Local golfers get shot at cable TV fame

A pair of golfers from the South Sound will compete on the Golf Channel reality series “Big Break Florida.”

Courtney Coleman and Sadena Parks are among 12 contestants vying for more than $100,000 in prize money and a slot on the LPGA tour.

In a familiar reality show format, the all-female cast of pro golfers will face off in a series of challenges that test their skills, with one contestant eliminated at the end of each show. Examples of challenges include “Glass Break,” in which players take shots at a pane of glass, and “Flop Wall,” in which players try to pitch shots over an 8-foot wall.

The season begins Feb. 24 and runs for 11 weeks. Filming took place last October at Omni Amelia Island Plantation, on the Atlantic coast east of Jacksonville.

Coleman, a Rochester resident, graduated from W.F. West High School in Chehalis in 2004. Despite the initial pressure of being surrounded by cameras, Coleman said the experience on the show has improved her golf game.

“Physically and mentally, I feel like it totally made me a better golfer,” said Coleman, who at 28 is the show’s oldest contestant. With a day job as a fitness instructor, Coleman has an ultimate goal of playing on the LPGA tour. She hopes the exposure from the show will lead to more sponsorships that keep her golf career going.

Originally from Spanaway, Parks graduated from Bethel High School in 2008, then played four years at the University of Washington as the college’s first black golfer. She said the pressure from the competition helped refine her focus on the course because in each challenge, contestants got only one shot. Her ultimate goal is to play in the Olympics.

“It was by far the best golf experience,” said Parks, 23, who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz. “I enjoyed every bit of it.”

In addition to day-long filming for each episode, contestants had to endure restrictions on cellphones and social media to avoid leaking any information about the show’s outcome.