WEB.COM TOUR INSIDER
Love story of Michael and Natasha Gligic includes blossoming pet-accessory business
March 12, 2019
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Natasha and Michael Gligic with their five-year-old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Decker. (Nick Parry/Nautical Studios)
For almost as long as Michael Gligic has been a professional golfer, his now-wife Natasha has been by his side.
The pair got married in May 2018 after nearly a decade together, and in early 2019 Gligic got to celebrate another milestone with Natasha – he won the Panama Championship, his first Web.com Tour title, and has his sights set on earning a PGA TOUR card for the first time.
It was one of just a small handful of tournaments Natasha has been able to watch on-site, but Michael knows she was always thinking of him no matter where he went.
“It’s not often you come across a girl that’s that supportive of a professional golf career, says Gligic. “When you first meet and you say professional golfer you think that’s so glamorous. But a few months in, or a few years in, I’m sure she quickly realized it wasn’t as glamorous as it sounded originally.
“But she’s been pretty supportive over the years and it’s pretty special to get one with her there.”
Natasha owns a small business based out of their home in Burlington, Ontario (about 40 minutes from downtown Toronto) where she makes custom dog collars.
What started as a side business has blossomed into a successful undertaking – ‘Walk in the Bark’ boasts more than 33,000 followers on Instagram, she sells collars via a store on the online marketplace Etsy (where she has over 1,300 five-star reviews), and she’s starting to get more wholesale orders in Canada. Although it’s hard being apart, Natasha and Michael know they’re chasing their respective dreams.
What’s it like owning a burgeoning small business? How did it feel to watch more than 10 years of hard work get rewarded on a single Sunday? And why did The Exorcist become a great first-date movie?
PGA TOUR Digital spent some time with Natasha to hear about what it’s like being a successful business owner and the wife of a Web.com Tour winner.Before meeting her future husband, Natasha Gligic knew of Tiger Woods and the difference between a birdie and bogey, but not much else golf-wise. (Nick Parry/Nautical Studios)
When I started Walk in the Bark, I still had my full-time job at a real estate office, but then it kept going from there. At first I was dog-walking and making my products and working at the real estate office, which then turned into just making products. Mike has always been supportive and has never second-guessed my decisions. He likes to brainstorm ideas with me and he has always been great.
In November, it’ll be Walk in the Bark’s fifth birthday. It’s been a little wild. When I first started, I had my product on Etsy, and I was also dog-walking, and I had my full-time job. As I was transitioning out of my full-time job, I got a serving job as well because I didn’t want to suddenly have no money coming in. I wanted to be smart about it. After a year, I dropped the serving job and I was just doing dog-walking and my website. A year-and-a-half ago, I stopped dog-walking as well, so it’s been a slow but smart transition to just this.
All the collars are made out of my home office. I make them all and I’m hunched over a sewing machine a lot of the day. Mike and I are at the point now where I can hire a seamstress who does some work for me. I would like to eventually have an additional seamstress as well, so then if Mike is touring I don’t have to worry as much about leaving my business and I can travel with him a little more. At least I know things are being done at home, which I haven’t had before. There’s a lot that goes into (my business). Making a collar takes maybe 20 minutes, but on top of that is doing the marketing, social media, responding to customers, and there’s just a lot that goes into it.
Michael Gligic interview after winning Panama Championship
At this point it’s pretty ideal (to have time at home) because I don’t feel bad working 12-hour days, since it’s just me. When I know Mike’s coming home or I’m going to the next event with him, it’s even longer workdays because I’m trying to prep for when I’m leaving. I try to get a lot more done so then when I leave or he comes home, we can actually spend time together.
I literally only knew about Tiger Woods (when we started dating), and that was about it, but I knew what a bogey and a birdie were. When we met, I worked at Swiss Chalet (a Canadian chicken restaurant) and we had a mutual friend on Facebook and turns out we were already friends – although neither of us knew why or how – and he came into the restaurant and we started talking since we recognized each other (Michael Gligic: “I worked my magic”).
On our first date, he picked me up from my parents’ house and we went to East Side Mario’s (a Canadian Italian chain restaurant), and then we went to Waterloo Park and saw the deer and some other animals. Then, back when Blockbuster was still around, we went there and rented a movie. He had his dad’s car, which had screens in the back, so we watched ‘The Poltergeist’ which was a cute little date.
I knew he said that he played golf, but I wasn’t sure how seriously or not. There was something that happened during our first date, and he was on his phone the whole time, so I was really annoyed (laughs). I think he was waiting for some important news to come in, related to golf.
I’m a pretty positive person, and I feel like everything should be brushed off. I tell him there’s lots more golf to play, lots more season, or ‘next year is your year.’ Sometimes I know it’s best to not even talk about it, just get him happy talking about my job or our house or our families.Michael and Natasha Gligic were married in May 2018 after nearly a decade together. (Nick Parry/Nautical Studios)
It was great watching him play the RBC Canadian Open, especially his first. Sean Foley was standing behind him on the driving range and that was pretty cool to see. It was funny – the first Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada event, all his family and I wore matching colored polo shirts and it turned out our polos matched all the volunteers. We kept getting all these questions on the course, asking us for help, when we were just trying to show we were supporting the same guy.
I didn’t really know what to compare (his skills at golf) to, because I didn’t know much about the game at first. We went to the driving range a few times and he tried to show me how to hit the ball, and he got me clubs a few years into our relationship, but I didn’t really understand how good he was until other people that he knew would say things like how ‘he’s meant to be on the PGA TOUR’ and how ‘he’s so much better than he knows.’ Other people saying how good he was made me realize that, because I didn’t know anything about it.
We were both supposed to leave Panama at the same time Sunday night; it was around 6 p.m. Obviously he was not going to make it, and for me it was like, ‘Do I go or not?’ On holes No. 10 and 11, he birdied both of them, and the guy he was playing with was in second, and I knew Mike was in solo first at that point. I whispered to his caddie, ‘I don’t think I’ll be going,’ and he said, ‘Yeah, you’re going to want to stay for this moment.’ I was supposed to leave on No. 13, but I decided to just stay and I was more sure of it the more I watched.
Michael and Natasha Gligic, married last May, have been together for a decade.— Web.com Tour (@WebDotComTour) February 11, 2019
So when @MGligicGolf had a chance at his first #WebTour title Sunday @ClubGolfPanama, Natasha had no intention of leaving ... even if it meant missing an international flight. #LiveUnderPar pic.twitter.com/AluwcwrVmV
I was just thinking that he finally caught his break. He’s had so many good opportunities before, but nothing has ever worked out perfectly for him. He’s played the RBC Canadian Open three times and has never made the cut. When he got his Web.com Tour status two years ago, he didn’t get to keep his status because he only got to play for half the year and didn’t get to keep his card. In Panama, when he finally won, I was like, ‘Finally, he’s got what he deserved.’
He never wants to plan too far ahead. But we’ve talked a little bit about what that means for us and our house – will we move down south? What will that mean for my business? We’re all hopeful he’ll have his PGA TOUR card at the end of the year.