January 29, 2024
Women in Turf Program shines spotlight on female greenkeepers
Crestmead, Queensland (29 January, 2024) – COBRAM Barooga Golf Club again hosted a group of female volunteer greenkeepers for the Webex Players Series Murray River as part of John Deere's Women in Turf Program.
Returning to the site of the program's successful launch in 2023, the six volunteers had the rare opportunity to work alongside other women as they supported club Superintendent, Terry Vogel, and his team to prepare the picturesque course for the PGA event.
Sophie Warren, fourth-year apprentice at Glenelg Golf Club, said volunteering at a major tournament gave her invaluable experience which she'll take back to her home course.
"I was doing a lot of things I wouldn't normally do day-to-day, like changing holes and measuring the moisture of the greens," she said.
"The Women in Turf Program is a great opportunity to learn new skills, both from the club staff and the other volunteers."
John Deere Golf and Sports Turf Key Account Manager, Corey Clark, said the program was about creating career pathways for female greenkeepers.
"On top of professional development, it also helps them build support networks and gain confidence plying their trade at a big tournament like the Webex Players Series," he said.
"It's a different experience for them, especially those who have less experience on the golf course. John Deere is very committed to this program, and we're excited to keep developing it and host more events at different courses in the future.
"Terry and his crew at Cobram Barooga have been super receptive of hosting the program again, and the volunteers have fitted in really well with them."
Mr Vogel said the club jumped at the chance to host the volunteers again.
"It was incredibly successful last year, so we were ecstatic when John Deere asked us if they could run the program at Cobram Barooga again this year," he said.
"The extra hands on the ground makes a huge difference for a tournament of this size, and all the women bring their own diverse range of skills and experiences into the team. The attitude and professionalism they showed throughout the week was infectious for the rest of the team.
"It's a win-win because we get the help, and the volunteers get to hone their skills in preparing for a tournament, which some of them have never done before."
At just 17 years old, Bella Browne was the youngest volunteer in the program, but said she was made to feel like one of the team.
"I was a bit nervous coming into it, but all the staff and the other girls were so welcoming and helped me settle into the week," said the Thurgoona Country Club apprentice.
"It's all male staff where I work, so it's cool to see there are other women in this industry, and to hear where they've come from in their careers."
Susie Rawlings is relatively new to the industry, starting at Toronto Golf Club in Newcastle only 12 months ago after spending 20 years in the telecommunications industry.
"I'm used to working in male-dominated industries, so this was a unique experience for me," she said.
"You can do a lot of different things in this industry, and the Women in Turf Program is a great stepping stone to experience different sides of the role.
"It was great to hear the views of the other volunteers and learn about how they approach things at their own clubs."
The Women in Turf volunteers also included Tegan Lewis from Hartfield Golf Club in Perth, Shana Stopp from Green Options in Brisbane, and Holly Ross from Bayview Golf Cub in Sydney.
The group took a break from their greenkeeping duties on Thursday to attend a VIP luncheon to officially mark Cobram Barooga signing the R&A Women in Golf Charter, signalling its commitment to growing the number of females at all levels of golf.
John Deere Production Systems Manager, Stephanie Gersekowski, said the Women in Turf Program reflected John Deere's wider commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I).
"We aim to be specific, targeted and intentional with our DE&I initiatives, and the Women in Turf Program is a perfect example of that," Ms Gersekowski said.
"The program not only provides invaluable professional development opportunities, but creates a sense of community among female greenkeepers, which is important in a typically male-dominated industry.
"It's also a chance for us to raise awareness of the great work women are doing in greenkeeping to encourage more female participation in the future. We really feel like we're still at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the impact this program can make."
About John Deere:
Deere & Company is a global leader in the delivery of agricultural, golf & turf, construction, and forestry equipment. We help our customers push the boundaries of what's possible in ways that are more productive and sustainable to help life leap forward. Our technology-enabled products including the John Deere Autonomous 8R Tractor and See & Spray™ are just two of the ways we help meet the world's increasing need for food, shelter, and infrastructure. Deere & Company also provides financial services through John Deere Financial. For more information, visit John Deere at its worldwide website at JohnDeere.com or in Australia at JohnDeere.com.au.