June is Women’s Golf Month. In celebration, each Wednesday this month we’ll feature interviews with women working inside the golf equipment industry. You’ll learn how each found her way to the sport and how what they’re doing impacts golfers – both male and female – and the equipment side of the game.
An Interview with PXG’s Renee Parsons
Renee Parsons’ relationship with golf began while working in sales for a hotel company. At the time, she wasn’t particularly drawn to the sport. Golf didn’t excite her, so her play was limited to company events.
“I never really spent much time practicing, but I was familiar with the rules and how to get around the course,” she said.
That changed when she met someone obsessed with the game: Bob Parsons. Early in their relationship, they would play nine holes together once a week. Bob became Renee’s main teacher, and as their relationship became more serious, Renee began playing with other women. She eventually worked her way up to playing 18 holes, where she found she was one of the quickest players on the course.
“Bob’s a real stickler when it comes to slow play, so he’s the part of the reason why I play so fast now,” says Parsons.
Over time, she improved, and in return, golf became more fun. Renee was addicted, but she never thought her love for the game would, years later, lead her into a new career.
It started when Bob kept buying clubs trying to find the “one.” Renee would walk into their home, and seemingly every day there was a new set of irons sitting on the kitchen counter.
“I was like, ‘Okay this is really getting out of hand.’ And then when he had the idea to start PXG because he felt like all the other clubs didn’t live up to the hype, I supported him,” she said, adding that she trusted his entrepreneurial intuition.
Now, five years later, Renee has found a place in the company as the President of PXG Apparel Worldwide, where she has played an important role in creating a culture within PXG that makes golf feel more accessible and welcoming for women.
MyGolfSpy sat down with Renee Parsons for Women’s Golf Month to learn about PXG’s philosophy for growing women’s participation in golf, what sets them apart from the rest of club equipment industry, and how being part of PXG has changed her relationship with golf.
MGS: When PXG first started, did you have a role with the company?
RP: I wasn’t really directly involved in the company at the beginning. I was somebody he [Bob Parsons] talked to about it and confided in, but I wasn’t going into PXG and working. Sometimes I would test out prototypes, and in fact, I have prototype driver right now. So I always get the new things and try them out, and it’s been really fun. It’s when the apparel side of things came into play last year that I started to become more entrenched.
MGS: Tell us a little more about the apparel line.
RP: We initiated it last year when we formed a joint venture with our distributor in Korea. They were already doing apparel, and we really liked what they were doing. We decided to partner with them and bring it to the United States, Canada, and Europe eventually. For the men, we just have polos currently, and for the women, we have tops, bottoms, and jackets.
MGS: Can you tell us how PXG apparel is different than other golf lines?
RP: I feel like there’s something for everybody, which is great. We’re going to be a little edgier, and the styles will be a little bit more bold. And we’ll have our basic collections, but each capsule will have a signature color that will come in a limited number of pieces. So once it’s gone, it’s gone. The pieces are transitional as well, so you can wear them on the golf course, but be comfortable wearing them out for cocktails or out to dinner. And of course, keeping on brand to PXG, the line is going to be in our signature colors of black, white, and gray.
MGS: There’s not a lot of women who work in the golf industry now, but it seems that PXG has made a commitment from the get-go to have women be part of the building of PXG. Was that a conscious decision?
RP: We believe that women are just important to the game of golf as men, so we really see no difference in the genders. Men and women both have to play golf, and both have a passion for the game. Equally, I’d say you’ve got varying levels on both genders. It just seemed like a no brainer, so it wasn’t really like, ‘Oh we have to do this.’ It was more like this is just the right thing to do.
MGS: What does the makeup look like in terms of leadership at PXG?
RP: Forty percent of our leadership team is women. The way we look at it is that we make golf clubs for everyone; men, women, juniors, professionals, and amateurs. We’re committed to delivering the best to every golfer no matter what their skill level and no matter their gender. So I think having a lot of women in the company does help with a perspective.
MGS: Do you feel the golf industry has underestimated the value of women?
RP: Yeah, I think so. It’s definitely a market that has gone largely untapped, and I think that there is huge opportunity there in terms of equipment and apparel. But it’s really a paradigm that is going to need to shift, and it’s going to happen over time. We HOPE to help women look at themselves differently as golfers, and help them see that they’re worthy of the best equipment that there is, and we are very committed to being part of that shift.
MGS: How has your relationship to golf changed since being part of PXG?
RP: Between the equipment and the apparel side, it’s just been a super fun and exciting time to be in golf. And because I’ve always had an interest in fashion itself, it’s been really rewarding to do something that combines my love of both. It’s really the best of both worlds.