getty images: Ginger Howard
For the first time in its sixty-six year history, the LPGA has four black women on tour. There hasn’t been this much black golf history since 1964 when Althea Gibson became the first Black woman to play on the LPGA Tour. Yet, no one said a word about it.
There are several factors that contribute to why we don’t see more Black golfers, male or female, playing on the LPGA and PGA Tours. The culture of the sport contributes a great deal, but the other primary factors include cost, access, and awareness.
Golf is not a sport that Black families have traditionally supported with their dollars. Little league basketball and football teams are usually the go-to for Black families. Although an athlete can play golf for lifetime, it is not a sport we have embraced – but it hasn’t really embraced us either. The industry as a whole holds on to the fact that golf is meritorious. If you can play, the opportunities are there. That’s only half-true. A young golfer doesn’t have to spend his lunch money or bus fare to practice basketball, or football. To get to the elite levels of this game, it is tremendously expensive. The cost of equipment, coaches, range time, rounds, tournament entry fees, lodging and travel can eat into a family’s budget. Without sponsor dollars, it is difficult for golfers to continue at the professional level. THAT is what makes having four Black women playing professionally so momentous for the game.
getty image: Mariah Stackhouse
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