If you're an avid golfer and/or Golf Channel viewer, chances are you remember Holly Sonders, a former personality for the network.
Sonders, a 2009 graduate of Michigan State, where she competed for the women's golf team, got her big break in the sports media industry at Golf Channel nearly a decade ago. She would then go on to a four-year stint at FOX Sports before leaving the company in 2019.
At 33 years old, Sonders is just starting her professional career. We surely will be hearing a lot about her in the coming years, but for now, let's take a look at how she got to this point.
How Did Holly Sonders Start Out?
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Sonders attended Michigan State University. She graduated in 2009, but not before helping the Spartans capture the Big Ten women's golf championship in 2007.
Sonders would go on to serve as a Big Ten Network sideline reporter before working in TV in her hometown of Columbus and in Little Rock, Arkansas. Then, she secured her position at Golf Channel, jumpstarting her media career.
It was there that Sonders would begin to establish herself as a household name.
A Hit On The Course
At Golf Channel, Holly Sonders became a star, most notably for her work on Morning Drive, Golf School and while serving as an on-course reporter during tournaments. In her roles, she was able to combine her golf knowledge and experience, along with a vibrant personality and eye-catching looks to become a major force at the network.
Sonders had a tremendous overall run at Golf Channel, which she parlayed into a new gig at FOX Sports. There, she'd reach new heights, but also experienced the toughest moments of her career.
Sonders was a fixture on golf coverage at FOX, and also did some hosting and college football work as well. However, her time there wasn't without its trials and tribulations.
Prior to leaving, she was replaced as an on-course reporter and moved to the postgame show. This shift occurred after what Sonders deemed "the worst day of her life" at the 2015 US Open at Chambers Bay.
At the conclusion of the tournament, she asked winner Jordan Spieth if he had packed a fifth outfit for a potential Monday playoff.
The question was not well-received.
“People were like, ‘Oh my God you are the stupidest person I’ve ever met.’ … ‘What a dumb bimbo,’” Sonders said. “That was probably the worst day of my life, the next day. I remember sitting on the charter flight to the Women’s Open, watching all this come in (even by) some people who were friends of mine in the media.
“To this day, I don ’t even understand. It was a joking question to Jordan, I understood … I got destroyed by that. After that, I was like, ‘F–k it.’ If all these people I had given so much to in the world of golf are going to come down on me on that, then forget it.”
Sonders said the experience of getting demoted "hardened her." She would eventually leave FOX Sports in October 2019.
What's happening with Holly Sonders now?
Sonders launched her TEAMUP Fitness app last spring, a platform she describes as being "dedicated to fitness, health, diet skincare, relationships, and wellness of every kind."
Her Instagram account has a tremendous viewership, with over 486,000 people following her posts.
She also just launched HollySonders.com, her exclusive content site. On it, she provides some not-quite-safe-for-work content in addition to a place where people can message her privately.
It is a long way away from her roots on the golf course, but we're betting on Sonders finding just as much if not more success with this new endeavor.
A Busy Love Life
Beginning in 2011, Holly Sonders was married to former Golf Channel colleague and ESPN and CBS broadcaster Erik Kuselias. The pair divorced in 2016.
In early 2019, it was reported that Sonders was dating new Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury. The two were together for a while, but eventually split up as Kingsbury got his career started in the NFL.
In December 2019, Sonders revealed a surprise: she was engaged. The model/television personality accepted a proposal from 44-year-old professional sports gambler Dave "Vegas Dave" Oancea.
“I was so taken by Dave’s personal story and his rise above adversity to become a self-made man that I sincerely fell in love with him instantly,” Sonders told People.
It sounded like everything was going well with the couple, but in August, Oancea revealed he had moved back in with his parents in Las Vegas for professional reasons.
“Me and Holly are still together, but for the last month and a half, I’ve moved back in with my parents so I can sleep good at night — no disruptions — and so I can work better from their home office,” he told the New York Post. “So I’ve pretty much sacrificed my relationship with a beautiful woman.”
In October, Sonders said during an Instagram Live session that she and Vegas Dave were "trying to figure it out." Here's hoping they are able to do so.
It'll be interesting to see which way Holly Sonders take her career next. She has a tremendous following who is eager to find out.