The career track out of college golf can feel somewhat narrow for a female player. What else is there to do but play professionally?
Courtney Trimble has lots of answers for that question, and the former college golf coach is building steam on her mission to show women that opportunities do exist within the golf industry for them to leverage their college-golf experience. Through her company Fore Hire, Trimble helps competitive players transition into careers in golf. In May, with the NCAA Women’s Championship as a background, she will use that platform to put on an immersive, three-day networking event for women who have played college golf, at any level.
Up to 30 women of all ages will be selected to the “Women Who Want to Work in Golf” program, which runs May 21-23. Entries for the program close March 22.
“The idea is to expose this group of 30 women to all different facets of the game and what jobs are in it,” she said.
It’s a two-sided mission in that Trimble also hopes the industry leaders involved walk away impressed by a talented group of female candidates.
Over the course of three days, participants will engage in roundtable discussions with people already in the industry, “career-ready” exercises and extensive networking. Trimble wants to build off of the hype surrounding the NCAA Women’s Championship at nearby Grayhawk Golf Club, knowing industry members often gather there, so part of the experience includes taking in a day of the championship.
Ping, the event host, will open its facility to program participants so they can see all aspects of a major equipment manufacturer, from engineering to design to product development.
In the past year, Trimble has placed more than 40 women across the industry, from coaching to club fitting to marketing. Sometimes, she says, finding the right job in golf is just about knowing how to sell your skills. She goes back to a former college golf coach who was interviewing to be a golf club sales rep, referencing a conversation about whether that candidate had any sales experience. Trimble pointed out her ability to sell her college program.
“That’s a transferable skill,” Trimble said. “Sometimes it takes someone pointing it out to the person doing the hiring. Otherwise, you’re going to get the same candidates that you’ve always gotten.”
In addition to Ping’s involvement as host, “Women Who Want to Work in Golf” is elevated by buy-in from major stakeholders in the game like the PGA of America and the Women’s Golf Coaches Association. Moon Golf, a golf retailer based in Central Florida and co-owned by Trimble’s former Auburn teammate Anne Moon, continues to back Fore Hire’s women’s initiatives.
Ohio State head coach Lisa Strom, president of the WGCA, says Trimble has been instrumental in helping the coaches association develop a mentorship program among its coaches. Strom sees the importance, too, in expanding that to the greater golf industry.
“I think some [college golfers] kind of get wrapped up or tied into the idea that LPGA, Epson Tour, all that, is where they have to go,” Strom said of college golfers. “… But there’s just so many other avenues because of the network of people they’ve been around throughout their college careers that they can certainly utilize their skills in a lot of different ways.”
Rose Fielder, the director of engineering operations at Ping, knew there was untapped talent among female college golfers because she used to be one. Fielder played for the University of Michigan from 2004-08 before a professor she was working with helped her get an internship at Ping. Before that, she had no idea such an opportunity combining golf and engineering could exist.
Fielder still finds that to be the case among individuals, both male and female, that she has interviewed for Ping.
“I think that’s ultimately what Courtney is trying to do is this balance of educating women about what’s open to them and then simultaneously trying to find what fits their skillset the best and maybe match up employers with qualified candidates,” Fielder said. “It’s an intersection of a few really critical, needed things for women in general.”
Fielder has tried to make it a priority to find qualified female candidates for Ping’s open position. Two years ago, in search of more women for Ping’s internship program, Fielder connected with the WGCA. As a result, the number of female interns continues to grow to the point that they will make up nearly half of this summer’s internship group.
From where Chuck Thiry, vice president of XXIO, is sitting, hiring more females into the manufacturing industry is a logical progression following the recent influx of women into the game. XXIO is particularly focused on female hires considering women account for 50 percent of sales.
Thiry has worked with Trimble to bring female talent into the company and found that college playing experience transfers particularly well.
“They’ve proven that they’re not afraid of hard work, they’ve proven that they have a little bit of competitive fire, they’ve proven that they can get out of bed and go after it every day,” he said. “They had to have done everything to become good players and that transfers really nicely into working in the hard goods industry.”