Women in Turf: Andrea Salzman

The assistant superintendent at Pinehurst No. 2 and The Cradle discusses her journey in the industry so far.


Andrea Salzman
Andrea Salzman, the assistant superintendent at Pinehurst No. 2 and The Cradle, got into golf course maintenance following a summer job in college. Photo courtesy of Andrea Salzman

Editor’s note: In honor of Women’s Golf Day 2024 — which will be celebrated for an entire week, May 28-June 4 — GCM has partnered with John Deere on a series of stories that highlight three women working and thriving in golf course management. These stories, told in the women’s own words, highlight career journeys, discuss challenges and lessons learned, offer advice to fellow women in turf, and suggest ways the industry can foster more-inclusive work environments. Stories will be posted daily through May 30.

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Andrea Salzman is an assistant superintendent at Pinehurst No. 2 and The Cradle at Pinehurst Resort and a three-year GCSAA member. Salzman began her career at Pinehurst in 2022, after studying plant science at the University of Minnesota, where she also worked as a research assistant.

I became interested in golf course management completely by accident. I worked for the Kohler factory as a summer job in Wisconsin, but they ran out of work for the college kids and decided to spread us out in their golf course grounds crews. I ended up at Blackwolf Run, where I met its then superintendent, Jeff Wilson.

The following summer, I decided to work at the golf course again, so I reached out to him for a job. He had been moved to Whistling Straits and invited me to work there for the summer, which I agreed to. That summer I completely fell in love with working on the grounds crew. I distinctly remember one weekend I had off. I woke up one Saturday and was so sad I didn’t get to work that morning. I spent all weekend waiting for Monday. Working there made me so much happier than any of my other jobs.

After that experience, I switched my major to plant science with a focus in turfgrass science and have remained in the industry since. What I love most about my career is getting to put in the physical work and seeing the immediate results afterward. It is so satisfying and rewarding to turn around at the end of the day and see that something looks better than it was at the beginning.

It is hard to say what the biggest obstacle that women in the turf industry face as our experiences are all so different. Some I have talked to feel there haven’t been any barriers for them, while others have been treated differently or have had different expectations placed on them. These various obstacles can lead towards a more shared feeling of isolation, that male crew members can’t relate these challenges whether they are uniform options, bathrooms, job assignments, slights, or maltreatment and whether they are intentional, because or otherwise. Because it is a more shared feeling, I would say feeling more isolated than others can be the biggest obstacle women can face in the industry.

The best advice I have ever been given is that being comfortable at your job isn’t necessarily a good thing. Things are always changing, and we should be constantly challenging ourselves to improve and learn more, so if we’re always comfortable then something isn’t right.

The advice I give to other women is to always ask to learn more and to be challenged. Most times, simply asking to learn something new is enough encouragement to break down barriers or hesitation. Most people leave it to us to tell them what we can do and where we belong. While some people might treat women differently, there are just as many who show concern and offer support.