T-Time Podcast // Ep. 43: Inside the Business of Growing the Game with Abby Liebenthal
Today's episode promises to be captivating as Tori welcomes Abby Liebenthal, the founder, and president of Fore the Ladies podcast and the Senior Manager of Championship Marketing for the United States Golf Association (USGA). During this episode, Abby will provide insights into her career experiences and reveal the inspiring journey of building Fore the Ladies from scratch. She will share the challenges she faced, the strategies she employed, and the organization's remarkable growth. Moreover, Abby will give us a glimpse into what the future holds for Fore the Ladies, discussing upcoming projects, initiatives, and her vision for the organization's continued success. Get inspired by Abby's entrepreneurial journey and the exciting prospects ahead for Fore the Ladies.
How Abby Got into Golf
Abby developed a passion for golf at a young age and continued playing leisurely. This passion led her to pursue a career in the industry, specializing in marketing and communications. She has worked with prestigious organizations such as the Tiger Woods Foundation and Titleist Imperial. Currently, Abby is a U.S. Golf Association (USGA) member and resides in Pinehurst, North Carolina, where she is part of the growing golf community and the USGA's second headquarters opening.
Abby went on an enjoyable golf trip called The Ringer, hosted by PGA tour player Zac Blair. Inspired by her experience, Abby envisioned hosting a golf trip for herself and her friends. During the pandemic, she met incredible women working at Pinehurst and shared her idea with them. Together, they decided to open up the trip to others, and it sold out quickly, even attracting a group from Baltimore Country Club. This marked the birth of "The Lily," named after Donald Ross's daughter, Lillian. Abby learned valuable lessons from the first event and continued to organize more trips with Pinehurst's support. They kept the event small each year, maintaining a sense of exclusivity. The event has become a staple in Abby's calendar, generating excitement and a loyal following.
How Fore the Ladies Began
Abby began Fore the Ladies as a personal endeavor driven by her own experiences in golf. Growing up, she noticed a lack of female camaraderie in the sport and wanted to change that. In 2019, while working at Titleist, Abby contacted PGA professionals for assistance and organized a clinic at Newport Indoor Golf. The event aimed to introduce beginners and young professionals to the game in a supportive environment. Surpassing expectations, the clinic attracted 60 to 70 participants, highlighting the demand for a community that catered to women in this demographic. Since then, Fore the Ladies has expanded, hosting various golf clinics and drawing a diverse range of participants. While welcoming all genders, Abby's ultimate mission is encouraging more women to participate in golf actively.
Fore the Ladies: Line-up for the Summer
This summer, Fore the Ladies has an exciting lineup of 70 events for 2023. These events include various options like golf clinics, happy hour nine-hole events, and meetups at simulators. The main goal is to bring people together who love golf and want to connect with others who share the same passion. Whether you're a beginner looking to learn or ready to hit the course and play, there's something for everyone. Additionally, Fore the Ladies offers golf trips for those seeking a more immersive experience. The organization constantly evolves to provide diverse opportunities for golfers at every stage of their journey.
The Business Side of Fore the Ladies
Fore the Ladies is not Abby's full-time job; she dedicates time early in the morning and late in the evening to work on it. The organization is a nonprofit with a mission to encourage female participation in golf. Abby has learned from past failures and adjusted her approach, focusing on scalability and utilizing volunteers at events nationwide. While it is a lot of work, positive feedback and the impact on participants make it a labor of love. Abby hopes for the organization to grow and become a full-time endeavor in the future.
Fore the Ladies: Intro Golf Event
When you sign up for a Fore the Ladies event, you receive emails in advance with information on what to wear and bring. The dress code depends on the golf course, with public courses allowing more flexibility. Upon arrival, a volunteer or the hosting course checks you in. The group is then divided based on experience level, which sometimes differs from how women perceive their skill level. Events typically involve rotating through three stations, putting, short game, and full swing. The clinics and happy hour nines are designed to be fun and informative, allowing participants to play nine holes and choose between scramble or individual play. The events go by quickly, and participants enjoy the enthusiasm and learning experience.
Q: When are you ready to sign up for an event?
A: Golf clinic - anytime; Happy hour nine - after a clinic or driving range experience; Golf trips - at least a year of golf course experience.
Q: Do you have any competitions?
Q: What age is appropriate?
A: Minimum age is 21; wide age range.
Q: What are the price ranges for each event?
A: Golf clinics - $50 to $80; Happy hour nines - $40 to $70; Golf trips - starting at $2,200.
Q: Are there gifts or prizes?
A: Titleist golf balls, fun socks at every event, and Fore the Ladies' cozies and stickers.
Q: Can you sign up alone?
A: Many participants come alone and are paired up, common for happy hour nines; singles are also common for golf trips.
Q: Do I need to bring my own golf clubs?
A: Clinics - clubs provided; Happy Hour nines - recommended to bring your own, but rentals are available at the golf course.
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