Playing partners: Sisters go tee to green as ace golf entrepreneurs

It was their Saturday ritual. Growing up in Toronto, Seema and Nisha Sadekar watched their father put his clubs in the car. “My sister and I would ask Dad, ‘Where are you going? It’s the weekend. It’s family time,’ ” Seema remembers. And off he’d go.

That the two girls would develop an interest in golf was just par for the course.

“One day our father figured out what the game could give his daughters. He said, ‘You girls are going to play golf. You’re coming with me.’ It wasn’t a question. It was happening,” Seema said.

It’s still happening for two sisters who aren’t just professional golfers but entrepreneurial golf divas. Seema, a UNLV women’s golf team star, and Nisha, who hit the pro circuit before going into business, now run PGD Global (Play Golf Designs, Inc.), a company that produces events for celebrities, brands and organizations. Creating signature experiences for sponsors and patrons, PGD merges lifestyle, fashion and entertainment, often using golf to tie it all together.

PGD gives corporations and nonprofits a chance to play golf with some of the top athletes in the game through golf outings. It also provides one-of-a-kind golf products, merchandise, accessories and even jewelry. The sisters are redefining their love for the game — and that’s the point.

“The pro golf game was not for us. We saw bigger things in the game of golf,” Seema said.

Nisha, who is four years older than Seema, went to the University of Missouri, where she was captain of the women’s golf team, and then went on to play professionally.

Seema left home at age 11 to attend the IMG Sports Academy in Florida, where she rubbed shoulders with the likes of tennis stars Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. “I trained with the best of the best athletes in the world,” she said of her eight years there.

Seema eventually made her way to Las Vegas when she was recruited for a college golf scholarship. “I went to Oklahoma State to check out their campus and then the next stop was UNLV,” she said. It wasn’t long before there was a winner. “I remember landing in Vegas and then going shopping with my coach. That night, I was standing in front of the Bellagio fountains after doing all this fun stuff. The lights! The water! The people! I kept telling myself, ‘This is the place I want to be forever.’ ”

She spent her collegiate career at UNLV before transitioning to pro golf. Sports Illustrated named her as one of its 60 Hottest Athletes. Nisha already was on the pro circuit, but the dream wasn’t meshing with the reality of being a female golf pro.

“I saw the struggles first-hand that my sister had been experiencing,” Seema said. “You’re always trying to make ends meet. There is also the competitiveness, which wasn’t for us. At the same time, we saw all the benefits that the game gave us — relationships, travel, excitement.

“We had met so many incredible people through the game of golf,” Seema said. She recalls suggesting to her sister in 2006 that they start a business celebrating golf and all of its components — even creating their own events. “The other mission was to grow the game for women without it feeling so intimidating,” said Seema.

The sisters had seen that being an individual with creative flair didn’t sync with the old-school ways of the pro golf circuit — especially for women. In the pro shop, for instance, they kept hearing, “ ‘You can’t wear that. You must wear this.’ It’s all so intimidating. I kept asking, ‘How do we change the game?’ ”

As a golf fashionista, Seema decided to challenge the traditional clothing made for women golfers. “I’ve always loved fashion and wanted to look my best,” she said. “There were times I’d show up at a pro golf event and I’d get fined $800 for showing up in a skirt or dress. Believe me, I never dressed provocatively, but it wasn’t the standard pro shop gear.

“I refused to buy anything in the pro shop with the boxy collar shirts and khakis. You feel like a dude. Shorts aren’t my thing,” she said. “I love skirts. I wanted to wear dresses.”

Fashion was only part of the way that women are placed second in the golf game.

“I heard that golf is a men’s game. That there were rules. I always said, ‘Golf is a lifestyle — a women’s lifestyle. The men can have the game. We have the lifestyle.’

That’s why I ask, ‘Why can’t I wear my pink dress, listen to music and hit golf shots?’ ”

Now she can do it all — and add a Bloody Mary to it — at their celebrity golf events.

In 2006, the sisters started PGD, which held a major celebrity golf tournament in Las Vegas in July, with Los Angeles Clippers Assistant Coach Mike Woodson. Past clients have included the BET Network, Broadcasters Foundation of America, Soul Train and the Julius Erving Golf Classic.

Seema also has an inspirational fashion and beauty blog with an international following. “I write about what I learned from the game, the people and my journey,” said Seema, who dubs herself the Golf Fashionista. “I also ask celebs like Snoop Dogg, Bret Michaels, Lil Jon and Nelly what they love about the game.”

“It’s such a social environment,” said Seema, explaining people’s obsession with the game. “It’s also a time when you put away your cell phone and really enjoy the company around you. The beauty of golf is you can put it all away and just enjoy your day.”

Seema’s days begin looking across the breakfast table at Nisha at their Henderson home.

“We live together. We’re best friends,” said Seema. “She’s the mastermind behind the business side of everything. She’s the most amazing woman and my mentor. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.”

In her spare time, Seema can be found exploring the racks at the Fashion Show Mall or the Forum Shops at Caesars. “Vegas is the most beautiful city in the world,” she said. “It’s five star. You get so spoiled that when you travel to other places you realize the services aren’t the same.

“I’m so grateful that I’m here,” she said. “This place has really opened doors for me.