Helping motivated Greenkeepers and Turfgrass manager to develop themselves and live their dream is in our genes.
Over the years we have developed close relationship with Mike O’Keeffe and the OSU program as well as work placement at international venues supplemented with formal education.
Some months ago, we met Zineb Alouani in Morocco, Zineb expressed her desired to continue learning and gaining more experience in the turfgrass management. After introducing Zineb to the OSU program and after some successful interviews, Zineb was offered a position.
We have asked Zineb to tell us more about her, who she is, what is her background and also to tell her about the first few months working in the USA.
I am from Morocco Country, North of Africa. I was born in an agricultural family environment so the choice of my university was not a coincidence; I had the conviction and the faith in myself that I would be absolutely admitted taking a course in the field of Agronomy.
After graduation, I started working in 36 Holes Golf Course in Morocco as an Agronomic Engineer in Landscape Architecture and Greenkeeping, and this was the beginning of my career in Greenkeeping and Turfgrass Management on Golf Courses.
People always asked me how I ended up working in greenkeeping, and it wasn’t easy for me in the beginning to explain to people that is my passion and that’s what I really want.
In Morocco, all the Superintendents and Greenkeepers are men, so, being a Moroccan Woman Greenkeeper is unheard-of for them.
However, I was not ready for what to expect. Certainly, I was aware that it is a men’s job, and that I would have to face a team work with a high number of men, and I said to myself that won’t be a problem for me since I want it passionately.
But, as a woman, the reality wasn’t as simple as I thought, working with a team of 50 male gardeners on a 36 holes course was not as easy as I thought it was. In addition, being a young woman freshly graduated, I had to prove myself to gain the respect and consideration of all the staff. Speaking fluently French and English has helped me taking on responsibilities with intermediary role between the management and the staff.
During those years working in Morocco,I had the opportunity to work closely and learn from some renowned turfgrass expert such as Sylvain Duval, Simon Doyle, Patrick Fray and Didier Comte, just to name a few.
The American Dream
Before meeting with Sylvain Duval, I had no idea about the Ohio State University program for turf managers. After finding out what the program was about, I realized it was exactly what I needed to continue developing myself and gain practical experience.
Being a part of this program is giving me the opportunity to learn as much as I possibly can, learn new skills and give me the foundations needed as I work towards my goal of becoming the First Women Golf Course Superintendent in Morocco. I also see it as a great life experience, working with people from different cultures and backgrounds.
Mowing tees at Hyde Park Golf & Country Club
After going through weeks of paperwork, including an interview at the American ambassy in Morocco, I finally had everything needed to travel to America to start living my dream.
I flew to Washington first, then to Cincinnati on 1st may, 2021 and was welcomed by Golf Course Superintendent Pat O’Brien and his wife at the airport. I could not hope for a better start coming all over from Morocco and for my first time in United States of America.