Updated: Sep 12, 2020
First Black Golfers Organization to Confront Longstanding Racial Gap in the Sport
September 2, 2020 - Orlando, FL- The current landscape of golf is built on exclusion. This hard truth, in conjunction with the current divisive climate in the US, calls for golf lovers to support those who have been wronged in the past, and achieve a bigger and brighter future for all who love the game. The time is now to combat this inequity with the largest and most intentional golf diversification effort in history.
The United Golfers Association (UGA) was founded in 1925 by and for Black golfers as a parallel institution to the all-white PGA of America (PGA), formed in 1916. Along with many other activities, UGA operated a national golf tour for professionals, amateurs, and intercollegiate golfers, and continued to host events well after the desegregation of PGA in 1961. After four decades of dormancy, the mission of UGA is to now revive that legacy by providing a state of the art developmental golf academy for aspiring golfers and professionals along with supporting over 100 local/regional programs to expand access for African American players.
Andy Walker, Director of the UGA Developmental Academy and Player Development stated “I’m excited and honored to be a part of UGA’s revival. Golf has been my life since I was 5 years old and now, I can contribute to changing the complexion of the game. The UGA Academy will provide every resource available to refine African-American youth into tour-caliber players.”
He continued, “Through this intensive process, the Academy will train the next leaders of the golf industry. We will create a qualified pool of professionals who will help grow the game. The time is now to tackle racial disparities in golf and equip our young players with the necessary tools to be the next stars of the game.”
In the last 60 years, the PGA Tour has only welcomed approximately 15 Black players. Since Tiger Woods earned his tour card in 1996, there was not another African American golfer on the tour until Joseph Bramlett in 2010. Unfortunately, the talent pool of Black Golfers is small. If they are not identified and cultivated, an entire generation of potential tour-ready golfers could be lost. They require an advocate like UGA to attain their goals of competing at the highest level.
Tarek DeLavallade, UGA Executive Director and brainchild of its resurgence, stated “When I did a deep dive into the history of UGA, I realized our culture depended on this organization when it was founded and through the 70’s – but needs it more than ever now. One of our largest concerns is that the PGA currently has over 29,000 current members however only around 130 are African American!”
He continued, “Once I understood the barriers for children in urban areas to discover the sport, for families to support aspiring youth to travel and compete, the lack of college programs that offer scholarships, and the lack of financial support Black players have in competing at the same level as their counterparts – I knew we had to do something. UGA understands that our efforts today can have a generational impact on current and future golfers. In reverence to our founders, it is our duty to fulfill that charge.”
Founded in 1925, The United Golfers Association (UGA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the introduction, development, and advancement of African American youth to the sport of golf. The UGA Developmental Golf Academy will provide players with the resources and direction to cultivate their passion for the sport as competitors and professionals in the industry. The Academy is designed to prepare golfers mentally and physically to compete as future tour players and professionals around the world. To learn more, visit www.unitedgolfersassociation.org.