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9D AGO

From FEMA to TPC: How TPC San Antonio’s Meadows overcame hardships to help others in industry

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    Written by Lindsey Spatola

    Andi Meadows’ story is one filled with trials and challenges, but she has met them all with determination and perseverance. A journey that included sleeping in a FEMA trailer after Hurricane Katrina eventually led to TPC San Antonio, where she is now a second assistant superintendent.

    This week at the Valero Texas Open, Meadows and the TPC San Antonio team will welcome 10 tournament volunteers from the Women in Turf organization to help during the event, marking the first time a volunteer team from Women in Turf will assist at a PGA TOUR event.

    “It’s a really great opportunity for these women to get more experience in the business, and for the younger generation to get connected with the more experienced women in the industry,” Meadows said.


    TPC San Antonio Superintendent finds her purpose


    Born and raised in Mississippi, Meadows entered the golf industry in 2005 following the aftermath and devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Like so many others, she was left without a home, living in a FEMA trailer and struggling to find work. Then in her early 20s, she was lucky enough to land a golf course maintenance job through a family friend.

    The job provided her with security and a consistent paycheck, but quickly grew into a passion for the sport. Although she still had the same struggles and wondered where her next meal would come from, the opportunity lit a fire in her and made her want more.

    Andi Meadows, the second assistant superintendent at TPC San Antonio, ahead of the Valero Texas Open (L) and with her three daughters (R). (Photo credits Andi Meadows)

    Andi Meadows, the second assistant superintendent at TPC San Antonio, ahead of the Valero Texas Open (L) and with her three daughters (R). (Photo credits Andi Meadows)

    “I found so much more than a paycheck,” Meadows said.

    She enrolled in community college, earning an associate degree in horticulture while working at several different courses. As she started a family, Meadows took a step back from the industry and began working toward a bachelor’s degree in turfgrass science through Penn State’s World Campus program, all while bouncing from base to base as a military family.

    In 2021, Meadows and her three young daughters came back to the United States from Germany with no car, no house and no job. What she did have, however, was the determination and perseverance that had carried her this far.

    Meadows saw an ad online for a job at TPC San Antonio, and soon she and her daughters were on their way to Texas. The Mississippi native started as an assistant in training and has now worked her way up to second assistant superintendent at TPC San Antonio, working on the Pete Dye-designed Canyons Course.

    Along with her responsibilities at TPC San Antonio and at home, Meadows is still striving for more. She graduated with her two-year certificate from Penn State in December and will begin working toward her bachelor’s degree in turfgrass science in the summer. She also participated in the Women’s Leadership Academy with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) and is working toward her GCSAA assistant superintendent certification.

    During her time in Texas, Meadows has also become involved with the Women in Turf, an organization that advances opportunities for women in the turfgrass industry. She is not naïve to the fact that she is in a male-dominated field, so to have a community and support of women to bounce ideas off and connect with is invaluable to Meadows.

    It was through Women in Turf that Meadows received the opportunity to attend the 2023 U.S. Women’s Open Championship last summer at Pebble Beach.

    Meadows will get to return the favor this week at the Valero Texas Open, as she and the TPC San Antonio staff welcome the Women in Turf volunteers. With the support of Jim Abate, the PGA TOUR’s TPC agronomy director, Meadows reached out to different women she had met through GSCAA and at last year’s U.S. Women’s Open to see who would be interested in making their way to Texas.

    Ten volunteers will work alongside the TPC San Antonio and TOUR staff this week, doing everything from mowing greens to raking bunkers, and being involved in every step of the process.

    “I just feel really grateful to be able to give back and to put that gratefulness into action,” Meadows said. “The young women who are involved in this will be able to create relationships that will help guide them in their path in this industry.”

    Throughout this whole journey, Meadows just wants to be a strong example to her three daughters. She hopes they see the determination and perseverance that she has had and it will show them to work hard, not worrying about the results.

    “I want to show them that they can push barriers and to not let anyone say you can’t do something,” she said.

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