Professional golfer Westrup relies on skills learned at School of Communication

Caroline Westrup
Caroline Westrup

It doesn’t matter where your career path leads you; brushing up on your communication skills is beneficial in virtually any profession.

Professional golfer Caroline Westrup may not have learned how to sink a 10-foot putt for birdie while minoring in communication at Florida State University’s School of Communication, but she did gain the skills needed to brand and promote herself as a world-class athlete.

Westrup, a native of Sweden, graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management after becoming the first four-time All–American and All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection in Florida State history.  She also led the Seminoles to the NCAA Tournament in each of her four seasons.

After graduation, Westrup played on the European Tour for two years and then joined the Symetra Tour last year, which is the official developmental tour for the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). 

In December, after a grueling five-day competition, Westrup finished two-under at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to tie for 32nd place and earn partial status on the LPGA Tour.  While she will be considered a rookie in 2014 and still compete in some Symetra Tour events, Westrup will be eligible for several LPGA tournaments against the best golfers in the world this year.

As a professional athlete, Westrup’s work does not cease when she steps off the course.  She must continually market herself and the sport of women’s golf, and use the skills she sharpened while attending Florida State. 

“It’s like I have my own company because I have to sell myself to sponsors,” Westrup said.  “I have to be able to communicate with people I meet everyday.  I play a lot of pro-am tournaments and have to be able to entertain the (amateur golfers).  I’m also a part of a marketing group for the tour that works on getting more exposure for events.  I do different community outings to market the tour and myself.” 

Westrup’s communication studies at Florida State gave her additional perspective in several different decisions regarding her professional image.

Caroline Westrup
Caroline Westrup at LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament.

“You have to think about branding yourself and how you want other people to look at you,” Westrup said.  “You want to think about how you are perceived in your professional career.  I am a very humble person and very down-to-earth, but I like stars.  They are my favorite symbol, but they can have different meanings. If I would have put a star in my logo during the creative process, it may have come off like I was already a star.”

Westrup also depends on her writing skills as a professional golfer, composing letters to land sponsors and keeping fans updated on her website   She served as an intern in Florida State’s Athletics Media Relations office, and still volunteers at Seminole sporting events since she makes her home in Tallahassee.  Westrup would ultimately like to pursue a career in sports media when her playing days are over.

But right now, Westrup is preparing for her first action of the season.  She opens 2014 with two Symetra Tour events starting at the Visit Mesa Gateway Classic in Mesa, Ariz., on Feb. 21-23, followed by a trip to California where she will compete in the Volvik Championship on Feb. 28-March 2.

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