Becoming a golf influencer was never part of the plan for Lauren Pacheco.
With over 146,000 followers on Instagram, the 32-year-old has become a popular fixture among social media influencers in the golf world. She’s made a living through brand partnerships as a full-time content creator since she unexpectedly rose to Instagram popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But that’s not where her career journey began.
The Salinas, California native moved to Los Angeles at the age of 18 to pursue acting. While going on countless auditions and working a variety of on-screen gigs, Pacheco was enrolled in community college. Things were going according to plan for Pacheco, until a mystery illness changed the trajectory of her career.
“I wanted to act, that’s why I moved to LA, and then I was just really sick the whole time,” Pacheco told The Post. “It was really hard for me to go to auditions, get out [of the house] and do stuff, like hanging out with my friends.
“I was stuck in my apartment a lot of the time. I went to a lot of doctors trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I just had a lot of stomach issues and I had an auto-immune disease. There was just a lot of stuff piling up.”
Pacheco went searching for a diagnosis from various medical experts, but had no luck discovering the root of her health issues.
“I would go to doctors and they would be like, ‘Take this pill, take that pill’,” Pacheco said. “I didn’t want to keep taking medication, I wanted them to tell me what was wrong.
“So I basically just took it into my own hands and started researching nutrition. I would just be on my computer every day for hours, and reading books. … I had to get control of this situation.
“Studying and reading brought me to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I got my health coaching certification — and I just healed myself through diet and supplements.”
Pacheco was working various jobs — health coach, media host — and got a bachelor’s degree in health and wellness.
“Then the pandemic hit and it was just golf,” Pacheco said.
Pacheco lost her job at the start of the pandemic and turned to Instagram to keep her entertainment dream alive. She started posting candid videos of her golfing with her girlfriends for fun — and she never looked back.
“I was posting videos and just taking control of my Instagram and kind of just entertaining on my own — because before [the pandemic] I was media hosting, but like for other companies,” Pacheco said.
“So it was kind of just cool to take it over and do it myself … I think [my following grew most] when I started meeting more girls in the golf community and we would meet up and collab and have a golf day together — or a brand would [reach out] and say, ‘I want to pay for your girls’ round, here’s the clothing, wear, make your content and post it on your social media.”
Pacheco initially started posting videos to an account titled, “The Ladies Who Golf”, but eventually took over the brand under her personal Instagram umbrella.
As her videos started to gain traction, Pacheco saw a quick jump in her followers, from 10,000 to 20,000. Sports, lifestyle and entertainment brands started reaching out to work with her and create golf-centric videos and other content on social media.
In 2022, Pacheco was invited to play in the Oakley Tournament at the Waste Management Open, the opening of X-Golf in Chicago, CSE and Maxim’s Celebrity Golf Classic in Long Island and the launch of EA Sports PGA Tour video game. She also appeared as a guest on “The Celebrity Golf Show” on YouTube.
She is trying to push her game to the next level, including a series where she tried, but was unable to break 90.
“I think it’s just important for me throughout this whole thing to be authentic to myself,” Pacheco said. “Like I never wanted people to think that I was better than I was or something. So like the Breaking 90 series was really cool for me because like my followers know exactly the level I’m at and like, what I’m about, what my Instagram is about. Like I just want to entertain and have fun with my followers.”
Pacheco could not pinpoint an exact post that launched her into this new career.
“It just blasted off again and I was getting more followers quickly. … I think it was just posting a lot of reels and short videos and I started posting a reel every day for a couple months,” Pacheco said. “It was crazy.”
Pacheco grew up around golf, with her father and brother playing regularly. She and her friends took lessons at the start of the pandemic.
Growing her platform and forging relationships with brands had its fair share of challenges for Pacheco. Before gaining thousands of Instagram followers, she would spend hours reaching out to brands she wanted to work with. It took time, patience and “most importantly, consistency” to get where she is today.
“I think people like the more real side,” Pacheco said. “Like we weren’t trying to be anything. We weren’t trying to be good [at golf]. We were just kind of showing the lighter side of golf because it can be so serious and pretty intimidating for a lot of people. So I think we just wanted to show the lighter, more fun side, and people loved it. You’re drinking while you’re out there and having a good time.”
Pacheco’s career as a social media influencer also led her to love.
“I feel like I struggled a lot when I was in my twenties, but I have always felt very blessed,” she said. “I know it’s been crazy, but I’m just one of those people that [believes] everything happens for a reason. I don’t really have any regrets in my life because I always feel like whatever has happened to me has brought me to whatever is next, which is usually something great or even if it starts out bad. This career path brought me to my fiance.”
Pacheco did not name the man she got engaged to in December, nor does she post him on Instagram — which isn’t what she believes her followers want to see.
The couple moved in together in January, and their Laguna Beach home is closer to some of Pacheco’s golf pals, which makes it easier for her to create more content.
As for when she will walk down the aisle?
“I think we’re going to want to do something sooner than later, so we’re going to try and get married this year,” Pacheco said as she flashed her massive engagement ring over Zoom.
“I’m not that big on waiting a long time, and he’s not either. So maybe like late summer or something like that.”
Pacheco’s fiance often snaps her photos for Instagram. In December, he was behind the camera for a series of sultry shots that show the influencer posing in a brown leather corset in New York City. She also shoots her own content, and often works with a variety of photographers and editors.
This is just the beginning for Pacheco’s reach as an emerging social media sensation in the sport of golf. Her plans for 2023 include starting a podcast and her own line of women’s golf apparel.
This article was originally published by the New York Post and reproduced with permission