By LJ Finney
- There are 1344 golf teams in the United States, approximately 33 are HBCUs
- The highest-paid golfer is Tiger Woods at $127.2 million (121 wins) yet Charles Howell III is #27 at $40.8 million (3 wins)
A seven-figure investment in Howard University’s golf program by Stephen Curry was sparked by one conversation, with a student golfer named Otis, who represents one of the 33 HBCU golf teams out of the 1344 golf teams across the U.S. HBCUs battle to keep endowments funded and those funds are often used for infrastructure and technology improvements to keep the institution competitive. Golf programs tend to be cut because they are expensive: from greens fees, uniforms, equipment, transportation, and scholarships, but there’s a lot of money to be made as a professional golfer.
Why This Matters: Although athletic golf scholarships are limited, how it is allocated is at the discretion of the golf coach. Scholarships are within reach and with only 4 black golfers out of 400 on the PGA tour, there’s room for growth. Not to mention that the highest-paid golfer is Tiger Woods at $127.2 million (121 wins), yet Charles Howell III is #27 at $40.8 million (3 wins), so funding golfers in college can have a huge payoff.
On a recent podcast episode 28 of TeesMe, Inventor Alan Johnson said “I started realizing just being an average golfer and minority actually will put you in a position to be able to play and get a scholarship, you might not get the full ride if you’re not really good, but you can definitely get some looks.”
Situational Awareness: In the past corporations have overlooked talent from HBCUs, strategies to grow the game start with investing in collegiate golf programs at these institutions. If diversity in golf truly matters, I suggest corporations follow Curry’s model and sponsor HBCU golf teams in ten-year increments, followed by tour sponsorship. Celebrities and retired athletes could also sponsor HBCUs, think Little League, but with a sizable financial investment to create the next generation of professional golfers.
Can you imagine the future of college golf, Bayou Classic meets the Masters, broadcast live on BET and ESPN?
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