Courtney Trimble doesn’t dance around the hard questions. In professional golf, the idea of a career transition can present plenty of them.
“It could be borderline, somewhat uncomfortable if you’re asking a professional golfer if they’re done playing,” said Dori Carter, who spent 10 years on the LPGA from 2010 to 2019.
In Carter’s case, Trimble, the former head women’s golf coach at Louisville, picked up the phone anyway. While looking to fill an assistant coaching position for the University of Louisville, she had started with a list of LPGA players and zeroed in on Carter’s name. She cut right through the awkwardness as Carter, standing on the practice putting green at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas, during the 2019 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship – where she was on the cut line – listened intently.
“I was contemplating something else but I just had no clue what to do and she said, ‘I really think you’d be great in college coaching, would you have any interest in that?’” Carter, now 34, remembers. “I said I’d totally love to hear about it.”
After Carter fulfilled a commitment to her sponsor to play the remainder of that season’s full-field LPGA events, she packed her bags for Louisville and spent two years as the assistant women’s golf coach under Whitney Young, who replaced Trimble when she stepped down at the end of the 2018-19 season to spend more time with family. Carter has since transitioned out of college coaching into a position as a junior player development representative at Callaway Golf – another career change facilitated in part by Trimble.
Carter’s state of mind in 2019 is a common one on the LPGA and Symetra tours. When the path from professional golf wasn’t clear, Carter would simply return to Q-School. Uncertainty, she thinks, prolonged her career by at least a year or two.
“The tour is a blast but it’s a grind,” she said. “I would kind of be shocked if other players don’t at least have this thought cross their mind.”
Dori Carter is congratulated by her caddie at the ninth hole after carding a course-record 63 in the second round of the 2017 Volunteers of America North Texas Shootout at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas. (Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)
Cindy LaCrosse, who also played professionally for a decade, wouldn’t be surprised if that number is as high as 80 percent. The 34-year-old also struggled with knowing when it was time to stop playing professional golf for a living – and how to transition out of it.
LaCrosse ultimately stepped away at the end of 2019 but still played three events in the 2021 season. After a year-long stint as the brand partnerships manager for 5 Iron Golf in New York City, LaCrosse now works as a teaching professional at Baiting Hollow Golf Course on East Long Island.
Trimble helped LaCrosse narrow down opportunities and land on the right one – and figure out how to market all the work she’d done as a student-athlete.
“What Courtney helped me do was take what I had done for 10 years out of habit or out of routine and made me realize that it does translate into the workforce,” LaCrosse said.
After guiding players like Carter and LaCrosse to the next step, Trimble is ready to spin her Rolodex for the benefit of the next generation of female players – both at the college and professional levels. Two years after leaving the coaching world, she’s partnering with former Auburn teammate Anne Moon, owner of the Moon Golf chain of golf retail stores in Central and South Florida, to launch Women Fore Hire, an initiative designed to create a pipeline for females into the golf industry, whether that be in retail, instruction, coaching or any other specialty.
Women For Hire will launch at the end of November with a virtual career panel – essentially education sessions that focus on everything from getting a foot in the door to leveraging on-course skill within a career.
“Sharing with them real-life stories of how people got to where they are but then directly teaching them OK, this is where you are,” Trimble said. “I’ve got no job experience on my resume, how do I make that presentable to somebody who is looking to hire?”
Courtney Trimble, left, during her seven-year coaching stint at the University of Louisville.
The Women Fore Hire online job fair opens mid-January, allowing interested companies to set up a booth just as they would at an in-person job fair. Job candidates can create a profile on the platform and upload their resume so that companies can schedule interviews.
Candidates could come from any division of college golf (and anyone who’s been a college golfer), the Symetra Tour or the LPGA, Trimble says. The whole thing hinges on word of mouth within the communities Trimble and Moon occupy.
“Going and knocking down doors,” Trimble explained, “saying here’s what we’re doing, are you looking to hire these types of people? We can connect you to them.”
“We want to be part of the solution”
Trimble and Moon, both 41, have been partners in crime since they starred for Auburn from 1999 to 2003, during which time the Tigers finished sixth, fourth, second and ninth, respectively, at the NCAA Women’s Championship. Both followed college with professional golf careers.
After two years and four top-5 finishes on the then-Futures Tour, Trimble began her coaching career as an assistant at Auburn in 2005, moved on to the head women’s position at Central Florida in 2009 and spent her final seven seasons coaching at Louisville.
