"I had limited awareness of careers in golf"

Game Changers
Chloe Buchanan

When Chloe Buchanan read a recent SyngentaGolf.com article in which high-flying golf sales director Karen Proctor called for greater visibility of careers in the sport for women, it struck a chord.

Chloe, a lawyer originally from Ayr, Scotland, counts herself as someone who, in her words, “missed the boat” on a career in golf, having received no guidance on routes to pursue after she graduated from college in Florida.

“I went to the States on a golf scholarship when I was 16 and had the most amazing experience,” says Chloe, whose great, great grandfather was Willie Fernie, the 1883 Open Champion and course designer who crafted the famous Postage Stamp green at Royal Troon Golf Club.

“I would have loved to work in golf, but I didn’t ever know the right avenues to explore or the right forums. Reading the article on Karen Proctor really resonated with me, as that was my exact situation.

“I’d ruled out turning pro as it felt like too much of a risk, and I had no real awareness that there were any other meaningful careers in golf, other than playing.

“I could have done something business-related or in golf course management perhaps, but there was no blueprint and I didn’t know anyone who worked in golf, so I had no one to turn to for advice or inspiration.

“Also, having been very academic I felt like I’d be doing my grades an injustice if I stuck to sport, even though I was passionate about it.”

Instead, Chloe returned to study Law at Edinburgh University and, after qualifying as a lawyer, moved into corporate governance, spending the last five years in London, working for a large retailer.

“I’d ruled out turning pro as it felt like too much of a risk, and I had no real awareness that there were any other meaningful careers in golf, other than playing."

While she doesn’t regret the career she has had, Chloe feels it could have been different if she’d had better awareness as a young graduate.

Possible solutions

“I think schools, colleges, universities and organisations in golf need to interact and communicate more,” she says. “Career departments need to be better equipped to advise students who excel academically, as well as on the sports field.

“There are many career fairs for other industries – I used to attend one for the legal profession every year – where companies headhunt the top talent coming out of further and higher education. Golf organisations could do the same.

“Also, many juniors practically live at their golf clubs, especially in the summer. There’d be no harm in those clubs showcasing roles in golf in the clubhouse or in newsletters. I know my friends and I would have welcomed that kind of information when we were juniors.”

As for what’s next, Chloe hasn’t ruled out a career change, particularly having been inspired by Karen Proctor’s achievements.

“I’d love to see what’s out there in the golf industry,” she says. “It would be great to combine all the skills and experience I’ve gained in the legal field and corporate governance with my true passion, which is golf.

“Reading the article on Karen and speaking more about this topic has really got my juices flowing and I’d love to give something back to the game in some way, maybe working with young people and pointing them in the right direction so they have opportunities that I didn’t have, or didn’t know about.”