The grounds crew of Real Club Valderrama, site of this eighth Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters, stands out for the experience accumulated in 28 DP World Tour events, including the 1997 Ryder Cup, and for a unique female quartet in the golf industry formed by Maria Dolores, Estefania, Maria, and Nancy.
As the four women of the team of almost 30 people led by Adolfo Ramos explained, they are in charge of “cutting fairways, fumigating, cutting some greens, drying the course with blowers, trimming the tee boxes, cleaning troughs, cutting hedges”, practically all the maintenance work of a golf course.
“Learning day by day everything to do in a course with this level of demand is already a lot,” said Estefania, from El Tesorillo (Cádiz), who switched nursing for gardening. “It’s a privilege to work outdoors on a golf course, although I don’t play it because I really hate losing.”
In 2007, she followed the example of Maria, with 25 years of experience, and Maria Dolores, the oldest of the group, who joined Valderrama in 1988 to “pull the weeds that men could not remove”, since it was a more delicate and detailed work.
“I enjoy what I do, the type of work, the camaraderie, being outdoors. It is great to see more women joining us and the fantastic relationships we have created,” said Maria Dolores, who has been working on the course for three years after three decades preparing food for the team.
Maria Dolores, Maria, and Estefania have embraced newcomer Nancy, originally from Ecuador, who joined the staff six months ago. “Here I do everything, I’m learning to cut fairways and prepare bunkers,” said Nancy, before explaining the methodical raking of the close to one hundred sand traps in Valderrama.
Adolfo Ramos, Valderrama’s Head Greenkeeper since 2010, after a period in the United States and the United Kingdom, does not know of any other grounds crew with four women. He still remembers when he started an internship in Valderrama two decades ago, and Maria Dolores and Maria taught him how to cut.
“At the end of the day, women are part of the team, neither better nor worse, they are just one more of us,” said Adolfo and seconded Kelly, an agronomist of Brazilian descent working at nearby Atalaya Golf Country Club. “I like to learn the process, the technique, it has been very interesting,” said Kelly, volunteering as the fifth woman on the team for this week.
And as they explain themselves, after several decades of experience, the women in the Real Club Valderrama grounds crew have gone through more competitions and “made more cuts” than many of the players in the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters.
Enjoying this DP World Tour event is easy and tickets are available at experiences.dpworldtour.com/edam or at Real Club Valderrama’s box office (credit or debit card payment required).
The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, an event in the DP World Tour’s Race to Dubai made possible by the essential contribution of the Real Club Valderrama, is sponsored by Estrella Damm and the Consejería de Turismo, Cultura y Deporte of the Junta de Andalucía, jointly funded by the EU and was declared Event of Exceptional Public Interest by the Government of Spain.