NBC’s Golf Channel's Chantel McCabe
This Candia, New Hampshire, native was the youngest person ever to host “Golf Central” on NBC’s Golf Channel.
Chantel McCabe photo by Cy Cyr
Golf, as every golfer knows, is more than a game. It’s a lifestyle and a social context for everything from family to business to schoolwork. And that’s how Candia’s Chantel McCabe found her way into the upper ranks of reporting on the game as the youngest person ever to host “Golf Central” on NBC’s Golf Channel.
She was a UNH college student on an internship selling sponsorships to the LPGA “Futures Tournament” (now called the Symetra Tour) when a woman named Sarah Brown asked her if she wanted to try a swing. At first, McCabe took a pass, saying she would be mortified if she missed the ball. Brown promised that, if McCabe missed, she’d intentionally miss as well. She gave it a go, and while it wasn’t a long drive, she connected with the ball. “That was my first taste of golf,” she says, and so her passion was born. McCabe notes she has since worked with Brown on some Golf Channel shows, and that’s what golf is all about — making good connections.
Although as a journalist and now a sports commentator McCabe has had the chance to interview top presidential candidates and sports Hall of Famers, her most treasured connection is one she made last year with former US Secretary of State Condolezza Rice. Rice was one of the Augusta National’s first women members and is deeply involved with the PGA’s “Drive Chip and Putt” program to involve youngsters in the golf game and offer them a chance to play at the Masters. McCabe says that in their most recent conversation they talked about how they both need a little help with their drivers. “She picked up the game at 50,” says McCabe. “She plays a variety of musical instruments, knows many languages and writes books, so just the fact that she can squeeze in golf is amazing.”
McCabe says she returns to NH often to hike and kayak with her family. She volunteers at Manchester’s New Horizons’ kitchen and shelter, and says playing 18 holes at the Mt. Washington Resort tops her bucket list.