The Young Ambassadors collectively aim to be ‘Inclusive, Innovative, and Inspiring’.
It’s important to appreciate the diversity in our sport throughout the year but Black History month gives us a chance to reflect on how inclusive golf really is, how far it has come, but also how far we have to go.
In this article, there will be a focus on individuals and organisations who have helped to transform the landscape of diversity as well as suggestions around how you can make sure everyone is welcome.
As of 2022, there were only four male black players on tour and only three black female tour pros. So why is there a distinct lack of diversity within the professional game?
It all starts at an amateur level. If no black players pick up the game, then there’s no chance of getting to the professional level, where vitally, they become role models for others. Golf is made to be a sport for all – by use of the handicap system – and yet harmful and untrue stereotypes discourage talented individuals from enjoying the sport that we all know and love.
In 1952, the PGA approved the participation of black golfers. The push for inclusion into a sport dominated by white players started after pressure from former boxing champion Joe Louis, a talented amateur golfer.
At the San Diego Open on January 17, 1952, Louis competed in the PGA sanctioned event as an invited amateur. But professional Bill Spiller, another black golfer, was denied entry in this tournament. Spiller is now considered to be the man who was the force to end segregation on the PGA Tour.
Spotlight: Tiger Woods
Considered the most famous golfer in the world, he inspires millions but also poses as a black role model for golfers worldwide. Thanks to Tiger, many have picked up the game who never would have considered it because of the dangerous stereotypes that present golf as a sport for white men. Notably, he has regularly spoken out about the racist treatment he had to endure as a junior and showed that it was possible to overcome these adversities.
Black British Golfers:
The Black British Golfers are an organisation that aim to encourage golf in the black community and strike conversation about diversifying sport. They hold events that raise awareness, have very active social media accounts, and follow the moto ‘See it. Believe it. Be it.’ Young Ambassadors Kai and Kennedy attend some of their events and help to promote the great work they do.
Follow them on Instagram: @blackbritishgolfers
What can you do?:
We are all needed to initiate change. You can help by:
– Challenging unfair rules, discriminatory behaviour and exclusive culture at your club
– Speaking out against racism
– Encourage people you know to have a go at playing
– Supporting England Golf’s ‘Respect in Golf’ movement www.englandgolf.org/respect-in-golf
We hope that in the future we will get to a point where a dedicated month isn’t needed. Black history should be considered and celebrated every day of the year and ultimately, ethnicity should never be an issue.
To discover more about what we’ve been up to, find the England Golf and Golf Foundation Young Ambassadors on Instagram and Twitter @golfambassadors