‘Greater visibility of golf careers needed’

Game Changers
Karen Proctor

Karen Proctor believes more women would work in golf if there was greater awareness of careers in the industry among school and college leavers.

The secretary of the Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF) and regional sales director Asia-Pacific for Textron Specialized Vehicles (TSV), the parent company of turf maintenance brand Jacobsen and golf cart manufacturers E-Z-GO, came into golf by chance, but has become a passionate advocate of and spokesperson for women working across the industry.

“I don’t think many young women understand that a career in golf is an opportunity,” says Proctor, who started as a conference manager at Mottram Hall in Cheshire before becoming Director of Golf, Leisure, Spa & Leisure at Carden Park and joining Textron in 2013.

“A lot of women I meet who are working in golf started their careers in an alternative industry and transitioned in, rather than making a conscious decision at school age to pursue a career in golf.

“As an industry, we need to be more active in schools and colleges to let people know of the options that are available to them and what skill sets are required.”

Proctor, originally from Suffolk, UK and now based in Singapore, adds: “There are clear and demonstrable benefits to growing the sport through increased engagement of women in participation, on committees, in management and leadership positions and this extends to women who are actively involved in the profession of agronomy and club management.”

Proctor made history in 2022 by becoming the first female officer bearer for the AGIF, which was formed in 2010 and has members, partners and stakeholders from all areas of the golf business in Asia.

One of its primary objectives is to help develop a more sustainable golf industry in the region, and in 2021 the federation signed The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter, committing to achieve gender balance and a more inclusive culture within the golf industry in the region.

Chris Gray, AGIF President, says: “Karen has been a tremendous advocate for our Certificate in Greenkeeping programme and was also instrumental in launching a new AGIF Women in Sports initiative that shines the spotlight on females in the sports world.

“With Karen’s continued support, I’m confident we’ll step up a variety of AGIF initiatives aimed at encouraging female participation and leadership in all areas of the industry.”