A Perfectly Imperfect Round with Alexis Perry

The following appears in the June Gambling and Golf issue of Mile High Sports Magazine

Alexis Perry is in luck. 

The morning forecast on this particular early day in May reveals that she will indeed be able to squeeze in a round of golf. It’s not an all-together unusual occurrence for Perry, but given her own unpredictably hectic schedule as a producer, reporter, and host for the Denver Broncos (and the fact that rain has quite literally cancelled every round of golf previously planned for Mile High Sports Magazine’s annual golf issue at least twice), Perry is, indeed, in luck

Today, she will play. 

Still, it’s not quite that simple. Although she plays around 30 rounds of golf every year, this one is different. She’s not just playing; she’s being featured. While she’s yet to celebrate 30 birthdays, she’s deftly earned her way into a prominent role in Denver’s bustling sports journalism community – one worthy of comment on its own merit – but she’s also a golfer, making her the perfect subject for a story in the magazine’s newest edition.

Between swings there will be the occasional interview question, a photo or two, and perhaps a brief assessment of a particular golf shot or hole. Although those will be unfamiliar inclusions, she’s confident she can roll with the punches because she’s prepared for whatever may come her way. Perry is always prepared. Whether she’s researching for one of the many shows she hosts and/or produces, selecting the impeccably appropriate (see: classy, feminine, strong, timely, unique, stylish) on-camera look, or creating a rare social media post, Perry is all about the details. She has many names for this – obsessive compulsive, “responsible,” A-type, and others less suited for print. But it’s okay. It is this quality that’s made her who she is, gotten her where she’s wanted to go, and will continue to do so in whatever life brings next. If there is a single theme that defines Alexis Perry, it’s that she’s constantly in pursuit of perfection.  

When she pulls into the parking lot at Fossil Trace Golf Course in Golden – 20 minutes early but still profusely apologizing for running late – she spills out of her BMW i3 (which she affectionately calls “the boop”) in an unusually imperfect manner. Her signature smile yells out a happy “Hiiiiii!!!!” as she lugs a clunky collection of “stuff” up to the clubhouse in her pristinely white Nike AirMax golf shoes. Draped from her shoulders: Her golf bag, where pockets never go to waste. A designer purse that’s nicer than most, but not over the top. A hooded raincoat, just in case those darn weather folks got the morning forecast wrong. One, oversized, dark brown, extra-fluffy blanket; it’s dry but chilly, and “staying warm in the cart is key.” And finally, in her hand, one Venti Starbucks cup wearing an ever-so-slight smudge of lipstick. 

“I’m ready!” she says with enthusiasm as she piles everything into the cart. “This is my first round of the season!” 

She’s never played Fossil Trace before and is excited, but she made damn sure to scope out the place both online and in-person to hit a couple of buckets two days prior. She’s “never not prepared.” 

Perry accurately describes herself as a “consistently inconsistent” golfer. “Some days – or even holes – I say to myself, ‘Wow! I should be on the LPGA Tour!’ Other days, I’m like, ‘Wow. Now might be a good time to quit. My favorite part about the game is that you can be playing the worst round of your life, then drain a long putt or chip in from 20 yards out, and suddenly you’re sucked back in.” 

Her best score is a 90 at Pradera, the course she plays most often with her family. She’s still in search of that first hole-in-one. 

It won’t come on hole No. 1 at Fossil Trace, however. It’s a long, unreachable par-5 that features an old chimney incinerator, undisturbed from the 1940s, smack dab in the middle of the fairway. Jim Engh, the course designer, is famous for these types of quirky nuances, and Perry, who’s anything but a golf snob, appreciates them as she discovers these hidden gems throughout the round. 

“Wow!” she shrieks as she steps onto the first tee box which overlooks North Table Mesa. “This place is beautiful!” 

She steps up, takes one clean practice swing, then proceeds to rip her first shot down the left side of the fairway. It’s not perfect, but it will do. No breakfast ball needed. 

She’s starting to settle in and she’s happy that she came prepared as the big blanket proves beneficial in the crisp morning air at the foothills of Golden while in a speedy golf cart. Her preparation for today’s round started early as she awoke in a panic at 4 a.m. remembering that she still needed to clean her clubs “just in case one made it into a photo” while also contemplating what to wear given the potential wide range of weather scenarios. Her second shot, as it turns out, is perfect. 

An off-target 9-iron paired with the speedy greens at Fossil Trace leaves her with an opening hole bogey. 

“Score” – for the most part – is not as significant to Perry as one might think. She keeps it, but if a round has gone off the rails early, she’s more interested in improving than her GHIN number. She plays golf for the fun of it, for the feel of that perfect shot, even if the hole is a disaster. She’s not above dropping a second ball immediately following a bad shot, if only to correct a mistake. Her pursuit of perfection is evident in all sorts of ways.

Don’t be fooled though – this ongoing quest isn’t burdensome and certainly not stuffy.

Alexis Perry is funny. Genuinely, LOL-edly, funny

She can quote the entire “Billy Madison” movie without error. She knows when to apply “Happy Gilmore” during a round of golf and might even break out the “Alexis Dance” from “Schitt’s Creek” (her favorite show whose theme song doubles as her phone’s ringtone) following a well struck golf shot. The total number of “F-bombs” during some rounds might be greater than the final tally on her scorecard.  

