Tag: Golf

Craig Kirby’s “Golf. My Future. My Game” Foundation Works to Teach Game to Youth and Diversify Industry

Image: Craig Kirby, back right, with participants in "Golf. My Future. My Game."
Craig Kirby, back right, with participants in “Golf. My Future. My Game.” (Photo: Courtesy Craig Kirby)

by Michael Cottman via nbcnews.com

Craig Kirby, founder of “Golf. My Future. My Game,” is on a crusade to introduce more black teens to the game of golf.

Kirby started the non-profit golf foundation in Washington, D.C., in 2014. He’s been working to expose the predominantly white sport to young kids who may not think the game is accessible or possible as a career option. Roughly 80 percent of recreational American golfers are white, according to the 2015 Golf Diversity & Inclusion Report. Within golf-industry workers, that percentage jumps to nearly 90 percent.

Kirby, 55, said he knew nothing about golf until he was invited to play by three white classmates in college. He hasn’t looked back since. “We teach them the game of golf, the business of golf — from soup to nuts,” Kirby told NBC News of his foundation work. “They learn everything — from the pro shop to the cart shop to the back office. It’s a complete golf experience. If kids don’t want to play golf professionally, there are plenty of great jobs within the industry.”

Kirby, a former Democratic political strategist, said he handles everything from fundraising meetings to arranging local transportation for the program’s participants. He tries to open professional doors on the golf course and behind the scenes, making connections with golf-club owners, caddies and even golf-wear designers. He also emphasizes the availability of college golf scholarships.

Since the foundation’s inception, Kirby said about 300 kids from all types of socio-economic backgrounds have participated in the various programs, clinics and internships. Kirby’s mission comes as several prominent golf industry leaders acknowledge racism as a persistent problem in the sport.

“There are real diversity issues in golf and there is a real history of exclusion and racism,”said Jay Karen, CEO of The National Golf Course Owners Association, which represents more than 3,400 courses. “We need to reconcile this history, but we also need to do better. We need to welcome and invite people who have not traditionally been part of the golf industry.”

One of Kirby’s most steadfast supporters is World Golf Foundation CEO Steve Mona. Mona said he tries to give Kirby a national platform to grow his program and introduces him to some of golf’s most prominent leaders. “We want to make sure golf reflects the diversity of our country and, ultimately, it’s good for the game,” Mona told NBC News.

In April, a Pennsylvania golf club owner called the police on five black women golfers, claiming they were playing too slowly. Last week, the women filed formal complaints against the club alleging they were discriminated against due to their race and gender.

The women did receive an apology, but the incident made national headlines and led the club to lose some business. “It’s not a golf issue, it’s a human issue,” Karen said. “It’s a shame the police were called to resolve a conflict that could have been handled through a conversation, talking to each other as human beings. These kinds of conflicts should not happen on golf courses and they shouldn’t happen at Starbucks.”

Only two black golfers have earned their PGA cards since Tiger Woods began his career in 1996. No African-American woman has ever won an LPGA title. Among America’s 15,000 private golf courses, only about a handful are black-owned, Kirby said. Kirby takes his students to one of them: The Marlton Golf Club in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

“We take our kids to golf courses and give them a whole new experience,” Kirby said. “They get lessons, guidance and advice from experts in the golf industry who look like them. I don’t want black kids to say they can’t play when get they get invited to play.”

To read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/foundation-aims-steer-black-kids-golf-course-n884011

Tiger Woods Wins Players Championship

Tiger Woods of the USA holds the winner's trophy after the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 12, 2013 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods of the USA holds the winner’s trophy after the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 12, 2013 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida (AP) — Tiger Woods had the last word against Sergio Garcia by winning The Players Championship on Sunday.  Woods ended a weekend of verbal sparring with Garcia by doing what he does best — closing out tournaments, even if he let this one turn into a tense duel over the final hour at the TPC Sawgrass. Tied with Garcia with two holes to play, Woods won by finding land on the last two holes for par to close with a 2-under 70.

Garcia was standing on the 17th tee shot, staring across the water to an island as Woods made his par. He took aim at the flag with his wedge and hung his head when he saw the ball splash down short of the green. Then, Garcia hit another one in the water on his way to a quadruple-bogey 7. He completed his stunning collapse by hitting his tee shot into the water on the 18th and making double bogey.

Woods was in the scoring trailer when he watched on TV as Swedish rookie David Lingmerth missed a long birdie putt that would have forced a playoff. It raced by the cup, and Lingmerth three-putted for bogey.

“How about that?” Woods said to his caddie, Joe LaCava as he gave him a hug.  Woods won The Players for the first time since 2001 and joined Fred Couples, Davis Love III and Steve Elkington as the only two-time winners at the TPC Sawgrass. It was his 78th career win on the PGA Tour, four short of the record held by Sam Snead.

Continue reading “Tiger Woods Wins Players Championship”

Ginger Howard: Youngest Black Female Golfer to Turn Pro

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Even before you notice the smooth, powerful swing that has helped propel her to the brink of stardom at only 17, you see something else that defines Ginger Howard and her precocious golf game…the smile. It lights up her face, as she talks about her life and dreams.

Ginger has become a member of the LPGA at the right age of 17, the youngest ever.  There’s a good chance you haven’t heard much if anything about Howard yet, but all that could change very soon. If things go they way they’ve been heading, we may soon become well-acquainted with the million-dollar smile and formidable style that has been lighting up the ranks.

And the story could ultimately entwine a Williams Sisters tennis twist, because waiting in the wings is 16-year-old sister Robbi, a prodigy in her own right.

Ginger follows other notable black golfers such as, tennis great Althea Gibson was the first black female to play on tour. Gibson broke through in 1963 and played in 171 tournaments until 1971. From 1967-80, Renee Powell also held an LPGA Tour card. More recently, LaRee Pearl Sugg played full-time in 1995, ’96, 2000 and ’01. Also, Andia Winslow missed the cut in her one event in 2006. (NFL Hall of Famer, Kellen Winslow, Sr., is her uncle.)

article via naturallymoi.com

Mariah Stackhouse named American Junior Golf Association Player Representative!

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Stackhouse, 16, a high school junior, has been playing in AJGA tournaments for the past four years and built a notable resume over that time by collecting 12 top-10 finishes. Because of her example on and off the course, Stackhouse has been chosen as the first African-American in this position. Already a role model from her playing career, she will now be given the opportunity to step into an even greater leadership position. “It is something that represents my entire body of work,” Stackhouse said. “It lets other people see that I’ve worked very hard to get to this point, yet I was still humble about it and it’s nice to be recognized. I always looked up to the player representatives and thought it would be really cool. When Mr. Hamblin called and asked me, I considered it such a blessing.”

Read more: http://www.worldgolf.com/newswire/browse/65200-Mariah-Stackhouse-Trey-Kaahanu…