Women in the golf industry are trending in right direction

Fore Hire’s Women Who Want to Work in Golf event kicks off important step in empowering more women

With over 6 million women playing golf nowadays, the time is right to empower more of these women to fill the 2 million job openings within the industry. Like the increase in participation of women playing golf has added value to the game, hiring more women in the industry can have a similar impact. Not only do women provide insights not otherwise considered, but they can also encourage more peers to take up the game.

Courtney Trimble, founder of Fore Hire, a company that connects women golfers from all competitive levels to jobs within the industry, sees the importance behind this initiative. Her inaugural Women Who Want to Work in Golf program, being held in Scottsdale, Arizona, this week, brings together 31 women and several companies to help both sides forge connections and advance women’s presence in the industry.

From left, Carla Janess, Courtney Trimble and Mara Janess prepare to welcome the event participants to Scottsdale, Arizona.
From left, Carla Janess, Courtney Trimble and Mara Janess prepare to welcome the event participants to Scottsdale, Arizona.

Ping, the PGA of America and Moon Golf are just some of the sponsors of this event who embody this initiative’s mission and empower women within their own organizations. 

“Women need to know what is available, particularly beyond the typical golf industry jobs for females, so that they can give the jobs some thought, study them and then apply,” says Stacey Pauwels, executive vice president of Ping. “There is a vast array of jobs available, off the golf course, but still around golf. Women add a unique perspective, and businesses and teams make better choices and decisions when various considerations are thought-out. I believe that bringing awareness around the various jobs available in the golf industry to women, and sharing that they are encouraged to apply, will bring more women into the field.”

Part of Fore Hire’s mission for this program is to expand women’s awareness of job opportunities not traditionally heard about. Anne Moon, owner and founder of Moon Golf, a golf retail chain in Florida and Alabama known for club fitting and repair, encourages women to up their knowledge in certain technical aspects of the game.

“I think any time a woman can speak intelligently about club fitting or building, it puts them in a smaller bucket,” she says. “Traditionally, women in the golf business are involved more in marketing, soft goods, merchandising, etc. Being able to get technical about equipment, how it performs for certain golfers and how it’s built for me gives them a set of skills that is highly valuable — combine that with the ability to connect with people, it’s a home run.”

The more that women start playing the game, the wider their interests on the industry side can run. Kate Drimel, the PGA of America digital content lead, highlights the opportunity for women that comes with growth in the game itself.

“The industry is becoming more diverse. In 2022, there were 6.4 million female on-course golfers, a 14% increase since 2019 (pre-Covid), and girls represent 36% of today’s juniors (ages 6-17)," Drimel says. "This is a significant increase compared to 2000, when girls only accounted for 15% of junior participation in the sport. Employers are seeking individuals from diverse backgrounds and perspectives to align with these trends.

“Another trend is that employers are hiring faster. Instead of weeks of making a hire, employers are hiring within days. Both of these hiring trends are exciting to see, and the Women Who Want to Work in Golf program will provide an amazing opportunity for females to gain exposure and quickly convert from job-seeking to employed within the game.”

Connections, like those that will be formed at this event, are the key to making the most out of the job search. Many female leaders in the industry, like Pauwels, are paving the way for more women to follow, and they'll be present at this event.

“[Ping has] always been very supportive of women’s golf, starting in the early 1970s sponsoring many LPGA Tour events and players and, since 1990, creating and sponsoring the Solheim Cup and the Ping Junior Solheim Cup [started in 2002]. We have made a concerted effort to recruit women to apply to our various job openings through word of mouth, networking and, more recently, communicating with college golf coaches about potential internship and job opportunities. Our long-standing commitment to women and women’s golf reinforces our welcoming environment for females interested in joining our team.”

Golf club manufacturing companies aren’t the only ones supporting the women’s game. There are plenty of ways to grow visibility within women’s golf, and each sponsor brings a unique perspective on how to do so.

“The PGA of America is actively engaging and seeking ways to grow women’s presence in the golf industry through employment, business operations and participation,” Drimel says. “We continue to support our efforts through partnerships like Fore Hire and Women’s Business Enterprise Council, as well as multi-year sponsorships.” The PGA of America’s support for DEI initiatives can be seen across their women-centered programs, tournaments and leadership summits.

Moon’s thinking aligns with Pauwels’ and Drimel’s. 

“Moon Golf puts on a Division I women’s college event each February,” Moon says. “Every year the event has gotten stronger and hosts many of the top teams in the nation. This past year, we were fortunate to have the event live-streamed by GameKast Live for free, which is just another way for more eyeballs to get on the women’s game; we plan on doing the same for 2024. Our team also works hard to continue to support junior golf by supporting high school programs and most recently by partnering with the AJGA to sponsor two Junior All-Star events.”

Check-in has begun for the 31 Women Who Want to Work in Golf Participants.
Check-in begins for the 31 Women Who Want to Work in Golf participants.

All levels of women’s golf competition are great for visibility, which can only grow the sport’s participation and industry base. These sponsors are showing a willingness to pay it forward in order to empower the next generation of women in golf. Not only can these experienced leaders assist women golfers in their next chapter, but these same women golfers can bring incredible value and opportunity to the company. It’s a symbiotic relationship worth promoting.

Getting started in a male-dominated industry is no easy task, though, and the Fore Hire program will demonstrate how to start and navigate a job search within the golf industry. 

“My first advice to women would be to apply for jobs that they are interested in, put themselves out there and in the mix to be considered,” Pauwels says. “Too often, women tend to sell themselves short on their abilities and hesitate to even apply, especially if they cannot check off every item listed on the job openings.

“Next, ask questions and be open to feedback to learn how to improve. Talk to others in the industry (both male and female) and in the job you are interested in to make sure that the job is what you envision and you know what may be required. Last, once you get in, show up and do the work. In order to rise, do the job you were hired to do, perform it well, learn and support your manager and team; in turn, your manager and team will support you.”

Online portals such as pga.com/workingolf, jobs.pga.org and makegolfyourthing.org offer a robust offering of golf-specific opportunities.  

“I would also recommend reaching out to your local PGA Professional, introducing yourself and expressing interest in working in golf,” Drimel says. “There are nearly 28,000 PGA Professionals throughout the world, and the network runs deep. Be curious in your search and open to opportunities and skill sets that may interest and challenge you. Find ways that your current skill set makes you marketable for a position that you are seeking and, most of all, be confident in yourself in every stage of the process.”

Trimble expands on the importance of having confidence during this process in “The Competitive Edge” podcast episode

“The biggest thing I find is that people just need a little vote of confidence,” she says. “Like, ‘Hey, go for it!’ Whether it’s an entry level job or a promotion, everybody needs somebody behind them cheerleading them, saying ‘Give it a try.’ And if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out, but at least you tried.”

The numbers can help applicants feel confident as well. Drimel says that there are nearly two million opportunities within the golf industry. With brands increasingly becoming more inclusive, women have more options than ever before.

Moon also shares how your inherent skill set can give you confidence. “Being a college athlete, you develop a set of skills that in my opinion put you ahead of the game,” she says. “Being able to balance school and sport while being driven, competitive and someone with a great work ethic is super vital to becoming a successful student-athlete and having a successful career.”

Editor’s note: The First Call is the exclusive media and marketing sponsor of the Women Who Want to Work in Golf program.