Scottsdale, Ariz., native Maddie Storm knew very little about golf before taking a job driving a beverage cart at a course in her hometown during college. That changed her path in life and she hasn’t looked back since. Now 30 years old, she has been superintendent at Terravita Golf & Country Club in Scottsdale since 2019, a position very few women in the golf industry have traditionally held.
How did you get into the golf business?
I’ve always loved science, the outdoors, and nature, but I was actually an art major in college. I took a job driving a beverage cart at a course in Scottsdale and eventually met the superintendent there. I realized then that I could pursue those passions in science and the outdoors and make it a career. I dropped out of art school and enrolled into Penn State University’s Turfgrass program. In 2015, I became the assistant superintendent at Desert Forest Golf Club in Carefree, Ariz. while earning my Turf degree. Then I moved to Terravita four years ago this July.
What’s it like being a female working in golf course agronomy, traditionally an extremely male-dominated field?
I’ve never really seen myself as being different from any of my male peers. Even going back to grade school, on the playground I always found myself playing with the boys, and I’ve carried that through to my professional life. It’s just the way I was raised, and my DNA make-up has made me feel like there wasn’t anything I couldn’t accomplish just because I am a woman. I’ve always said the term “male-dominated industry” is kind of irrelevant if you believe you can do just about anything that you put your mind to. My personality has always just been like, “Ok, I’ll prove you wrong and show you that I’m good.”
Are you seeing more women in your field and golf in general?
Definitely. At Terravita we actually have seven women now working in the maintenance department. I think some people have maybe thought that I have gone out of my way to recruit women, but it just so happened to be that way. So we’re down here kicking butt, and it’s a really cool thing to see evolve. I’ve been working on the agronomy side of things since 2012, and at one point you would go to 10 maintenance facilities at courses here in the Valley and see no women. Now I think that’s definitely starting to change.
What does Women’s Golf Month mean to you?
I think it’s cool. I have two daughters and I would love for them to be able to grow up with the same kind of mentality that I had that we can do this. Having that representation of Women’s Golf Month to highlight the fact that we can do anything that we want to is a great thing. We don’t just have to be teachers, nurses, or secretaries. There is nothing holding us back.
What advice do you give to girls or women who are interested in working in your field or the golf industry?
I think the biggest thing when you’re a woman, especially if like me you start out pretty young and now have a role like mine, is that there can be a lot of questions about: Will she be able to stand up to the men on her staff or to the membership at the club. Is she going to be able to handle that? Those questions will come probably more to women than to men. I think the main things are to stay grounded, keep your vision forward, and not to let any of that bother you as you are going forward in your career.