Noe Vital always knew he wanted a business of his own. But the desire to spend his free hours on the golf course and dedicate himself to rebranding the sport? That snuck up on him much later in life.
The Milwaukee native started at UW–Madison as a political science major, but there was an echo in the back of his mind: “Try the business school.” Though he initially resisted out of concern he wouldn’t get accepted, after networking with WSB faculty and staff and being encouraged to apply, Noe gained the confidence to submit an application. He was admitted to the school and chose to study marketing and entrepreneurship.
Through his classes, Noe discovered a passion for business and found himself growing more excited about the prospect of being an entrepreneur. He credits his parents for instilling this ambition in him, as well as for teaching him networking skills and the value of hard work.
“My parents came to the United States before I was born, chasing the American dream,” Noe says. “They sacrificed what they’d known from childhood to give their kids a better shot. I’ve always carried that with me. It’s crazy because they come here with those goals, and eventually you realize you’re the American dream for them.”
For Noe, the next stop in pursuit of that dream was San Diego. Interested in startup culture, Noe took a sales operations position at GoFormz, a young software company specializing in digital forms. He still works for the startup, now as their VP of marketing operations. Having witnessed its growth from a value of $1.3 million to over $100 million, Noe says GoFormz gave him a front-row seat to building and running a business.
But he was still itching to start his own—he just wasn’t quite sure what it would look like. The answer came to him in an unexpected place: the golf course.
Noe confesses he started playing golf for the “wrong reasons”; he thought the golf course was where business got done. He never imagined he would fall in love with the sport.
“The first question I asked myself was ‘Why did it take 25 years for me to be exposed to this game?’” Noe reflects. “And as I started playing more, it started to become apparent there’s a huge lack of diversity in the game.”
Noe found himself acting and dressing differently to fit in. Tucked-in polo, slacks, a belt—they seemed to come with the territory of playing golf. But after a few years, he grew tired of pretending to be someone he wasn’t.
“I was like, I’m not doing this anymore,” Noe recalls. “If I want to wear my shirt untucked, if I want to wear Jordan golf shoes or things like that, I just don’t care. I’m just going to be myself when I’m playing.”
This declaration was the spark for Vibez Golf Club, which Noe launched with nine friends—all former Wisconsin football players, six of whom played in the NFL. Vibez’s focus is to expand the game of golf by paving the way for new demographics. Noe aims to rebrand the sport and introduce it to kids of diverse backgrounds who never thought golf might be an option for them.
“Our goal for Vibez is literally that mind shift—it’s to go from ‘Golf isn’t for me’ to ‘I can do it if I want to,’” he explains.
While the amateur golf club is still in its early stages, Noe is encouraged by the golf world’s response. He describes the media outreach Vibez has received as “mind-blowing”—even drawing interest from the PGA.
“The golf world has always needed something like Vibez,” he says, “but now we finally reached the point where it actually wants something like us as well.”
Noe’s goal with Vibez isn’t to make people love golf but rather to simply help them take their first swing. The rest, he says, will take care of itself.
“We just need to remove the barriers to get someone from ‘I want to play’ to ‘I’m on a golf course,’” Noe says. “That’s our job. How do we remove all those barriers? Make it as welcoming and approachable as possible—and then once they get there, they can experience the game on their own.”