Women’s Golf Day 2024 celebrates women in turf

The annual event recognizes contributions women have made to the turf industry and highlights opportunities for inclusivity.


Female U.S. Women's Open volunteers riding together on the back of a John Deere work cart
Andi Meadows, Carol L. Turner and Andrea Salzman. Photos courtesy of Andi Meadows, Carol L. Turner and 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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For the last eight years, golf management companies, retailers and organizations have come together to empower and support women in turf through Women’s Golf Day, which recognizes the contributions women make to the turf industry.

Women currently make up only a small percentage of the turfgrass industry. Initiatives like Women’s Golf Day support and develop women leaders and overall inclusivity. For Women’s Golf Day 2024, GCM has partnered with John Deere to tell the stories of three female GCSAA members currently making waves in turf.

Carol L. Turner is the superintendent at Bigwin Island Golf Club in Baysville, Ontario, and a six-year GCSAA member. She says her increasing responsibility and involvement in the industry led to a rewarding career. “Working alongside the greens team at Bigwin Island is a joy,” she says. “The mutual learning dynamic and energy they bring not only enrich my experience but also enhance the course itself.”

Andi Meadows, assistant superintendent at TPC San Antonio and four-year GCSAA member, says she enjoys the instant connection she has with others in the industry based on shared knowledge, experiences and interests. “I love that the turf industry is niche,” Young says. “You can meet someone and immediately understand them to an extent and instantly have a connection that allows the conversation to flow as you get to know them better.”

Andrea Salzman is an assistant superintendent at Pinehurst No. 2 and The Cradle at Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, N.C., and a three-year GCSAA member. Salzman fell in love with golf course maintenance while working as an intern at Whistling Straights in Sheboygan, Wis., and Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis. She knew it was the job for her when she woke up one weekend wishing for Monday. “I woke up one Saturday and was so sad I didn’t get to work that morning, Salzman says. “Working there made me so much happier than any of my other jobs.”

Like Salzman, Turner entered the turf industry unexpectedly, first seeing it as a job she enjoyed, then later deciding to commit to a career in turfgrass management when the time was right. “As I immersed myself further, interacting with industry peers, participating in events, and advancing my education, my determination to thrive in golf course management solidified,” Turner says.

For Turner, that immersion has turned into ongoing efforts to help support women in turf — she’s also a member of Bayer Women in Golf and a mentor in the Women in Turfgrass management program. “We need to take an interest in people who are different from us,” she says. “You never know who the next superstar on your team is.”

Meadows began her career in turf in 2006, working for several years before pursuing a turfgrass science degree at Penn State in 2018. She says it has been a long, determined journey. “A career in golf course management always seemed like a good idea, but I didn’t think it would ever be possible,” she says. “I stayed a laborer for many years, mastering my skills and learning new ones until I could get some education under my belt.”

All three women say that while the industry has made strides to be more inclusive, there’s still work to be done. They’re on the vanguard of helping make those necessary changes. 

“I advise other women in the industry to take the leap. Don’t wait until you feel completely ready to pursue opportunities,” Turner says. “Waiting for absolute certainty may mean missing out on valuable experiences and career advancements. Remember, most men aren't waiting until they’re fully prepared.”

Salzman says she’s grateful for the mentorship and allies she’s had on her journey.

“Most times, simply asking to learn something new is enough encouragement to place us at the same performance level as the others on the crew,” she says. “While some people will discriminate or treat women differently, there are just as many who show concern and offer support.”

Check in with GCM May 28-30 for full stories on Women’s Golf Day, and listen to the special Women’s Golf Day episode of the GCSAA Podcast.

Abby Olcese is GCM's online editor.