As final preparations for the greatest showcase in golf come to a head, a group of women have been demonstrating their greenkeeping skills at Le Golf National, France, becoming role models as they challenge perceptions in a male-dominated industry and encourage more women into the field.
This recently released video features Lara Arias – who began as one of the 140 volunteers from across the continent to have temporarily joined the Syngenta-sponsored greenkeeping team at Le Golf National – working tirelessly to ensure the peak condition the course and revealing her feelings about working in the golf industry.
Greenkeeper Lara, a former intern of the Ohio State University Turf Programme, said: “It has been an amazing project to work on. To network and share experiences with members of teams from across Europe has been an invaluable opportunity and really inspirational.
“It’s true that we have entered a very male-dominated environment, but this hasn’t been an issue for us or for the male team members. They see we are capable of the same work and we share the same passion.”
Maria Gutierrez, another member of the Le Golf National volunteer workforce and Head Greenkeeper at Terramar Golf Club in Spain, said: “I haven’t felt any pressure or bad vibes. We are all part of the same team, working towards the same goal – and now have the finish line in sight.”
Being part of the team at Le Golf National has opened up development and, for Lara, employment opportunities.
Golf Courses and Estate Manager at Le Golf National, Alejandro Reyes, was so impressed with Lara that he offered her a position on his full-time greenkeeping staff, and is an ardent supporter of more women entering into the profession: “One of the most special things about preparing for this event is the team we have assembled here from different backgrounds, different countries and different styles of golf course.
“Our female team members have added so many new skills and perspectives to our workforce. People might think it would be difficult for them, entering into an environment where they are outnumbered by men. But, really, it could not be further from the truth,” added Alejandro.
The video, featuring both Lara and Maria, is one of the actions taken by Syngenta in support of the R&A Women in Golf Charter launched earlier this year.
Commenting on the actions taken in support of the Charter commitments, Global Head of Marketing, Turf & Landscape, Mark Birchmore, said: “Since its launch, we have embraced the charter as something the whole industry can unite behind.
“We look forward to progressing with our pledges over the coming months to continue sharing research insights, supporting diversity in our workforce and the wider industry, and growing female participation through our pioneering female coaching programme love.golf.”
Syngenta, a leading supplier of innovative turfcare solutions to courses, is investing in golf from the ground up.
Its campaign, ‘Syngenta Growing Golf,’ is focused on the long-term business sustainability of golf courses and the economic opportunity to increase female participation, worth a potential $35 billion a year to the global golf industry.