she feeds them the right content,” Smith said. “I think she’s super good at storytelling, short form. She’s engaging on camera, so I think she’s got a lot going for her. She just found her niche and hammered it with content that people were engaging with.” 

Engineering sophomore Luis Ramos met Calderon in an Engineering 216 course, and said although he’s not skilled in golf, he tries his best to help Calderon with the engineering aspect of her TikToks. 

“I helped her get started with 3D printing, which honestly is the most direct stuff I’ve done with her regarding engineering and her TikToks” Ramos said. “I helped with the 3D printing and modeling aspects of making her golf putters.” 

Ramos said he wants people to know that Calderon is talented. 

“She knows what she’s doing, but at the same time, it’s like everyone else, trying to figure out how to accomplish things, looking for help elsewhere,” Ramos said. 

Smith said Calderon has a bright future ahead of her.

“It’s just fun to see that she’s now working with Callaway, one of our parent companies, designing clubs,” Smith said. “I always think, ‘Hey, this started with a TikTok comment, and she’s going to be designing professional putters for PGA Tour pros in the next 10 years.’ It’s just super cool.”

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