She’s become very good at balancing her serious, professional side with her softer, funnier side. As for any woman in the sports industry, it’s a careful juggling act of being credible, tough, and likable. If she’s come close to perfecting anything just yet, it could be the art of conversation. As the interviewer or interviewee, Perry is easy to talk to.

On the fifth hole, the temperature drops just a bit, but that doesn’t bother her. What suddenly changes her mood is a familiar buzz from her phone. It’s a work email. Nothing urgent, but something she needs to think about before she responds to and she hates making people wait. She stews over the message and her inability to immediately respond, then proceeds to chunk her second shot. 

“I always check my email in between shots. I don’t know why I do this to myself,” she says, obviously flustered. 

She rebounds, saving bogey by sinking a long putt, but it’s obvious she hasn’t forgotten about the email. Later, well after the round, it’s revealed that she didn’t even make it home before sending a perfectly thought-out response.

“I responded before I even left the parking lot. I couldn’t take it anymore!” she says, embarrassed and proud all at once.

***

She takes her job seriously. That was first evident when she used to cut math class at Ponderosa High School so she could work on the school newspaper. “I used to sneak into the computer lab and obsess over how the paper was laid out. The newspaper definitely benefitted from my pure distain for geometry,” she explains. 

She got into journalism following an injury that prevented her from playing high school volleyball – “just a way to stay involved in sports and make friends,” she says of her role at the Mustang Express, where she ultimately ascended to co-editor-in-chief.  

Her college experience wasn’t “normal.” She estimates she worked much more than she socialized or even attended class. Multiple internships – or her “perma-ship” as she calls her stint at CBS 4 Denver Sports with Vic Lombardi and Gary Miller, since she stayed there long past school credit or getting paid – paired with assignments from the Pac-12 Network kept her busy. So busy that as a senior she opted to live in Broomfield so she could split the difference between work in Denver and school in Boulder to cut down on drive time. 

There’s no doubt, she’s a pretty face (think Audrey Hepburn circa 2021). And maybe that opened some doors. But it was the ugly jobs that kept her on the inside track for almost every job she’s ever had. She happily accepted work as a “runner,” a “stage manager,” or a “utility.”

“What’s a utility? You know, not the person holding the camera, but the person behind them holding the cable wearing the goofy work gloves and oversized ESPN polo shirt. That was me.”

 She said “no” to nothing, “yes” to everything. It all seems so far away – yet like it was just yesterday – that she can’t help but grin thinking back on how she got to the UCHealth Training Center in Dove Valley. From lugging cable that weighed nearly as much as she does to now sharing office space with Broncos legendary safety and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Steve Atwater, who is “literally the nicest human being” she’s ever met.  

Even though she’s still relatively young within the industry, she’s seen her fair share of big sporting moments. She was there, not on camera but working behind the scenes, the night the Avs were eliminated from the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Wild. As a fan of the Avalanche, her heart sank when Nino Niederreiter’s top shelf goal in overtime of Game 7 ended Colorado’s magical run. In that same moment, though, she learned how to be a professional by watching how play-by-play announcer John Forslund handled the series’ most significant call from the booth.    

A few months before that, she stood on the sideline at (then) Sports Authority Field, working as a parabolic operator (“holding that big contact looking thing”) collecting sound during the AFC Championship Game. She heard first-hand the dialogue taking place between a handful of future Hall-of-Famers – Brady, Manning, Belichick, Bailey and Ware. 

Flash forward to the otherwise forgettable 2020 and instead of trying to capture muffled bits of sideline audio from Manning, Perry was instead sitting face-to-face with him. This time, Manning wasn’t “just” a future hall-of-famer; his ticket to Canton had just been punched. Leading up to Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker’s famous “knock” (which had to be a bit different with the restrictions of 2020), the Broncos chose Perry to conduct a series of interviews with Manning’s former coaches, most of whom had flown into Denver to share the good news. The series concluded with her own one-on-one with the Sherriff himself. 

A few months later, she repeated a similar process for another Broncos Broadcast Production show, this time on the life and times of Broncos legend Floyd Little. The shows themselves might have totaled less than an hour of total run-time, but to say Perry spent weeks – literally – meticulously making sure every word of every question for every interviewee was perfect, would be an understatement.   

***

Sometime around the 15th hole, just after Perry calls Chris “Fish” Ringenberg a “Sally” for leaving a par-putt woefully short, the skies darken and a slow, annoying rain begins to fall. By the 17th, it’s practically pouring. 

But this is when Alexis Perry shines brightest. 

Her hoodie comes out and she says – with a smile no less – “We can’t quit now!” 

Unlike the The Bishop in “Caddyshack,” Perry is not attempting to complete “the greatest round of her life.” In fact, it’s been up-and-down at best – too many distractions and mis-hits, a par here mixed begrudgingly with a snowman there. Not only has she refused to play from the ladies tees all day – as to not “inconvenience” the three men in her foursome – she’s not about to quit early on them – hair and makeup be damned – either. 

She logs a double on 17, then works her way through the picturesque finishing hole, where lunch at the clubhouse awaits three-fourths of the group; one-fourth must get back to those work emails. 

“Wait! Don’t walk off yet. We have to shake hands!” she says, momentarily putting off that looming email for what she says is her “favorite part of a round.” 

Hands are extended, pleasantries exchanged and she’s off – chasing the next email, the next show, the next interview, the next chapter and most importantly, always, the pursuit of perfection. 

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