Segregation in Golf

In 1896, Black-American John Shippen became the first of his race to play in the United States Open. Although he was doing relatively well during his first two days, his luck did not hold as the game progressed. One of the worst incidents of his game was when he took 11 strokes to complete his 13th hole (Grant, 2010). But his entry into the US Open marked a historic day for African-Americans in golf. His feat was soon followed by George Grant who received the first patent for his golf tee. however, since Grant never marketed his invention, he was never largely credited for its invention. Twenty years later, a white golfer who patented a tee and later marketed it was the one who was credited with the invention (Grant, 2010). African-Americans made their mark and foray into the United States Golf Association when in 1925, George Adams became one of its founding members. Such foray slowly gained strength when in 1926, Robert Hawkins’ dream of gathering black golfers into an organization was partly realized with the staging of the first tournament in 1926, followed by another in 1927 (Grant, 2010). And following this success, he organized the United Golf Associations, Inc. (UGA) in 1928 and through such association, a national tournament was conducted every year in order to determine the best male and female golfer in the country (Grant, 2010). The UGA further grew as an organization and as a tournament for both the blacks and whites when its President A.D.V. Crosby established several districts in order to promote golf among blacks in different areas of the country (Grant, 2010). In 1935, women started to make their mark in the golfing sport when Rhonda Fowler became the Women’s Eastern Champion in the UGA tournament (Grant, 2010). This achievement was soon followed in 1950 by Ann Gregory’s achievement in winning the National UGA Tournament and by winning six of the seven championships she entered. She followed this achievement when in 1956, she became the first African-American to enter the US Amateur Championship in Indianapolis, Indiana (Grant, 2010). More black women would make their mark in the golfing sport in the years that followed, but their impact has not been as significant as that achieved by their women predecessors.