As a longstanding member of the golf industry writ large, I can state with confidence that the golf business has been led by white males for a very long time. People like me, to be frank. This is changing, slowly, and one protagonist who is leading the charge is a woman from suburban Chicago named Courtney Trimble.
In the fall of 2021, she launched a business called Fore Hire. Her goal is to help younger women who have played college golf find careers in the golf industry. In a very short time, she has earned partnerships with The PGA of America as well as golf equipment makers Ping, Callaway and Acushnet Golf.
Trimble grew up in Atlanta and became a talented junior golfer. She was recruited to play at Auburn University, where she enjoyed a stellar career. She was a four-year letterwinner, was all-SEC three times, and a first-team All-America in 2002. She played in two U.S. Women’s Opens and was a member of the victorious 2002 Curtis Cup Team, where she posted a 3-1 record.
Like any player with that résumé, she turned professional, “dabbling in professional golf for a few years” as she would put it. When it was clear that playing professionally was not her path in golf, she turned to coaching, returning to her alma mater in 2006 as an assistant coach. From there, she took the head coach job at the University of Central Florida in 2009 and led the program to its first NCAA Regional appearance in school history.
That performance enabled her to step up in class to the University of Louisville where she directed the program to six consecutive NCAA Regional appearances over seven years.
In 2019, she “retired” from coaching, as her husband’s career was starting to take off at Callaway Golf.
“It was his turn, and I knew I could find other things to stay involved,” Trimble said. “At first it was tough to be out of golf, but as time passed, it allowed me to realize that I could do whatever I wanted in the next phase of my career”.
She and her husband and two children moved to Chicago as she consulted for the Women’s Golf Coaches Association. She also assisted the transition of a few LPGA players from professional golf to other careers in the golf industry. This was the seed idea that grew into Fore Hire.
She had the concept of Fore Hire on her mind for some time but couldn’t seem to build a business plan. Trimble talked regularly about it with friends and her husband, however, until finally he said “either start the business or get another job. Just quit talking about it and do it.”
Which is exactly what she did.
Trimble is determined to bring former female college players into the industry. She wants to help those who try to play professionally for a while, as well as those who do not dream of the pro game. She is having success; in the last year, she has placed dozens of women in industry jobs.
Trimble is assisted by her best friend and former Auburn teammate, Anne Moon. Like Trimble, Moon tried her hand at the pro game, but that dream ended in 2005. She returned home to Birmingham, Alabama, and went to work at an Edwin Watts retail golf store. Eventually, she opened her own golf retail store in 2015, and she and her husband now operate four retail stores in the southeast.
Moon is actively involved in helping Trimble plot the path for her business and is a financial sponsor of the various Fore Hire programs. Trimble actually placed a female golf fitter in one of Moon’s stores.
Fore Hire conducted four virtual job fairs in 2022, and it will soon conduct its second of 2023. More than 1,500 women have participated in these job fairs to date.
“Change is going to come to the golf industry. But it’s going to happen for the right reasons.” – Courtney Trimble
Trimble recently conceptualized a unique program called “Women Who Want to Work In Golf.” Thirty women of all ages have been invited to an immersive, three-day educational and networking program in May against the backdrop of the NCAA Women’s Championship in Arizona. Golf equipment maker Ping will host the event, and the PGA of America’s Career Services department will be extensively involved.
“I am amazed by the wide variety of candidates who have applied to this program,” Trimble told me recently.
The objectives of the program are to:
- Raise awareness and connection to opportunities available across the industry
- Increase the understanding and application of skills necessary to secure positions in the industry
- Provide an opportunity to network and connect with other women in the golf business
- Introduce golfers to key players in the industry;Career advancement
- Leadership development
- Raise awareness of the existing talent pool of women who have a passion for, and interest in, the game of golf and working in it.
There is a huge opportunity for Trimble to enter the executive search arena for private clubs as well as resorts and daily fee courses. There is a void there, and no one is more qualified to fill it than Trimble.
If the golf industry is to look like society as a whole, it’s because of the work Trimble and Moon are doing.
“Change is going to come to the golf industry,” according to Trimble. “But it’s going to happen for the right reasons.”
Top: Courtney Trimble (left) led the Louisville women’s golf team to six consecutive NCAA Regional appearances over seven years before stepping down in 2019. Photo: Courtesy of Courtney Trimble.
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