Anne Moon (second from left) and Courtney Trimble (far right) during their competition days. (Photo submitted)
Moon remembers her own brief foray on the Futures Tour and remembers just as well how it all ended one day June 2005 in small-town Illinois. She and Trimble, both newlyweds, were traveling the circuit together and after a tournament in Chicago, spent a day relaxing in the city with their husbands. Then it was on to the next stop.
Moon pulled up to the golf course, took one look at the crowd of players with their training aids set up on the putting green and knew that lifestyle of grinding wasn’t for her.
“In that moment I was just like, this isn’t it,” she said. “And I got back in my car and I told Courtney, I’m driving home. No more, I’m done. . . . I’m never going to be one who commits to standing over 3-footers for six hours in the sun.”
Upon returning home to Birmingham, Alabama, Moon began work at Edwin Watts, a golf retail story where her husband Dan was the assistant manager. The Moons eventually relocated to an Edwin Watts store in Jacksonville, Florida, where a Callaway rep asked Dan if he had anyone who would like to do demo days. He didn’t hesitate in volunteering his wife, which began her seven-year relationship with Callaway. When she was hired, there were three other female outside sales reps in the company – more than most hard goods companies in the golf space had on staff.
“There were definitely customers that when they heard they were getting a woman rep, some of them didn’t think they knew what you were talking about,” Moon said. “It kind of goes back to being able to say I played Division I women’s golf, gave me a little bit more credibility and then obviously when they heard me speak, because I worked my butt off to know my stuff so my knowledge was good, it kind of made things a little easier. It was always an uphill battle, uphill climb.”
Anne Moon, Moon Golf shop
Since opening the first Moon Golf store in 2015, contacts within the industry have asked Moon for leads on female candidates – a question that wasn’t being asked 10 years ago.
She has looked hard at the makeup of her staff across her three stores and wants more women in her own company, too – women like Brooke Raney.
Raney, 26, spent two years playing golf and studying golf management at College of the Desert in Palm Springs, California, before going to work in the golf department at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Moon found her through a series of golf Tik Tok videos Raney was posting. Raney started at Moon Golf in Palm Beach, Florida, full-time in July 2020, but six months later was struggling with being the only female in a male-dominated industry.
“I just knew that sometimes some of the guys walked in (for a club fitting) and they didn’t really expect to be with a girl,” she said. “And that was totally fine, but I struggled with that. So I kind of took a break and I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew it was going to involve golf.”
Moon put Raney in touch with Trimble to talk through her career in golf. Now that’s she’s back to full-time, Raney is thriving as a club fitter and also dabbling in things like club building.
Trimble and Moon’s influence likely kept her in the industry.
Tapping a network
Since leaving Louisville, Trimble has stepped into a role as a consultant to the Women’s Golf Coaches Association, running a mentorship program for current coaches. It’s a unique seat that allows her to work with coaches and put her in a position to understand just how few people were entering the coaching profession.
With Trimble by her side, Moon has also infused some goodwill into college golf. Since 2019, she has sponsored the Louisville-hosted Moon Golf Invitational, a women’s college golf tournament based near her flagship store in Melbourne, Florida. In 2022, she’ll expand that to two events.
Dan Moon, far left, and Anne Moon, far right, flank South Carolina’s women’s golf team, winners of the 2021 Moon Golf Invitational. (Golfweek photo)
Re-entering the college-golf world as a tournament host opened Moon’s eyes to the wealth of resources available to college players, from mental coaches to strength coaches to equipment. There’s no denying that the bubble pops after graduation, but it doesn’t mean the career opportunities go away.
“At the end of the day,” Moon said, “I think I want to be able to show them that it’s totally possible and even more possible today than it was when I got out of school.”
On her own teams, Trimble noticed that her seniors went one way or another – if they were committed to a pro career or had another post-graduate plan lined up, they played great. Uncertainty about the future often led to on-course struggle.
“The reality is just that we want to be part of the solution, we want to take action and that’s really how we’ve gotten to where we are because of that mentality,” Trimble said. “Let’s just help. Both of us are in a position with our backgrounds to be able to do that.”
Trimble is perhaps most excited about the education piece of Women Fore Hire, which solves the common problem of “you don’t know what you don’t know.” She sees the benefit for the golf industry, too, and hopes that in five years, the network she and Moon have created is the premier place for employers looking for educated, driven females ready to enter the workforce.
Still to come? Trimble and Moon are conceptualizing a mentorship and career advancement program as well as an advisory board to guide the initiative forward.
“Everyone needs someone in their life to say, ‘Hey, I think you’d be good at this, try,’” Trimble said. “And that’s sort of what we’re trying to provide.”
It’s a simple phrase that could be monumental for the industry.