Golf's storied history in the US has long been criticized for its lack of diversity, but the PGA has taken steps to improve minority participation and exposure to the game. Minority participation has increased with the popularity and success of Tiger Woods, and continues today with targeted efforts, say the authors of "Increasing Minority Golf Participation Through PGA Education Initiatives" in the open access journal SAGE Open.
One important step in the process included one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) being awarded the coveted PGA Professional Golf Management Program accreditation. University of Maryland, Eastern Shore was the firstand currently onlyHBCU of the 20 universities that currently offer the program.
"UMES provides an excellent example of how the program was implemented at a historically and predominantly Black college," wrote the authors. "The university was successful in obtaining the coveted accreditation due to several reasons."
The authors, who include Jill Fjelstul, Leonard A. Jackson, and Dana V. Tesone, point to the support of the school's administration and willingness to provide resources to ensure success. Additionally both the school and the PGA have set up scholarships and recruitment to help pique minority students' interest.
But, the authors note, "increasing minority participation in golf requires initiatives and organizations designed to expose members of minority populations to golf at an early age." The PGA has also established the "First Tee" program aimed at minority golfers ages eight to 18. "Since its inception," write the authors. "more than 3 million children from minority groups
have participated in the program."
The Bill Dickey Golf Scholarship Association also serves minorities by affording them the chance to play golf with financial assistance and golf club participation. This helps those selected overcome two continually noted challenges of minority golf participation: the cost to play the game and access to golf courses.
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The article "Increasing Minority Golf Participation Through PGA Education Initiatives" published in SAGE Open, is available free at: sgo.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/07/06/2158244011416009.full.pdf+html .