Author: BlackGirlsGolf

Behind The Scenes at PGA TOUR Championship

Follow Black Girls Golf Founder as she explores the golf, the sites, and more at the PGA TOUR Championship

Before I started playing golf, I had never attended a golf tournament of any kind. This year, I am attending the PGA TOUR Championship. It will be my first PGA tournament as a media professional. Instead of reporting about the golfers, scores, and the like I thought it would be more interesting to share my experience behind the scenes exploring all the event has to offer from the activities, the food and the community benefit.

If you want to know more about watching a professional tournament, download our Girls Guide to Watching Golf. 

OFFICIAL MEDIA

I picked up my media credential this morning and to my surprise I had a seat with the other, well established golf media and bona fide journalists. Although I was excited, I was a little nervous as well. The media center is a central hub for what you read and see, equipped with wi-fi, stats, facts, and other resources including food. 😀

Screen keeps track of golfers with pairings, tee times, hole number, and up to date scores.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE

The first thing I recognized is the PGA TOUR Championship is not just a golf tournament – it’s a community event. Since 2005, The East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, GA has been the home of the TOUR Championship which has raised millions of dollars for The East Lake Foundation and the First Tee of East Lake.

The East Lake Foundation was created in 1995 with the support of Tom and Ann Cousins to create a neighborhood where families could thrive. The 2016 TOUR Championship raised $2.4 million to support the mission of the East Lake Foundation. Click here for more information about The East Lake Foundation.

Today, I saw groups of children from The First Tee of Atlanta and the First Tee of East Lake, all of whom benefit from the money raised by the PGA TOUR Championship. The children represent their community by participating in several clinics and other events throughout the week. Thursday, Sarai Dobbs, a member of The First Tee of East Lake, will hit the ceremonial tee shot and I’ll be right there to see it.

THINGS TO DO

Attending events like the PGA TOUR Championship, which are tied to community organizations, is a way for you to give back to your own community. Don’t worry, if you’re not a die hard golf fan there is plenty to do besides watch golf.

Verizon Putting Experience

The Verizon Putting Experience, supported by PGA TOUR Superstore is a custom, 3-hole course on East Lake Golf Club where fans have a chance to play too. The TOUR Championship in partnership with Verizon, the PGA TOUR Superstore, the Georgia State Golf Association and East Lake Golf Club are proud to allow a limited number of spectators each day to enjoy a putting experience on the practice green located within the SO Cool Zone.

At the TOUR Championship, spectators can challenge themselves on an actual East Lake green running at championship speed. A limited number of guests each day can meet with a PGA TOUR Superstore Certified Expert to select their equipment before being escorted through the putting experience by GSGA team members.

Please see schedule below:

Putting Experience is open to spectators each day with equipment provided by the PGA TOUR Superstore

Schedule:

Thursday – Sunday:

1 – 4:30 p.m.

The Georgia Aquarium Experience

A unique partnership between the Georgia Aquarium and the TOUR Championship gives fans the opportunity to see and interact with some of the animals that can be found within the Southern Company River Scout Exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium. Animals expected to make an appearance include the baby alligators, box turtles and more.

To follow my first media experience at the Tour Championship, follow me on Twitter @blackgirlsgolf

Let Us Play – Separate But Equal

Separate but equal, black girls golf, atlanta golf, black history monthOne of the first challenges to “Separate But Equal” doctrine happened on a golf course

It has been 62 years since Separate But Equal was challenged by a group of African American golfers in Atlanta. The City was no stranger to wealthy African Americans, including the Holmes family. Aflred “Tup” Holmes was the outspoken son of a prominent Atlanta physician. Tup was an avid golfer who was accustomed to playing a black-owned, 9-hole course on the “black” side of town. When Tup; his father Dr. H.M. Holmes, brother Oliver W. Holmes; and friend, Charles T. Bell tried to play the public Bobby Jones Course, they were told “niggers” weren’t allowed unless they were caddying. The threesome was escorted off the premises. Public parks in the Jim Crow South were not desegregated. This included public golf courses. Inclusion in golf was not on any golfer’s agenda at that time.

In 1951 the foursome formed The Atlanta Golf Committee with the purpose of desegregating public golf courses in Atlanta. The group grew to more than 300 members. The group was also represented by attorneys R.E. Thomas, E.E. Moore, Jr., and S.S. Robinson. The attorneys attempted to negotiate with the city but The City of Atlanta was unwilling to negotiate.

