International Women's Day: Anonymous Female: ''Maybe a Topless one"
How Did You Get Into Green-keeping?
I first got in to green-keeping in 2015. To be honest I'd had a couple of months of not working and I had no idea what I wanted to do next. I knew I wanted to do a physical job and I've always enjoyed sport and being outdoors so when I saw an apprenticeship advertised I thought I'd give it a go. Through my apprenticeship, I found out that there was a lot more to turf management than other people and myself realised and I found it really interesting.
What Challenges Have You Faced In The Industry As A Female?
During my time as a green-keeper I worked at two golf clubs. The first one was a municipal golf course with just 7 green-keepers. The other assistant green-keepers were generally pretty good to work with. i got the odd sexist remark and my ideas were ignored. The big issue for me was the course manager, who wouldn't train me up on any of the machines. When I needed a photo for my apprenticeship someone else drove the machine out and I sat on it for a photo then had to get back off it. There was even a time when I asked him for a photo of me doing a job and he laughed and said "maybe a topless one" then he drove off. Other comments like "never let a woman do man's work" were said quite frequently as well.
My second golf course was a much bigger private club with around 30 green-keepers. I was given the opportunity to have a go at everything here. The managers were so supportive however I then had trouble with the other guys who had no qualifications, no experience but still believed that they knew better than any woman. I often ended my days feeling frustrated and alone.
What Did You Enjoy About Green-keeping?
I loved being outside in all weathers. I enjoyed the banter (when it wasn't sexist) and when you were working with a good group who respect each other. That's a big one for me.
How Can We Inspire More Women To Get Into The Industry?
I think that there should be more awareness of female green-keepers and course managers. In golf magazines, all the interviews were with men and I know that's because most are men but I believe that women are more likely to get into something if they see other women doing it.
What Would You Say To Other Women Wanting To Get Into Greenkeeping?
I would say, if you enjoy the outdoors and don't mind getting dirty then a job in lawn care would be great for you. If you enjoy it and find a good team to work with, try and stick with it. Don't let anyone knock you down. To those who don't see it as a career, it's still such a good feeling to get outside and cut the lawn. It's time where you can zone out and forget about everything. It looks better when you've finished and personally I love the smell of freshly cut grass.
It's not nice to have to post blogs like this but it may just wake a few people up to their behaviour towards females wanting to get into the industry.