The acclaimed writer P.G. Wodehouse famously stated, “To find a man’s true character, play golf with him.” Though Wodehouse never teed it up with Billy Horschel, he would’ve liked what he saw. The 33-year-old Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. resident is competitive, compassionate, benevolent, tough-minded, and believes in giving more than receiving.
While his on-course accomplishments are well documented, the 2014 FedExCup champ and five-time PGA TOUR winner is a burgeoning businessman off it. Several new relationships, in fact, blossomed in the past year. “If golf wasn’t my thing, I’d be an entrepreneur,” Horschel said. As a prelude, he’s joined the investor group for Beam (CBD products) and is the franchise owner of three Poké restaurants, LemonShark Poké. “I love representing a company as a partnership or sponsorship. But it takes it to another level when you invest in the company,” said Horschel. “I like being part of something new, or in the early stages, with a great vision for how to change or take over the marketplace.”
Vision and change attracted Horschel to his newest sponsor, Velocity Global. The Denver, Colo.-based company applies innovative employment solutions for businesses growing overseas. “I was first drawn to their purpose — to simplify global expansion for businesses,” Horschel said. “As a businessman and a golfer, knowing the team of experts by my side gives me the confidence to grow. And Velocity Global is that team for growing companies.”
“Billy embodies what we call ‘people first,’” said Rob Wellner, Velocity Global chief revenue officer. “The hard work he puts in, day in and day out, and relying on the people around him to collectively win on and off the course is what defines this approach. Our clients face their own version of the pressure of Sunday putts, and they look to our team to solve problems to help them grow globally.”
Horschel subscribes to that people-first approach in his pursuits. He credits his trusted, experienced team, which includes family, a swing coach, accountant, caddy, physiotherapist, agent, statistician, and more. “I’m the leader of the team, but we sit at a round table,” he said. “No one’s at the head. It’s an equal partnership. That way, everyone feels they have a stake in the game. They see it, feel it, sense it so they do whatever they can to help the team be as successful as possible.”
Besides the ever-increasing business footprint, charity work is another huge part of Horschel’s life. “Helping others was ingrained in me as a kid,” said Horschel. “We didn’t have a lot of money. The one thing we could give back to our friends, our neighbors, people in our community, was ourselves. My younger brother and I mowed lawns, cleaned up debris after hurricanes.” They helped any way they could. “Now, I’m in a position financially to give money to help organizations, and in a public role to bring awareness to causes I’m passionate about.”
“Billy’s care for others is integral to who he is and why we wanted to be a part of his team,” said Wellner. “This spring, Billy was handily beating me during a round at TPC Sawgrass when we started talking about our passions to give back. I told him about a nonprofit we work with, First Descents, that empowers young adults with cancer and MS through outdoor adventures. It really struck a chord for him.”
That conversation on a putting green led Horschel to donate $10,000 to First Descents, which recently implemented outdoor programs for healthcare workers on the frontlines of the global pandemic. “I wanted to support my new sponsor and what they’re doing to give back,” said Horschel. “Plus, First Descents is an unbelievable organization.”
Horschel’s relationship with First Descents quickly blossomed to the nonprofit being named one of the beneficiaries of the eponymous AJGA tournament, the Billy Horschel Junior Championship presented by Zurich (BHJC). Velocity Global is the newest donor to the tournament, a perfect marriage of golf and charity that gives kids an opportunity to showcase their skills to college coaches. “I also host a Q&A with the kids. I want them to understand that if they don’t make it on Tour, it’s not game over,” he said. “The connections you make in golf stay with you. So many people you come across can influence your life.” The event’s raised $269,000 since 2017. Last year, the BHJC received the AJGA’s annual Charitable Giving award for raising the most money among the AJGA’s 119 tournaments.
Another beneficiary of Horschel’s AJGA tournament is Feeding Northeast Florida, a local food bank. “In 2014, my wife [Brittany] and I were trying to find something in Jacksonville that we could be part of and help grow. At the time, more than half a million people in our Northeast Florida community were food insecure—1 in 6 adults and 1 in 4 kids,” Horschel recalled. “The kid part really touched me since we were about to have our first child. We’ve done a lot of good work for them, but there’s still a lot to do.” Through personal donations, the #DriveOutHunger campaign, and donations from his sponsors and AJGA event, Horschel’s been instrumental in generating close to $500,000 for Feeding Northeast Florida. His giving never stops. When the 2020 PLAYERS Championship was abruptly canceled due to the pandemic, he chipped in by donating half of his tournament earnings to the charity and loading food from the tournament onto trucks headed to food banks. The other half of his earnings from the canceled tournament were donated to First Descents and Blessings in a Backpack.
Golf alone doesn’t define Billy Horschel. Wodehouse would approve.
Click here to learn more about Billy Horschel’s partnership with Velocity Global.