The LPGA Women’s Network has partnered with FORAY GOLF, a company redefining golf apparel for modern women and their unique expressions of style, to celebrate the women who are challenging the status quo in golf.
The Women Beyond Par series puts a spotlight on the pioneers who are growing the game for all girls and women and blazing trails to accomplish their dreams.
Amidst the bustling stream of New Yorkers on their Monday morning commute, you might spot one woman carrying a set of golf clubs along with her daily work essentials. That woman is Ashley Mayo—born-and-raised Manhattanite who spent the last 11 years as an editor for Golf Digest, where she helped rebrand one of golf’s most iconic publications and was solely responsible for launching their social media channels. Now she’s embarking on the next phase of her career as brand director overseeing seven major companies in different sectors of the golf industry ranging from clubfitting and apps, to media and licensing.
As is synonymous with a true New Yorker, Mayo is ambitious, energetic and a grinder. She’s up before 6am every morning and out the door by 6:15 to take her brisk 30-block walk (roughly 2 miles) to her new office in Midtown Manhattan.
Perhaps even greater than her unyielding work ethic is her lifelong passion for golf. In college she was part of the inaugural women’s golf team (along with her twin sister) at University of Virginia. During the Fall of her senior year, Mayo took on 18 credits so she could graduate early and accept an editorial position with Golf for Women, a bi-monthly magazine run by Golf Digest.
“It was so much fun—I got to travel and I was 21 years old, it was too good to be true,” Mayo said. “I was making this embarrassingly low salary for someone living in Manhattan, but I was happy.”
In July 2008, after Golf for Women printed its last issue, Mayo transitioned to associate equipment editor for Golf Digest. The same time marked a pivotal moment in journalism when social media began to transform from a source of entertainment to a source for news and storytelling—Mayo saw an opportunity and seized it.
“I looked around me at all these seasoned editors who are amazing, but they didn’t know the digital space because it was so new,” she said. “I realized I couldn’t learn it from them, so I decided to go back to school to get my master’s degree in digital journalism at Columbia University.”
For the next three years, she worked full time while earning her degree—she even took the very first course on social media offered at Columbia University’s School of Journalism.
“It was fascinating, I actually launched the Golf Digest Twitter account right there in class with the professor looking over my shoulder,” she said.
Eventually, social media became her full-time job and for the next several years she managed it alone until she was able to expand her team. Since then, Golf Digest has become one of the most influential social media channels in the golf industry.
Now Mayo is taking on a new challenge as Head of Brand, where she will help grow the audiences for six golf companies: Golf Magazine & Golf.com, True Spec Golf, Golflogix, Club Conex, Miura Golf and the Nicklaus Companies—all managed under the holding company Emigrant Bank. While it was bittersweet leaving her Golf Digest family, she’s focused on the positives brought on by her new role.
“I thought: Here’s a chance for me to stay in golf, a sport that I’m passionate about, but also learn about all these other industries,” Mayo said. “That’s what drew me to the position—I’ve always been drawn to variety and love not knowing what my day is going to look like. I love being able to think about a million things at once.”
Prior to beginning her new job, Mayo had a month of “funemployment” to travel, play golf and enjoy time as a newlywed with her husband—it was the first time she had a month off since college.
“It was a good time to reflect, and I realized that working in the golf industry is so much more than a job to me,” Mayo said. “It gives my life real valuable meaning and being able to make an impact in [golf] is not something I’ll ever take for granted.”
Now her vacation is up, and it’s back to the grind for Mayo—who is in her element when she’s working on multiple projects at once. While the days are often taxing and end with another long walk home, her daily motivation is knowing the difference she makes in growing the game she’s so passionate about.
“When I walk back home around 7 or 8 at night it’s my favorite part of the day,” Mayo said. “It’s a chance to unwind. I’ll throw on another podcast, think about everything that went on today and get excited about tomorrow.”