Alfred Holmes, Dr. H.M. Holmes, Oliver W. Holmes (Photo credit gatech.edu)

In 1953, two years after the incident at Bobby Jones Golf Club, Tup decided to sue the City of Atlanta. In the suit, Holmes vs. Atlanta, Tup sought to desegregate public parks and golf courses and failed. Unsatisfied with the lower court’s decision, Tup appealed the decision in the appellate court in New Orleans. The NAACP supported the legal action by sending a young, up and coming attorney, Thurgood Marshall, to lead the charge. The case went before the U.S District Court in 1955 where the court ruled in favor of the golfers citing that forbidding African American golfers from playing on public courses was discrimination. However, the Court also upheld the “separate but equal” doctrine arguing that it was not in conflict with the Fourteenth Amendment, as decided in Brown v. Board of Education just two months prior on May 17, 1954. The Court ruled that City of Atlanta must construct a municipal golf course that would allow African Americans to play on a “separate but equal” course.

Eventually, the case would be heard before the U.S. Supreme court.On November 7, 1955, the US Supreme Court ruled against the city of Atlanta, asserting the lower Court of Appeals and the US District Court erred in upholding the Plessy v. Ferguson “separate but equal” doctrine. The Supreme Court entered a decree for the petitioners in line with its rulings on desegregation, including a case filed by African Americans in Baltimore seeking the integration of public beaches (Dawson v. Baltimore, 1955).

Georgia Gov. Marvin Griffin was upset by the court’s ruling and fanned racial fires by declaring, “Co-mingling of the races in Georgia state parks and recreation areas will not be tolerated.” In support of his governor, Atlanta mayor William B. Hartsfield, encouraged the city to sell its courses to private individuals, who could then declare them open to private membership only. However, Atlanta’s public courses were officially desegregated without incident. Although it was legal for Tup to play at Bobby Jones, he opted not to.

Tup succumbed to cancer in December of 1967. In 1983, Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young renamed Adams Park Golf Course the Alfred E (Tup) Holmes Memorial GC. In 1986, it was leased to the American Golf Management Company.

The larger battles in golf have been fought and won. Now, we must continue to push for equal access to opportunities and representation at every level of the game.

Golf isn’t white enough. . .

. . . said no one ever, especially during Black History Month.

Black History Golf, Black Girls Golf, Black woman golfers, Black History MonthMonth is in full swing; another year spent counting how many firsts we have in the industry that has been slow to evolve and truly reflect the society in which we live. How many professional African American female golfers can you name off the top of your head? I can do it without using both hands and this month I’ve told you about a few who haven’t made it to the history books yet. Perhaps we’ll hear more about them in future Black History Month Celebrations.

I mean how many times am I supposed to tell you Althea Gibson was the first African American woman to play on the LPGA Tour. How many times must I say, her experience wasn’t pleasant. She even had to change in her car on several occasions as she wasn’t allowed in the locker room at many private clubs.

Maybe you’re expecting me to tell you again that in the 67 year history of the LPGA there have only been 8 African American women who have ever played on the LPGA Tour. There aren’t any racial barriers to the game today, however, the residue of our country’s past leaves a stain on the game that has been difficult to erase. 

I could go on and on, about the sacrifices and human indignities African American golfers endured to play golf professionally in this country. Their desire and passion for the game created a legacy for us to celebrate and continue. For that, I am forever grateful. My desire to pay homage to their sacrifices is the motivation  that drives the work we do at Black Girls Golf to highlight and celebrate African American golfers and introduce African American women and girls to the golf

Celebrating African American contributions to golf is something we do everyday at Black Girls Golf. We don’t reserve our excitement for one month out of the year. However, we will spend the next few weeks on Instagram celebrating the future of the game by highlighting a few golfers you may have never heard of.

Perhaps, after hearing about these stories, you will be encouraged to share Black Girls Golf with a young person in your sphere of influence. After all, many golfers only got into the game because someone they love introduced them to it.

 

Junior Golf Internship Deadline Approaching

Indiana golf, golf internship, junior golfIndiana Junior Golf Program is seeking to fill 6 golf internships for the Indiana Junior Golf Tour

The Indiana Junior Golf Program is looking for motivated, capable and mature applicants to serve as Junior Tour Coordinators. Interns will travel extensively throughout the State of Indiana conducting Indiana Junior Golf Program tournaments, including Tour and Championship events.

Please share this opportunity with your network. Click here for details