By LJ Finney
- Michael Jordan’s private course, The Grove XXIII, implies he adjusted the course to give him an advantage
- There are and estimated 1.4 million recreational African American players in the country
Only Michael Jordan could elevate golf to his level of competition, at his private course, The Grove XXIII, from alternating the tee-box locations to narrow fairways, only the short-sided would imply he adjusted the course to give him an advantage. There are and estimated 1.4 million recreational African American golf players in the country. With this group possessing $1.4 trillion dollars in spending power, a sports icon like MJ with his own course can help them have a major cultural impact on the $13.4 billion retail golf sector.
Why This Matters: In Golf the barriers to entry are higher than in other sports because learning golf requires an upfront investment of time and money. With only 6% representation in professional golf, it is still a worthwhile investment because golf puts you in a position for opportunities, if you know how to finesse the intersection of golf and business. Once you are in the golf community, there is another filtering process, again based on access, the private golf course versus the public golf course. It is exciting to see new brands like Eastside Golf, transforming the face of the game. Rappers like Nas, DJ Khaled, P. Diddy on the golf course showing the world a different lifestyle, a different narrative, one of access.
Courses like Jordan’s The Grove XXIII are private and by invitation only, but so is Augusta, which did not have a Black member until the ’90s, and many other courses around the world. In 2012, the most expensive private golf club memberships in New York ranged from $150,000 to $650,000 a year. While it may be a story that Jordan only allowed 100 members, it is unlikely he was forced to allow people of color, as for women, we shall see. Whether having a private golf club membership is for golf, a business write-off, or building your network, it can cost a few thousand dollars to a few million dollars. Golf remains the perfect tool for building relationships and networking and at The Grove XXIII, Michael Jordan has the final say.
Situational Awareness: There are not a lot of Black Golfers on the PGA tour, because the cost of becoming a professional golfer also has a high barrier to entry. If companies are serious about diversifying the game, exceptional athletes need corporate sponsorships and our support.
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