For as long as there have been sports in America, there have been questions about race and segregation — from who’s recruited to play on the team to who’s allowed to enter the club house. And very few sports have been more racially divided than golf.
But the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship has tried to change that. Realizing that the NCAA was not inviting athletes from historically black colleges and Hispanic- and Native American-serving institutions to compete in their regional golf tournaments, they created their own tournament to open the doors.
In recent years, however, there appear to be fewer and fewer minorities in the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship. For two out of the past three years, the Texas Pan-American men and Bethune-Cookman women have won the team competitions. Neither team has an African-American on its roster. In fact, half of Bethune-Cookman’s six golfers are white Europeans, hailing from countries like Austria and Denmark.
Earnie Ellison is the PGA director of business and community relations, and is himself a black golfer. Renee Powell was the second black female to play on the LPGA Tour. She’s also the head golf professional at the Clearview Golf Club, which her father founded, and which is the only golf course designed, built, owned and operated by an African-American.