PGA WORKS Beyond the Green Shows Young Women They ‘Got Next’ in the Golf Industry
By Ana Arredondo
For the first time, the 2022 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, hosted “PGA WORKS Beyond the Green,” a live career exploration event for diverse audiences that has now become a focal point at each of the PGA’s major Championships.
The key message that echoed throughout Monday’s event: Golf is an $84 billion industry. Women empowerment influencers led the panels and workshops, and it served as a reminder for the young women both in attendance and watching online across the country to jumpstart their search for the rising opportunities within it.
“This is our commitment to make golf more colorful,” said PGA WORKS Leader and Beyond the Green Co-Host Rachel Melendez-Mabee. “Representation matters. We need to say yes. If we say yes, and be more confident, we’ll have a seat at the table.”
“We Got Next” panelists Alexys Feaster, Tari Cash and Desiree Walker teamed up to discuss the importance of young women being involved in business deals and persuaded them to enter the golf profession.
Meanwhile, women leadership expert Annette Comer reminded attendees that for women, it is not as easy as getting good grades and working hard to be successful. There are other components that women have to master, such as training the mind and mastering communication styles.
“Why is it we’re playing to not lose and not playing to win?” Comer asked. “The first thing I want you to realize is that you are not a part of the ‘all-boys network.’ You never will be.”
Careers in Golf are Rising
If there is one thing that networking and a golf swing have in common, it’s the follow through.
During the “What’s in the Bag” panel, PGA Member and Recruiting Specialist Kate Drimel and PGA of America Brand and Strategy Senior Director Molly Gallatin presented several pathways to finding a career in golf. They highlighted the more than 2 million job opportunities throughout the industry, whether they are strictly on the course or even somewhere along the corporate avenue. The message was to diversify the industry with more women, LGBTQIA members and people of color.
“If you’re anything like me, the reason I work in sports is I don’t want to sit at a desk,” said Gallatin. “And the opportunity to just be in the game and to be around people, to learn about new cultures, that’s something that golf offers that not a ton of other sports do.
Design Thinking: A New Way of Thinking
Dr. Angela Reddix taught the attendees how to “design think” by creating a prototype and sharing it with their audience. She challenged them to practice creating one, and some of the topics shared by the young women were youth crime, gender pay gap, cyberbullying, racism and financial literacy.
“That was outstanding,” Dr. Reddix said. “You had 10 minutes to do all of that. You didn’t come up with some fluff stuff. You came up with substance. This process of design thinking takes you from being someone who admires a problem to someone who understands that there is power in the problem, if you can help create solutions.
That is how you can go from seeing things as so negative to seeing things as an opportunity.”
And while announcing the winner of Dr. Reddix’s prototype activity, PGA Chief Commercial Officer Jeff Price left the young women with an empowering thought.
“You did that in 20 minutes,” Price said. “Now imagine what you can do with the rest of your life.”