W&G ask the questions! There are a variety of roles for women within the golf industry. Here we talk to Amanda Dorans - Assistant Greenkeeper and Environmental Co-ordinator at Dundonald Links.
There are a variety of roles for women within the golf industry, although some don’t always allow much time to play golf!
Amanda Dorans is Assistant Greenkeeper and Environmental Co-ordinator at Dundonald Links in Ayrshire.
W&G asks the questions ….
What led you to the role of Greenkeeper?
Initially I worked in various departments within the clubhouse at Dundonald Links and this gave me an overview of golf operations, but I also gained an interest in what was happening outside! I began with a part-time role in golf course maintenance before a full-time role became available. I spent a year greenkeeping and learning the practical side of the business and was then given the opportunity to attend a college to study theory. This combined with my environmental management interest and past studies in business management led to the role that I now currently fulfil.
Greenkeeping is still a male dominated profession but clearly one that you would promote to women so tell us why
I know a number of women working in the industry and worked closely with Sue Rothwell, who was Assistant Golf Course Superintendent at Loch Lomond for 11 years. For anyone interested in horticulture, greenkeeping offers great diversity from grass cultivation to landscape gardening, particularly at Loch Lomond where the crew are responsible for looking after a walled garden and manicured grounds around the clubhouse. Environmental sustainability is also a key responsibility for today’s greenkeepers.
How do people react when you tell them that you are a greenkeeper?
I receive many positive comments from the industry and most importantly, acceptance - men and women that work in golf are a community and I have made many friends and found a few mentors. My partner George has always been very supportive and is perhaps slightly in awe of my ability to lift heavy equipment – this means I have to carry all the shopping! The best reaction is from my young son Luke who tells everyone at nursery that his mummy gets paid to drive tractors which is every small child's dream.
What would you like to achieve at Dundonald Links?
I wrote the club’s Environmental Management Plan and Vision and it’s my role and passion to oversee our approach to sustainable practices. The plan is a 5-year integrated document which covers the following topics; waste management, energy, nature & conservation, turf management and community. As per the plan, we have developed our social outreach by interacting at community level in various ways such as; providing schools with an area of land in our extensive out of bounds area accompanied by an on site classroom. This supports the school curriculum by promoting health and wellbeing, environment and life skills. We are also involved in the promotion of youth golf, local NGO's and committed to the long-term future of the sport.
The golf course and adjacent land supports a wide range of wildlife and as good custodians of land, we are committed to protection and enhancement of these areas. Of course, I would like to follow this plan through over the next five years.
What has been a highlight so far?
I was very fortunate to be invited to Brussels last year as a delegate for the European Golf Summit. The focus of this groundbreaking summit was on sustainability and this topic features highly in golf management. It was an interesting and educational experience.
Dundonald Links will host next year’s Ladies Scottish Open, what demands will this place on you?
Our sister course Loch Lomond Golf Club hosted the Scottish Open for many years and Dundonald has already hosted a number of professional and amateur events, so we have the skills and knowledge of set-up and expectations to be able to provide a good tournament venue.
Do you play golf?
I am not a golfer; however since enrolling my son Luke for lessons with one of our pros, I am seriously thinking about taking up the game! Luke has been thoroughly enjoying these lessons and I encourage anyone with children to consider golf. The sport provides an opportunity to enjoy green space, it’s social, promotes honesty, integrity and self-discipline, in essence skills which are transferrable in all aspects of life.