There are a variety of roles for women within the golf industry, although some don’t always allow much time to play golf.
Karen Jennings is the Manager of Golf at Worldwide Hole ’N One Ltd.
W&G asks the questions ….
Tell us about your career path?
I followed my love of fashion and studied Visual Merchandising at Ware College, Herts. After passing my diploma I worked in the ladies fashion department at Harrods for three years. In the early 90s I bought my first pair of Levi’s and this was the beginning of a career with the Levi’s brand that lasted 17 years - first deputy store manager, then store manager and latterly the youngest director within the Levi’s franchise business. Rising property rental costs meant it was time for a career change. Kevin Luckhurst, the MD of Worldwide Hole ‘N One Ltd and a close friend of my late father, asked if I would like to sell golf insurance. Never having worked in an office, sold on the telephone or knowing anything about golf insurance, some people might have shied away, but I love a challenge! I have now worked for the company for 9 years.
Explain Worldwide Hole in One
Worldwide Hole ’N One Ltd is a prize indemnity insurance company. Prize insurance provides an opportunity to offer a headline prize for the fraction of the prize value as well as adding fun and excitement to the day through a variety of add-on competitions. The odds are high for achieving a hole-in-one but the element of luck plays the winning card. Many prizes are won - cash, cars, Rolex watches and holidays to name but a few. During my time, the most valuable win was earlier this year - a 40K car to one very lucky 13 handicapper.
What’s the Million Shoot Out
The R&A rule change on accepting prizes in the UK has opened up more opportunities for golf day organisers. I was honoured to be involved with the first major One Million Shoot Out for Have A Heart Golf Day at Close House, Newcastle. The headline prize of One Million Dollars was on offer to the 50 celebrities for a hole-in-one. I did have a heart stopping moment when sports presenter, Dan Walker’s trusty 5-iron landed him within 3 feet of a million!
Describe a typical week
Two days managing UK & International enquiries with the golf team and advising on how best to organise prizes, signage and additional competitions. Team moral is key and
I work hard to keep this high. During the summer I usually spend two days
at events, adjudicating the main prize hole. Chatting to golfers before they take the all-important shot is a great way to spend the day; I call it my fairway office. I also set up presentations for prizewinners, distribute press releases and keep our social media channels up-to-date.
You have mixed with a number of celebrities at golf events, tell us who has impressed you and why?
Ex cricketer and Strictly Come Dancing winner Darren Gough is at the top of my list. He is an extremely down to earth and genuinely lovely guy. He was interested in a car for his day, kept my details and I have now worked on charity golf days for him over the past five years. He raises an amazing amount for charity and puts his heart and soul into it. Jamie Redknapp melted me on the green at Archerfield Golf Club, he is so charming and exceeded all expectations; the job definitely has it’s advantages!
What have been your highlights?
The Have a Heart Million Dollar Shoot Out at Close House was an unforgettable day. Presenting a prize is always a highlight as each winner’s joy has such a rippling feel good effect.
Do you play golf?
I took up golf three years ago. I was consistently being invited to play by my clients; I decided I was missing out! I have been taking lessons with Steve Hunter at Redbourn Golf Club and next year I hope to join a golf club and gain a handicap. As a fashion lover, I’m interested in clothing but I need the idea to match the golf gear!
What are your plans for the future?
I will continue to work for Worldwide Hole ’N One, but I have also set up a new company called Golf Day Gloss, acting as a consultancy service for golf day organisers. I have built up a large number of clients and contacts and have strong working relationships with innovative companies, so have decided to combine these to provide a bespoke service for organisers.