Women in Turf: Devon Carroll, Ph.D.

An industry pro shares her perspective on helping women fit in in the industry.


Devon Carrroll at Augusta
Devon Carroll at Augusta National Golf Club. Carroll is a solution development manager with Envu. Photos courtesy of Devon Caroll

Editor’s note: In honor of Women’s Golf Day 2023 — which will be celebrated for an entire week, May 31-June 6 — GCM has partnered with John Deere on a series of stories that highlight five 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 Monday, June 5.

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Devon Carroll, Ph.D., is a solution development manager with Envu, where she uses science to help golf course superintendents maximize the quality of playable green spaces. Carroll came to the industry after experiences working at golf courses and playing golf in high school. Here she shares her advice on entering the industry and making connections, and what can be done to grow representation.

I am originally from a rural area near Scranton, Pa. I grew up spending a lot of time outdoors and ended up joining my high school golf team. My first two jobs during this time were working at golf courses in various customer-facing roles for the free play benefit. When it came time to choose a college major, I was inspired by my cousin’s role as a golf course superintendent and decided to enter the industry myself.

Devon Carrroll in Helsinki
Carroll presents her work at a conference in Helsinki, Finland.

I went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Turfgrass Science from Penn State. There I discovered a passion for research, which led me to pursue a Master of Science degree in Agronomy focused on turfgrass from Penn State and, ultimately, a Ph.D. in Turfgrass Weed Science from the University of Tennessee. I now work as the weed management product development manager for Envu. I really enjoy the creativity of science and the rewarding feeling of helping golf course superintendents provide green spaces for the public to experience.

One of the biggest challenges for women is feeling like they fit in. Although the industry is largely welcoming and supportive, it can still be difficult to work on a crew or attend a meeting as one of few, if not the only, women present. This issue can be recognized through some small steps such as supplying ladies-sized clothing and PPE, ensuring bathroom and locker room situations are comfortable, and keeping conversation topics professional.

The best piece of advice I’ve received is to ask for help and share your goals. Women often perceive asking for help as a sign of weakness. I’ve learned and experienced just the opposite. Most of the industry wants to see others succeed and will do what they can to facilitate. If you verbalize your needs and aspirations, you’re likely to see them come to fruition.

Devon Carrroll on camera
Carroll says networking and getting involved are key to advancing in the industry, especially for women looking to make professional inroads.

I also recommend that women in this industry build a strong network. The women in the industry have formed a tight community that regularly communicates inspiration, opportunities, and an understanding perspective through multiple channels. It can be daunting to reach out to someone you don’t know, but this group of ladies is always thrilled to add a new member to the discussion. The more connected you are, the more possibilities for growth and support you’ll have from men and women.

My last piece of advice is to get involved. Remember that you create your own path to success and are a force for the change you want to see. The industry has provided me with travel, networking, and experiential learning opportunities I never thought possible for myself. Finding the time and mindset to say yes was sometimes difficult, but so worth it!