Director of Sales and Marketing, Troon
Title: Director of Sales and Marketing, Troon
Years as a PGA Professional: 11.
Top achievements / honors: PGA Lead, Cohort IV, Troon LEADer Program; Secretary, Southwest Section PGA Board of Directors.
RELATED: PGA Professional Spotlight archive
What book would you recommend? "Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action" by Simon Sinek.
Who is your favorite golfer? Tiger Woods without a doubt. He's the goat, and the reason for the game reaching the heights it has.
What is your most memorable round of golf? Played a golf event during the offseason of my freshmen year in college. Was in contention after one round with a 72, but started the final round off rough with a front nine 40. En route to the 10th hole, I was asked by a reporter following the local event, what I needed to do to move back in contention, to which I replied, "shoot 30." I birdied the last three holes of the back nine for a 30 (40-30), which got me into a playoff. Loved that I was able to call my shot, a la Babe Ruth.
The First Call: What made you want to pursue a career in golf?
Steven Outlaw: Growing up in the First Tee and learning the game, I was surrounded by individuals in the golf industry — PGA Professionals and others — who served as mentors and showed me what might be possible in golf.
TFC: What is your favorite instructional tip to share with a golfer?
SO: My best tip to a golfer would be to practice with a purpose, adding in situations that ratchet up the pressure you encounter during a round of golf to simulate.
TFC: What advice do you have for someone considering a career in golf?
SO: I would advise the individual to do their research, exploring the opportunities that are available both from a traditional and non-traditional standpoint. The golf industry has grown from just being a professional at a club, that gives lessons and owns/manages the shop to non-traditional roles such as those at GolfZon Social that access a different segment of the golfing world. There are opportunities both domestically and abroad, along with other routes to a role within the golfing world — agronomy, sales and marketing, food and beverage, etc.
TFC: What is the best advice you have received on your career path?
SO: One of my mentors encouraged me to "be a sponge," absorbing everything — positive and negative — that I encounter during my work life. You learn just as much from negative outcomes and interactions as you do from successes.
Extra Credit: Being successful is all about handling the one-percenters, things that seem not that important when viewed separately, but as the "one-percenters" are added up and combined, they can become a larger issue. Moral, take care of the smaller items as they ultimately lead to big successes.
TFC: Is there a particular area of your job that you find most rewarding?
SO: I enjoy starting and building relationships with those I work with or encounter in the space. Through relationship building, many things are discovered — strengths/weaknesses, likes/dislikes — that ultimately lead to more cohesion, freer thought and innovations/ideas/strategies/partnerships that were never thought possible.
TFC: What is one challenge you currently see in the industry? Thoughts on how to address it?
SO: This is something I've thought about long and hard through my involvement with the PGA and Troon's DE&I Council. One challenge that I currently see in the golf industry is the declining number of players, particularly among younger generations.
Some solutions are obvious, such as making golf more affordable. Others, such as improving the pace of play, through initiatives such as shorter courses, better course management and more efficient tee-time scheduling are more complex, but definitely appeal to the busy younger generation.
Other solutions that we see constantly expanded upon center around embracing technology, distancing ourselves from golf's archaic traditions and norms to those that make the game more engaging and interactive.
Lastly, but most importantly is the need for increased focus on diversity and inclusion. Strides are being made, and continued efforts in this space will aid in the golf industry distancing itself from its reputation of being exclusive and inaccessible to certain groups, such as women and minorities.