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Spun from the Webb: So long, comfort zone

By |  December 3, 2020 0 Comments
Woman shattering comfort zone (Photo: Maria Stavreva / DigitalVision Vectors / Getty Images)

Photo: Maria Stavreva / DigitalVision Vectors / Getty Images

When I’m asked if I golf, whether at industry events or in my personal life, my response has always been, “yes, but I’m not very good,” or “sort of, but I’m more of a par-3 kind of gal.” In reality, neither of those are particularly true. I can hold my own on the golf course; I even got a birdie a few weeks ago playing at a local course with my dad.

I hadn’t thought there was a problem to my response until I attended last year’s Green Start Academy, hosted by John Deere and Bayer. Carol Rau, career consultant and speaker with Career Advantage Golf, who also presented at this year’s Women in Golf event, told me to stop downplaying my golf experience. (For more on this year’s Women in Golf event, sponsored by Bayer, check out the insert that follows p. 18.)

Since then, whenever I’m asked if I play golf, my answer is “Yes, I do,” and the raised eyebrows and follow-up questions of where I like to play and what I typically shoot are a lot more validating than the shrug and disinterested nod I used to get as a response. I think this is something that women in the industry, myself included, should strive to be better about: not minimizing our accomplishments, not second-guessing our ideas, not peppering our speech with “maybes,” “sort ofs” and “sorrys.”

This was also a major theme of this year’s Women in Golf event: being brave and stepping out of your comfort zone.

I still remember my first industry event three years ago — I was working solely for our sister publication, Landscape Management at the time and was a fresh two weeks into the job, my first one out of college. I showed up to a facility tour of a nearby landscape company put on by the Ohio Landscape Association sticking out like a sore thumb with my little Ford Fiesta nestled in between giant pickup trucks and my blonde ponytail and reporter’s notebook set off against baseball caps and work boots.

That day in the office, I contemplated what would happen if I went home sick, and my stomach roiled as I drove to the event after work. Thankfully, Senior Editor Abby Hart attended the event with me, and it happened to be her first industry event on the job as well. As I went over in my head what was expected of me for the thousandth time, I looked to Abby, who had her shoulders squared and head held high.

She was steady. She was self-assured. She was brave. And, she forged her way into that unfamiliar territory, only looking back to help me along.

Many attendees of this year’s Women in Golf event said it was eye-opening just how many women are involved in the turf industry, but I think this is just the beginning. I’ve written several stories throughout my time with Golfdom on turf education programs, such as the revamped program at South Fork High School that’s headed up by Wendy Schepman, and I’m encouraged by the young women in middle school and high school stepping into these programs that were — and still are — male dominated.

As events like Women in Golf, Syngenta’s Growing Golf and SiteOne’s inaugural Women in the Landscape Industry gain momentum, I hope more women feel comfortable to take that first step into an “unexpected” but fulfilling career, so much so that their career choice is no longer deemed “unexpected.”

And to women already in the turf industry, I think it’s just as important to help pave the way for those women by your side and those who come after you — just as Abby and so many others did for me.

And to answer your question, yes, I golf.

This is posted in Columns, Featured, From the Magazine

About the Author:

Sarah Webb is Golfdom's former managing editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. Prior to her role at Golfdom, Sarah was an intern for Cleveland Magazine and a writing tutor.

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