Minority Golf and Higher Education: A Few Historical Links
-The golf tee was invented by an African-American, Dr. George Grant, and patented in 1899. Grant graduated second in his class from Harvard’s Dental school in 1870.*
-John Matthew Shippen was the first Black golfer to play in the U.S. Open in 1896 in Shinnecock Hills, N.Y.
-LaRee Pearl Sugg, now assistant athletic director and head golf coach at the University of Richmond, sank the winning 25-foot putt for the UCLA national championship team in 1991, becoming the first Black woman to play on a NCAA national championship golf team. She was introduced and mentored in the game by her grandfather, Dr. James Nelson, a professor at Virginia State University.
-William “Bill” Spiller, a graduate of historically Black Wiley College in Texas, led a legal and political challenge against the PGA to end its “Caucasian-only clause.” The clause was struck down in 1961.
-Renee Powell, head golf pro at her family-owned and operated Clearview Golf Course in Ohio, was captain of The Ohio State University’s women’s golf team in 1966, becoming the first Black golf team captain at a traditionally White institution.
-In 1916 nine-hole courses were opened at both the Tuskegee Institute and Wilberforce College. In 1938, the Black College Intercollegiate Tournament was held at the Tuskegee course.
-Tiger Woods was named as Stanford’s outstanding scholar-athlete during his second year at the institution. He and fellow professional golfer Notah Begay, the only American Indian on the PGA tour, both played collegiately at Stanford.
*Source: Forbidden Fareways by Calvin Sinette
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