11 Jul 2024 | Industry news | Women and girls | Clubs and Facilities |

Zara finds her perfect career on the course

by Contributor

Zara Shanks

Zara Shanks has found her dream career on the fairways and greens of one of Australia's most prestigious golf courses.

The TAFE NSW sports turf management apprentice is achieving career success only 18 months into her studies, earning a promotion to a section leader position on the greenkeeping staff at NSW Golf Club in La Perouse in Sydney.

A second year Certificate III Sports Turf Management apprentice, Zara's entry into the sports turf management industry came after a change in career direction.

“I grew up on our family farm in Dubbo and I always wanted to have a career where I could work outdoors,” she said.

“To follow this dream, I initially started a horticulture apprenticeship at TAFE NSW, but during COVID I had to withdraw and return to our family farm. It was then, when I was deciding what else to do, that I contacted the NSW Golf Club and did two weeks’ work experience as a greenskeeper.

“I absolutely loved it and knew instantly I wanted to follow this career path. I started an apprenticeship at the club and enrolled in TAFE NSW’s Certificate III in Sports Turf Management so I could become qualified and further develop the skills I was starting to use on the job.

“The NSW Golf Club is rated as one of the top 100 courses in the world, so I’m really proud to work there and to have just been promoted into a leadership position.”

Only 2% of greenkeepers are women, but Zara hopes more will join the industry.

“Studying at TAFE NSW built my knowledge and practical skills, which gave me more confidence to succeed in the job I love,” she said.

“Working as a greenskeeper brings with it a great lifestyle where you can be outdoors and using the skills you’ve developed to help create a memorable and high-quality experience for our club members.

“As one of the few women in the industry, I’ve been well supported throughout my career. While there can be challenges, I encourage any other women interested in a sports turf management career to give it a go and enrol in the TAFE NSW course.”

TAFE NSW Sports Turf Management Head Teacher, Ian Clarke, said the course provides students with the practical skills they need to succeed in a competitive industry.

“TAFE NSW has a proud history of supplying a pipeline of workers into the sports turf management industry,” Mr Clarke said.

“It’s pleasing to see Zara succeeding in the industry, and it highlights how this career path is for anyone, men and women alike.”

“Through the Certificate III in Sports Turf Management, we ensure our students are equipped with the real-world experience and knowledge they need to get the job they want - whether that be at a local golf course or at elite courses like the NSW Golf Club.”

NSW Golf Club

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