Golf & Turf

John Deere’s Women in Turf program a “phenomenal” experience

The beginning of this year saw the anticipated gathering of local golf and turf industries for John Deere’s Women in Turf program in its second year running. After a very successful inaugural event in 2023, PGA’s Webex Players Series Murray River tournament returned to Cobram Barooga Golf Club in Barooga, NSW, inviting female greenkeepers from all over the country to take part in the formal events.

The Women in Turf program gives female greenkeepers the rare opportunity to work alongside other women in a major tournament event. This year, six volunteers supported club Superintendent, Terry Vogel, and his team to prepare the picturesque course for the PGA event.

Amongst the group were greenkeepers from several RDO golf and turf equipment customers across Queensland and NSW, including Susan Rawlings from Toronto Golf Club in Newcastle, and Shana Stopp from Green Options (now part of the Green by Nature brand) in Brisbane.

“Just working for a big tournament was pretty impressive, and the guys from John Deere really looked after us, making sure that we were treated really well.” said Susan, looking back at her tournament experience.

John Deere Women In Turf Program - Susie Rawlings
John Deere Women In Turf Program 2024 – Susie Rawlings

“I come from very male-dominated industries, having started in telecommunications with Telstra, and now at a golf club, so it was nice to be out in the field with other females – nice to see how they approach things and how they do things at their own courses.”

After working in the telecommunications industry for many years, Susan started dreaming for something new, which lead her to writing a list of her future possibilities. Around the time she was leaving her role at Telstra, a horticulture course became available – a background that most of the female greenkeepers from the tournament coincidentally shared – which she saw as a pleasant coincidence and jumped at the opportunity.

Through studying and building new connections within the industry, Susan found her new home at Toronto Golf Club.

“It’s been really interesting so far, and being able to be a part of these tournaments has been phenomenal. It’s a fantastic learning experience, and also being able to mix and work with other people in the industry from all different types of backgrounds – some new and some who have been doing it for up to 40 years.”

As well as being blown away by the experience, Susan was also taken aback by experiencing some of the John Deere golf and turf equipment for the first time, taking in today’s innovations and technologies in spraying equipment.

“I’ve never seen some of the really technical machinery that John Deere has, like the GPS sprayer – you program your course in and off it goes, you just sit there and it sprays. It does everything for you. A lot of their equipment was pretty fancy to work with.”

“I’d absolutely do it again if I had the opportunity.”

Susan’s positive experience is something that Shana from Green Options proudly shares.

Shana has spent the last four years at Green Options working as a team leader in the commercial division, focusing on horticulture-based services. This year’s tournament was her first, and first work on a golf course in general, having been encouraged by her manager to experience a different division in landscaping. Working on sports turf was a very different scene to the construction, horticulture and hardscape environments she’s used to.

John Deere Women In Turf Program - Shana Stopp
John Deere Women In Turf Program 2024 – Shana Stopp

“It was definitely a good experience. We got really looked after by the crew down there, from the minute we got there to the minute we left,” Shana explained looking back at her tournament experience.

“We just inserted ourselves with the greenkeepers and prepped the course for about three days before the tournament kicked off. Every morning we’d be out there before they tee’d off getting the course ready, putting the flags in, marking the holes – then every afternoon would be recovery, collecting everything.”

After looking back on the event, Shana’s looking to the future and what it holds for her in the different areas of landscaping.

“What I took away was just the amount of hard work and passion that goes into that industry. The people doing it are clever at what they do, and it was great to be able to ask them hundreds of questions and not feel like I was ever overstepping. They were very happy to help.”

“There’s so many different aspects to landscaping, and it was great to be able to experience a different division of it.”

RDO Equipment is extremely proud to work alongside businesses in the golf and turf space, like Toronto Golf Club and Green Options, and be a part of events such as John Deere’s Women in Turf program that works to bring these industries together.

We thank our golf and turf business development specialists, Greg Askew and Graeme Hibberd, for representing RDO and supporting up-and-coming industry players like Susan and Shana, and look forward to supporting John Deere in the next Women in Turf program.

Visit our John Deere golf and sports turf equipment here or contact your local RDO team on 1300 008 608.