Lauren Lasocha’s journey in the turf industry has taken her a long, long way. Over the course of a 13-year career she’s migrated from her hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia, to Australia, then back home to Vancouver, from there to Massachusetts, and finally to Los Angeles, where she is a senior agronomist at Bel-Air Country Club.When she spoke with Rick Woelfel for the Wonderful Women of Golf podcast, Lasocha mentioned that her travels had allowed her to enhance her knowledge base and broaden her professional horizons.
“It was very advantageous and helpful,” she says. “It almost prepares you in a way for something you’re not quite sure you’ll encounter where in fact, you’ll probably have five of the same situations — if not 10 different ones — that somehow you can relate to your prior experiences.
“(Learning) different styles, learning about different types of grass and the climates that they grow in. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I don’t think I could have guessed that I would be working in a warm climate with warm-season grasses.”
Growing up, Lasocha likely would have been surprised to learn she would be working in the turf industry at all. While she was involved in a variety of sports, golf wasn’t one of them. Her first job in the industry was at Capilano Golf and Country Club in West Vancouver. She was encouraged to apply for a position by her sister, who was working summers at the club in food and beverage. The experience sparked an interest in the industry and enhanced her desire for more.
“Fortunately, they had an intern program at the time, so I met a few students passing though completing their internships,” she says. “They spoke openly about what they were doing in school and how they were working during the summertime to complete that internship requirement.”
By the end of her first season at Capilano, Lasocha decided she wanted to “Go for it,” and pursue a career in turf. She wound up spending six seasons there and the experience served as a foundation for all she has done since.
“I had so much fun working on the golf course and learning so much about it,” she says. “If I were to go to school, what would that entail? And what do I need to learn? Just getting more familiar with equipment and the game of golf and understanding the championship level, what that entails. What goes into a tournament? What goes into a members’ event?”
Lasocha found herself energized by her daily interactions with co-workers. “For me it was being around our staff in the peak of summer,” she says. “You’re working in very hot conditions at times, depending on where you’re located, but you’re enjoying getting up in the early hours of the morning. You’re with a group of people that are likeminded and want to be there, and it was it fun.”
Encouraged by an intern she met at Capilano, Lasocha spent the fall and winter of 2011-12 in Australia, working at Royal Sydney. “I loved it,” she says. “I really enjoyed it. It just kind of opened my horizons in terms of maybe a career path and where in the world it can take you.”
Lasocha remained at Capilano through the 2014 season. She spent the next two years earning an associate diploma in turfgrass management at the University of Guelph (Ontario) and spent a summer at the Kittansett Club in Massachusetts before landing at Los Angeles Country Club in May 2016, where she spent three years in various capacities before moving on to Bel-Air.
“It was a wonderful experience,” Lasocha says of her time at LACC. “A lot of hard work, a lot of people that are very dedicated to championship-level conditioning. We had a staff that had seniority; people that had been there for 25 to 30 years as well as people like myself who were still kind of figuring out the golf course industry.”
During her time at LACC, Lasocha also had the opportunity to volunteer at several PGA Tour events, including the 2017 Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club, the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines and the 2019 Memorial at Muirfield Village Golf Club. She was also part of the corps of female turf professionals who volunteered at the Olympic Club for last year’s U.S. Women’s Open.