I had the honor of attending the Local Traditional and Specialty Lending Forum last week and listened to three incredible commercial finance pros talk about common lending practices and how their professional calling is to help businesses in our area grow by offering lending solutions, financial planning, guidance.  They all have their lending niches and talked about how if the situation wasn’t right for their banks, they know people in other banks and often refer them out.  One of the panelists noted how important it is to know their client: to understand their story because, well, “every loan has a story.” One of the interesting points was how important they feel it is to make sure a small business owner is surrounded by an accountant, a banker, an insurance advisor, a financial planner (they left out marketing advisor, but I’m sure it was an oversight – and an entirely different article).    

So think about this…

Every professional golfer, male or female, runs their own small business:

  • They all have employees – coaches, trainers, nutritionists, psychologists, brand consultants

  •  They all have COGS – equipment, balls, gloves, hats, clothes, tournament entry fees

  • They all have maintenance costs – work outs, food, nutrition, recovery regimens

  • They all have F&B expenses – travel, hotel, eating on the road, entertaining sponsors

  • They all have products – themselves, their time, their image

  • They all have investors – friends, family and sponsors; Many are Angel Investors who just want to help, but many actually own shares in these athletes, hoping for an ROI down the line.  Sponsors rightfully have expectations, too.

  • They all have a story – obstacles overcome, challenges still facing, critics to ignore, being a late bloomer or maybe worse – being a phenom at an early age, learning challenges, injuries and illnesses, financial struggles.

Just like a business, most have a 3-5 year plan to turn a profit.  Male or female, it costs about $60-70,000 to put a player on tour at this level for a season.* Just like any profession, except for the very, very few who go from college dorm to C-suite, you toil and grind and work your way up the ladder until you look back at those 3-5 years (and the 10 years before that), and you think it’s been worth the ride.  You’re living the dream, in this case making an enviable living on the LPGA or a ridiculous living on the PGA Tour.

And that’s what running a business is, right? Working hard and fanning the flames of a dream until you finally turn a profit.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a lawyer, a chef or a software developer.  You pay your dues and you have people in your corner to guide you – to invest in you emotionally and financially.

One of the gentlemen at the Chamber seminar went on to talk about the DNA of an entrepreneur: hard working, passionate, tireless, driven, gritty.  I’ll contend that for a professional golfer, you can add to that DNA the other essentials like knowing how to bounce back from a bad moment, how to problem-solve and look at a challenge from different angles.  And let’s not forget…they’re raised as champions and every one of them has a room full of trophies to prove it (of course, at the same time they know how to lose with class and grace).  

Like any small business, these business owners need an accountant, a lawyer, a financial planner, a banking relationship for loans (business, auto and mortgage), retirement programs, 401k plans.  Yes, even a marketing person – especially a marketing person, LOL.  FEW of them have such relationships or – sadly, like every young person coming out of high school and college these days – even the Real World 101 or Financial 101 knowledge they need to run a small business. **

Just as you hope for all of your clients, these are businesses that not too far down the road could be profitable in the millions of dollars, right – and not just on the course.  In fact, most – especially women – will make more money off the course through sponsorships, social media influencer revenue and speaking engagements.  And almost to a person, they all have a bigger purpose in mind because they’re part of an industry that is ingrained with giving back to the community. 

 Sounds like the perfect client to me.  

 And, by the way, while realistically not all of them will get to the LPGA (aka, accomplishing their entrepreneurial dreams), they’ve all got the business DNA we want on OUR teams or we know of someone who does!

Sound like an opportunity?  

If supporting and creating a business relationship with 64 Women Business Owners sounds like an opportunity, then you probably share our vision of what The Women’s Match Play Championship presented by PXG is all about.  Because, well, if this event being the first professional women’s golf tournament in Jacksonville since 1976 isn’t enough…and it being a brilliant Women’s Initiatives collab with Generation W isn’t enough…and it being a huge fundraiser for INK! isn’t enough, then maybe this helps you see the opportunity.

We will have one Official Financial Partner. Please email me here or call me at 904.838.4962 and we’ll work out the details.


*While this article isn’t about the #SportsParityOffset, it’s worthy of note that even though there are fewer playing opportunities for women and earnings are lower for women, COGS is still the same to run their businesses.  Hotels and swing coaches aren’t giving women a 75% discount because they make that much less than the men, just saying.  On the men’s side, there are 25-30 developmental level tours (mini-tours, one rung “below” the Korn Ferry Tour) on which a good season can produce $150,000 in net profit.  Pretty good living for a 23 year old guy right out of college, right? For women, at this same developmental level of professional golf, a player could WIN every event and not break event.  And you know no one wins every event.  At this level, most players don’t even make their entry fees back for the week unless they’re in the Top 7-10.  The best of them won’t GROSS $30,000 per year, let alone turn a profit in the first five years.  Even at the next level – the Symetra Tour – the top money winner in 2018 GROSSED $129,000.  Her male counterpart grossed $574,000. It is not until you get to the LPGA do you actually – maybe – turn a profit on your initial 3-5 year investment.  And then the sky is almost the limit (let’s not overlook that it takes the Top Five LPGA events to equal the pursue of just The PLAYERS).

**As an example, my daughter (below) turned professional the day she graduated college.  She incorporated.  She has an EIN, an accountant, a bookkeeper, a banker, an insurance provider and a 401k set up (and, yes, a marketing guy to guide her brand). She has a mortgage and a car loan and credit cards.  I assure you, she is the anomaly and wouldn’t know where to begin if we both her parents weren’t also business people and entrepreneurs.  We know hundreds of players just like her on the course – many of them will be at The Orca – but very few have had the guidance my daughter has had outside the ropes.  She even has a Plan B in place and is working on her PGA Certification in the likely event she doesn’t cash a few six-figure checks on the LPGA (sadly, there aren’t many seven-figure checks!).

Sponsorship is one of the Lines of Business every young player needs - and wants!

Sponsorship is one of the Lines of Business every young player needs – and wants!