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Julie Fenn Executive Director, Women's Golf Association of Northern California

Jul 10, 2013

How did you achieve your current position?  Before I graduated from Golf Academy of America in Phoenix in August 2010, I had extensive and varied business experience. The combination of experience and education was what allowed me to have the credentials the board of directors was looking for in their new Executive Director.

What were the biggest influences on your career choice of golf? I loved the game. I liked the social aspect and also being outdoors. Golf is all about honor and integrity, a "you against the course" mentality. I respect those qualities in the people I spend time with and the things I do.

I had a 25-year engineering career and wanted to do something more fun with the rest of my life. I decided to stop saying "When I retire, I'm going to get a job at a golf course," and do something about it now. Golf Academy gave me the start of a network in the industry.

How did Golf Academy of America help you to achieve your goals?  Shortly after I started classes, an instructor gave me the business card of the Executive Director of the Junior Golf Association of Arizona. He said to call him because he could use my help. I started volunteering, learning the rules, helping run tournaments, meeting other volunteers and learning a little bit about golf associations. That led to introductions that helped me get a Boatwright Internship, which led to jobs at golf courses, and gave me the experience to be ready to take on the leadership of an association myself. This industry is as much about who you know as what you know.

What advice would you give those wanting to get into the golf business?  You have to love not only playing the game, but being around it all the time. You have to be committed to helping others to love it as much as you do, regardless of their playing abilities, age, sex or anything else. Don't expect to make a lot of money; that's probably not going to happen. If you truly love the game, believe in its heritage and want to preserve it, give back as much or more than you take from it. If you can do those things, the rewards are limitless and priceless. You will be happy and build life-long friendships. You can't put a dollar value on that.