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John Reitman

By John Reitman

Robinson heads off the course for new opportunity

A pioneer in helping promote the role of women in turf for the past decade, Miranda Robinson is only getting started helping fellow superintendents as she embarks on the next phase of her career.

Robinson, who was in on the ground floor of the Women in Golf movement in 2012, has spent most of the past two decades as an assistant or head superintendent. On Jan. 1, she began a new job as operations manager for the British Columbia Superintendents Association.

011223miranda2.jpgMuch of her job will be focused on education and organizing events for superintendents of the 300 or so golf courses throughout the province. 

"The challenge is going to be learning a job that is not a hands-on physical job, like being a superintendent. Now, I've gone to the dark side," Robinson said. 

"I will be a facilitator for whatever the board wants to do."

Much of the programming she hopes to put into place also will be based on customer feedback.

"I'm looking forward to getting out into the province to see what superintendents want from the association," she said. "A lot of them question what they get out of (membership). Many of them believe associations are only for bigger clubs. I need to find out what they want from the association."

Pulling the trigger on a career change can be a stressful decision. A lot of questions swirl about. Is this the right job? Is this the right time?

Sometimes those questions go unanswered. In Robinson's case, a very loud voice told her that after two decades as an assistant and a head superintendent it was finally time to get off the golf course and into another line of work.

"My body told me," she  said. "My body was wearing out." 

A lifetime of competitive sports couple with green keeping took a toll on back, knees and hips.

"Once I start something, I can't reel in my athletic competitiveness, and I end up hurting myself," she said. 

Nearly 20 years spent in ditches on the golf course did not help either.

"I'm only 37, but I'm only 120 pounds, and I do the work of a 200-pound man," Robinson said. "My back just can't take it."

She had knee surgery at 16 and was in knee braces for the first time at age 12.

"I've torn an ACL, MCL and a meniscus," she said. "I can't even ride a bike."

None of that has dampened enthusiasm for her new job.

Robinson said the the Women in Golf movement that eventually was picked up by corporate vendors in golf like Bayer, Syngenta and Valent started 10 years ago when she and Leasha Schwab were in a foursome together in an association tournament in Ontario. The foursome of women was invited back year after year. The impact the group made eventually resulted in Schwab reaching out for corporate help to promote the profession to other women while also providing a networking opportunity for those women already working in the turf business.

While Robinson is focused on providing outreach and educational opportunities for turf managers throughout British Columbia, she will continue to promote the industry to other women.

Among her plans are workshops to help ensure women are skilled in use of equipment throughout the entire golf operation, an opportunity still not offered to all women in the business.

"You're in a position of authority," she said. "You need to know how to use everything."

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