The Women in Turf team is back in action again at the 2023 US Women’s Open

By |  July 7, 2023 0 Comments
The 2023 Women in Turf team at Pebble Beach Golf Links. (Photo: Rain Bird Golf)

The 2023 Women in Turf team at Pebble Beach Golf Links. (Photo: Rain Bird Golf)

As Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links hosts its first-ever women’s major championship — the 2023 U.S. Women’s Open — Superintendent Bubba Wright has some extra-qualified help coming in to reinforce his existing staff.

The Women in Turf team, a group of volunteers from across the country are on site to bring not only help to Wright but more visibility to women in the industry.

Jill Seymour, CGCS, superintendent at Monmouth County Parks System, N.J., a grizzled veteran of the Women in Turf team, is entering her third year on the Women’s Open volunteer crew and says this year, those involved are as excited as they’ve ever been.

Jill Seymour (Photo: Jill Seymour)

Jill Seymour (Photo: Jill Seymour)

“We have 35 women on this crew this year and 11 of us are returning,” she says. “We’re growing by 50 percent every year that we’ve done this. It’s funny because the very first year we were thinking hopefully we can find some women. And now, we are just spilling out of the woodwork.”

Seymour says the 2023 crew features several assistants in training, assistant mechanics and others — all of whom are chomping at the bit to get to work at scenic Pebble Beach.

“We have a WhatsApp group with everybody that’s going to Pebble,” she says. “It’s probably about 60 percent business, but then the other 40 percent is social and getting excited about the event.”

More where that came from

The 35-woman crew is just a small selection of what the turnout could have been, according to Wright and Seymour.

“We probably could have fielded a hundred female volunteers,” Wright says. “We’re incredibly excited. I know the help will be fantastic. The comradery and establishing relationships and friendships that last a lifetime is really what this is all about.”

The connections made during the event have been invaluable for Seymour, both personally and professionally.

“To have a similar group of women that you can just talk to and bounce ideas off of is great,” she says. “I was just texting with one of my friends down in Florida the other day, and she’s like, ‘Hey, how do you deal with (localized dry spot)?’ We’ve both got sandy soils, we’re still in very different climates, but we can talk about what products we use and what we feel works.”

The first of many

In addition to their work on the course during tournament week at Pebble Beach, Seymour says the group of volunteers will host a First Green event for the first time.

Seymour — who hosted a First Green event in June — hopes the event at Pebble Beach will inspire others on the Women in Turf crew to bring events to their home courses. She’s also hopeful it will become a yearly event at future U.S. Women’s Open sites.

“We’re going to have some pros out there too, to do some, some interactive demos and, and things like that,” she adds. “So that’s something new. We’re hoping it turns into a tradition that we can keep doing at these events. I mean, we’re all there, so why not?”

The finish line is in sight

As for the course, Wright says it’s as ready as it will ever be for its first U.S. Women’s Open.

“We had a pretty interesting winter on the west coast,” he says. “A lot of rain with some pretty severe storms that came through. But really what that did is set us up water-wise to have a, have a great championship and flushed all the soils.”

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About the Author: Rob DiFranco

Rob DiFranco is Golfdom's associate editor. A 2018 graduate of Kent State University, DiFranco holds a bachelor's degree in journalism. Prior to Golfdom, DiFranco was a reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio

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