By Genoa Barrow,
Phrase in Black

Rest and recognition are the names of the sport for a bunch of native ladies who golf collectively and acknowledge those that tore down doorways for them to take action.

The SacTown Woman Golfers just lately paid tribute to Dr. Charlie Sifford, the primary Black participant on the PGA Tour. Members joined forces with one other group, the Sacramento Space Black Golf Membership, to host a “Simply Let Me Play” event at Wildhawk Golf Course honoring the late Dr. Sifford, who would have been 100 on June 2. They acknowledged him for his achievements in golf and his efforts to desegregate public leisure amenities.

“It was a Caucasian sport and African People weren’t accepted into the game aside from to be caddies,” stated SacTown Woman Golfers member Persis Ingram.

“That was the way in which that African People, males particularly, started to be taught the sport. Charlie Sifford was a dynamite participant, however he wasn’t accepted, after all, till 1961 after they determined to permit him a PGA Tour card,” Ingram continued.

Ingram realized of Dr. Sifford by means of following a youthful trailblazer, Tiger Woods. She realized of Woods and his rise within the sport upon taking her son to classes.

“As soon as I realized about Tiger Woods and did slightly background historical past on him, I realized that he accepted Charlie Sifford because the ‘grandpa he by no means had,’” she stated.

SacTown Woman Golfers founder Ursula Whitfield additionally factors out that Woods named his son after Dr. Sifford. Charlie Woods, 13, took after each males and is a star on the junior golf scene.

Being an educator, Ingram delved into studying extra about Dr. Sifford and others who additionally paved the way in which for future generations.

Dr. Sifford wished to play golf at an area course in his hometown of Charlotte, N.C. He was chased off and threatened as a result of Blacks weren’t allowed on the inexperienced again then. That very same park was named for Dr. Sifford in 2011.

Taking part in a White-dominated sport, Dr. Sifford consistently was known as the n-word and actually handled like feces, which generally was positioned in holes alongside a course so he’d give you soiled palms in retrieving his golf balls.

“I attempt to not get emotional, however generally I do once I take into consideration the atrocities they suffered,” Ingram stated.

It’s crucial, she stated, to recollect pioneers and what they went by means of in overcoming limitations.

The face of golf is altering for the higher

Ingram likes the range she now sees in golf.

“There are a bunch of us on the market now,” she stated. “Not a lot by means of commercial, however the phrase, ‘Each attain one.’”

The way forward for Black golf appears shiny, Whitfield agreed.

“Numerous excessive colleges do have golf packages. We simply must get our youngsters concerned with them. As a matter of truth, one in every of our girls who performs with the SacTown Woman Golfers, her identify is Patricia Stewart. She truly coaches over at Inderkum Excessive College. That’s one factor, simply getting children concerned,” she stated.

“After which, after all, they’ve the First Tee program and the Sacramento Space Black Golfers, they do a superb job in selling younger golfers as properly. They’ve given scholarships to younger golfers.”

Whitfield {golfing} 10 years in the past. Her boss at Nationwide Insurance coverage invited her to play in a event hosted by the Middle for Fathers and Households.

“I performed with my husband’s golf golf equipment and simply completely cherished it,” she stated. “I’ve been hooked ever since.”

The sport’s social side and the chance to be outdoors and get train are attracts for her.

“A number of of us simply favored to play golf and we loved one another, so we simply thought, ‘Hey, you understand what? We have to have slightly golf group,’” Whitfield stated.

In the present day the group numbers about 40 who convene to play in addition to search to boost consciousness of Blacks, and Black ladies, enjoying golf. Golf is a extra prosperous sport, not as broadly performed as different sports activities extra standard within the Black neighborhood.

“There are golf offers on the market,” Whitfield stated. “You don’t must pay some huge cash to play golf on a regular basis. I don’t know what a number of the limitations are, however I do know that after we see different Black ladies or ladies of colour enjoying golf, we attempt to talk with them and attempt to invite them into the group.

“We’re not a aggressive group, so we aren’t like a number of the different golf leagues the place they’ve their NCGA (Northern California Golf Affiliation) quantity. I’ve my NCGA quantity and I’ve belonged to different golf teams, however we don’t require any cash to hitch or something like that. It’s purely social, simply to fellowship and get on the market and have enjoyable.”

Rising the sport for the subsequent era

Ingram is completely happy to recruit extra members. She’s additionally completely happy to see younger ladies like Mariah Stackhouse and Tiger Woods’ niece, Cheyenne Woods, representing on the inexperienced and following within the footsteps of trailblazers similar to Althea Gibson and Renee Powell. She desires to see extra African People uncover the love of golf.

“There’s a lot to find out about golf different than simply chasing the ball,” Ingram stated. “It additionally teaches character and integrity. You might be competing towards your self and you’re the one who’s charged with holding your personal rating. If I strike on the ball 4 instances, I’m anticipated to acknowledge that on my scorecard as a result of no one has your scorecard. So far as children are involved, it’s a nice technique of instructing them character constructing and integrity.”

The daughter of one in every of Ingram’s native sorority sisters, Maddie McFall, just lately received the inaugural Charlie Sifford event in Washington, D.C. Ingram additionally factors to supporting Sacramento native Cameron Champ’s basis. The muse is housed domestically on a course 10 minutes from the place Ingram lives.

“I’m within the means of organizing a bunch of ladies to take classes at his basis. He has one in Texas additionally, however this one over right here by me is the place he grew up and the place his grandpa Mack taught him the way to play,” Ingram shared.

SacTown Woman Golfers member Del Sayles-Owen began {golfing} some 25 years in the past.

“I went out on a golf outing, however that was just a bit tease,” Sayles-Owen stated.

She later married a person who favored to golf.

“That turned a passion for us. After that, I joined a golf group, a special golf group, and obtained concerned after which I ended up {golfing} about twice every week – as soon as with the women after which as soon as with my husband.”

Sayles-Owen nonetheless will get out on an area course as soon as every week.

“I actually prefer it,” she stated. “What obtained me hooked on it once I was working is that I might exit {golfing} on Mondays and Wednesdays after work. It was like slightly trip, going outdoors, getting recent air and train. Getting along with the women that I golf with. After we performed and by our form of hanging out, it simply turned type of a behavior. Even now that I’m retired, I am going out with girls throughout the day. Wednesdays are our regular day.”

Sayles-Owen joined the SacTown Woman Golfers 5 years in the past.

“My first large occasion was after they held a golf event in recognition of breast most cancers month, and that was a ton of enjoyable. I obtained to satisfy all the women at that occasion,” she stated. “After that, we went on an exquisite journey out of city to San Andreas to golf. We golfed and we went to the wineries within the space. It was very good.”

A lot of the SacTown Woman Golfers are older Black ladies, however the group makes efforts to succeed in different, youthful ladies.

“One of many issues we do is absolutely have an open coverage when it comes to individuals becoming a member of,” Sayles-Owen shared. “I personally just like the considered younger ladies who haven’t had the chance to golf. We’re a bunch of women which might be relaxed. And so should you’re new to golf, we’re very welcoming.”

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