Editor Emma Ballard speaks to Chloe Walls from Wilson Golf about her career and inspiring more women into the golf industry

Chloe Walls works as European Marketing Manager for Wilson Golf.  Her role is to create and implement online and offline strategies to market the brand and products across Europe. She works as the brand expert, alongside the team in the head office in Chicago and her colleagues across EMEA.

We spoke to Chloe about her career, why she loves working in the golf industry even though it's not necessarily the sport she would naturally have chosen to work in and how we can recruit more women into the industry.

Tell us about how you came to work for Wilson Golf?

I graduated with a Sports Management degree from Bournemouth University nearly 10 years ago. At the time I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do specifically for a career, but knew I wanted to be working somewhere in the sports industry.

Conveniently a job became available right by my parents’ house. My initial thought was that it was a good place to start paying off my student debt! The role was in Customer Service at Wilson Racket Sports. I really enjoyed that part of the industry and the brands that I worked across.

Just over a year in I secured a role in marketing across Wilson rackets sports and golf. The parent group of Wilson is Amer Sports, so I had the opportunity to work for Salomon and Atomic brands too. This was a fantastic chance to work in a completely different part of the business and across a different sport sector.

What drew me back to work on golf alone was the people that worked in it and the industry itself. I like the traditionalist side of how people consume the media around golf, of how people look at golf and it was an exciting time to be involved as the game was growing!

Golf Marketing has been and continues to be somewhat traditional. When you talk about some of the 2023 marketing trends that are happening, you’ll probably find these are happening in golf, however, we do still adopt a lot of traditional media touchpoints.

There is a lot of value in the written word of golf and in the print media. It is easy to see that golf is also moving fast with the times and there are so many more platforms to reach consumers now, than there was six years ago when I came into the industry.!

What’s your experience of golf and can you define what makes a golfer?

It’s almost gone full circle for me. I remember as a child going to the driving range a lot and that was before Toptracer and TopGolf or any kind of interactive ranges. My Dad would take my brother and me to the driving range to hit balls, we all had a good time, I felt no pressure and it was fun! Football was my main sport as a child, so time was taken playing this, so golf was never taken any further then hitting some balls on the range.

Coming into the golf industry, it was great for me to come in and pick up the sport again. Everybody was so welcoming and really wanted to make me feel comfortable playing, which I really did at the beginning and would play at any opportunity! What’s really weird now is that I probably feel less comfortable with my playing ability than I ever have done, purely because I feel more pressure, which sounds really silly, because all the pressure is internal!

I think part of it is because it is really hard to define what makes you a golfer.  No, I don't go out and play 18 holes every week. But yes, I do go with my family to the driving range, or I play nine holes in the summer after work.

So I guess in essence an answer to your question. Yes, I do play golf and I am involved in golf. And I would describe myself as a golfer because I'm immersed in the golf industry, and I've watched golf and I have an interest in it.

But would I be your typical golf player? Probably not. But I think the way it is these days you don't have to be somebody going to play 18 holes to say that you are a golfer. I believe that being a golfer in 2023 is much more than just being a member of a club and playing each week.

I have a young family right now, so spending 4 ( or 5 or 6!) hours on a golf course just isn’t a top priority, but I hope in the next few years I can move playing rounds of golf up in the life priority list!

How do we bring more women into the golf industry from a work and playing perspective?

I just think the golf industry is so welcoming and we’re all driving the industry forward. It’s exciting to be a part of a sport that continues to grow, getting more women and more children to play. When you can work in a sport that's thriving, that you're really interested in, then you want to bring more people into that bubble.

Being surrounded by and meeting more women in the industry is key to inspiring other women around us. We need to continue to promote women role models on the course, as well as working within the industry. It is our job as women already here, to ensure we make golf as accessible as we can for women playing professionally and those who wish to pursue a career working in golf.

From what I can see, everyone across the golf industry is working together, sales teams, marketing teams, playing professionals, teaching professionals etc, with a common goal of getting more people into the game and to grow golf!

Thanks to Chloe for taking the time to speak to Women & Golf. We hope that this inspires others to think about the opportunities that the golf industry offers for those looking to pursue a career in sport.

Connect with Chloe Walls on LinkedIn and keep up to date with everything at Wilson Golf here.