Zoe Fitz-Costa is the Partnerships Manager at golf holiday specialist Your Golf Travel. Women & Golf finds out more about her role and she got into the golf industry…
Tell us about your career and what led you to the golf industry?
I was introduced to golf from an early age when my mum took me to a driving range. I was then fortunate to join a golf club with a large ladies’ section, played for Buckinghamshire County and reduced my handicap to 3. I attended the University of Birmingham, where I graduated with the Applied Golf Management Studies degree. I knew that becoming a teaching professional wasn’t for me, so it felt natural to discover other options, from events and professional tours, travel, PR and retail/equipment manufacturers, there’s so much scope to work in the golf industry.
What attracted you to the role of Partnerships Manager at YGT?
I was looking for something new within golf, and after spending a few years working at European Tour Properties and the Ladies European Tour Access Series, it felt like the perfect fit for me. My background wasn’t in travel, but it’s always something I enjoy and to be able to mix it with golf felt like a great opportunity.
Describe a typical week
Liaising with our events and marketing teams to deliver value to our partners is a priority, especially during campaign months, which are key selling windows. A good proportion of each day is spent looking at business development strategies to consider new ways to improve our product, and how we communicate golf holidays to those within the golf industry or on a business-to-business basis.
A focus this year has been to expand our Team YGT ambassador programme. This was created to utilise the connections and visibility of golf professionals, social media influencers or others in the industry who are ideally placed to help grow our sales figures.
Being part of a team that hosts clients at major tournaments, what have been your highlights?
I am lucky to have the opportunity to travel to some of the Your Golf Travel events and tournaments. The Masters is really special. Having watched it on TV for many years, it’s far more impressive and pristine than you can ever imagine. It’s also great value for money for the patrons - $2 Georgia peach ice cream sandwiches are a real winner!
I was part of the background staff at the 2015 Solheim Cup in Germany, and it was disappointing to hand the cup to the Americans, so to watch Suzann Pettersen hole her putt the way she did at Gleneagles this year, the atmosphere was electric. This was a real highlight and also fabulous to see so many clients enjoying themselves at the Your Golf Travel party.
As a female in the golf industry, do you face any challenges?
The majority of sports industry jobs have a male-dominated environment but I have always embraced being involved as a woman in golf as a real positive.
There are so many opportunities out there and avenues to take. It’s amazing how many people still ask if I play golf, automatically assuming that I don’t, but that’s never really challenged me.
Women like to travel to play golf, so what trends have you noticed?
Everyone travels differently, from golf club away-days, couples holidays, to girls’ trips. It’s an important focus in my role to discover what encourages women to travel for golf.
Women’s coaching trips, especially in the winter months are popular. These help women to feel more confident on the course and prepared for the UK club season. There’s also the opportunity to socialise with others and enjoy some all-important sunshine!
I believe Morocco will become a hit with women’s travel, as there’s outstanding golf courses, a great climate for a winter escape and the opportunity to experience its rich culture and history.
How often do you play golf?
Approximately twice a month at the moment, but I am sure over the year it might be a lot more!
I visited Wisconsin this year to discover Milwaukee where YGT is hosting clients for the 2020 Ryder Cup and played six rounds in seven days including Whistling Straits, Erin Hills and Sand Valley, which were all incredible courses.
I recently returned from our annual Your Golf Travel Pro-Am in Abu Dhabi and I managed to play two rounds in the sunshine at Yas Links and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club.