For the 21st century
2019 Urban Golf Summit
What is the Urban Golf Summit?
The annual Urban Golf Summit will bring together golfers and professionals from all over the country to network, golf, and enjoy the sights of the spectacular Monterey Peninsula coastline.
Presented by YGolf Magazine Publisher Yvonne Thomas, the Summit is a weekend designed to continue spreading the word of golf to minorities and women throughout the United States and to increase their opportunities for more involvement and inclusion.
Thank you to all who attend our first annual event in April 2017. More information coming soon about scheduled events for next year.
**The URBAN GOLF SUMMIT is a division of YGOLF ENTERPRISES.
in the LPGA and PGA?
by Yvonne Thomas
Golfing while Black
“Golfing while Black”, abbreviated as GWB, is a new phrase in American English that refers to the racial profiling of African American golfers. It implies that a golfer has been confronted, questioned, harassed and asked to leave a golf course because of racial bias.
I spent most of yesterday reading articles and comments about the incident at a Pennsylvania golf course last weekend where police were called by the owners to remove a group of black female golfers for allegedly playing too slowly.
Golfers playing slowly? No surprise there. That’s just one of the irritating consequences of booking a tee time on a beautiful day when the rest of the world has the exact same idea. Overbooked golf courses often lead to slow play.
Calling the police to remove slow golfers?
Absolutely. Unheard. Of.
I am a black female golfer. I am also an old school journalist with a responsibility of researching the facts before publishing my words in print. So I continued researching and reading about the incident without bias. It’s important to note that my journalist side agreed to refrain from making a premature judgment, but my black female golfer side admittedly started feeling my heart rate increase. While reading some news articles reposted on Facebook, I promised myself that I would simply gather information and that I would stay away from getting into any Facebook debates. I found myself carefully measuring the number of comments by people who were outraged against people who believe the club’s owners and the police were justified in their actions.
I was doing pretty well managing my elevated heart rate, but then I stumbled across my trigger comment. You know what I’m talking about. It’s usually an asinine comment written by someone you don’t even know that manages to get under your skin just a little too much.
The headline of a post yesterday on GolfDigest.com was “African-American women claim racial, gender discrimination at Pennsylvania golf course.” There was one comment on the post written by a man that caught my attention. He said, “I’m sure they sucked at golf and held everybody up.”
The man was promptly attacked by several people and engaged in lengthy online debates with those who ridiculed everything from his choice of words to his profile picture.
I only had one question for him.
And you’re sure they sucked at golf because...?
But he never responded to my comment.
Actually, he didn’t need to respond to my comment because I already know the answer. But here’s a multiple choice quiz for you all today just in case you need help figuring it out.
(1)Did he assume that they sucked at golf because they were a group of black women? (2)Would he make that assumption if they had been a group of black men? (3)Would he make that assumption if they had been a group of white women? (4)Was the owner justified in his actions because those women fit into a category that wins the jackpot in the discrimination lottery? They had the audacity to be Black, female, AND golfers! I can almost hear the bells ringing! Kind of like hitting a Triple 7 on a racist/chauvinistic slot machine.
The real reason behind why this incident happened is not just about racism in golf. It’s also clearly about sexism.
I am a passionate golfer. I love the game, and I have played hundreds of rounds of golf over the past 16 years at numerous public courses, and as a member of a private golf club. As I mentioned earlier, slow play is a part of the game experienced more so at public courses than at the private ones. Personally, I am fortunate to have experienced very little racism at the many courses I’ve played on in California. But I have to admit, I have witnessed a ton of sexism which is often treated as acceptable behavior by most women golfers that I’ve played with over the years.
There are a lot of men who do not want to golf with women. And to be fair, I know a lot of women who do not want to golf with men. Personal preferences are one thing and unless you have a private course in your backyard, you will often end up playing a round of golf with someone of the opposite sex.
It is important to note that men outnumber women golfers by a large percentage. I am the Publisher and Founder of YGolf Magazine for Women. The mission statement of YGolf is to bring women together of different races and ages that share the common bond of golf.
I have worked hard over the past decade to highlight the networking opportunities and benefits that the sport has to offer women and to help make the game more inclusive. And today, I am extending a verbal backhand slap to the face of the owners of Grandview Golf Course whose actions may have just set the cause backwards by 50 years! This is precisely why so many women feel unwelcome on golf courses and why the game struggles to attract new female and minority players. A friend who I have been encouraging to learn the game admitted to me that this single incident makes her a little scared to step out there for the first time.
So was this a case of discrimination, intimidation, segregation or all of the above?
In the past 72 hours, the owners of Grandview have issued two statements. One apologizing to the women for calling the police and then a second statement redacting the apology. (Insert puzzled face emoji here)
As this topic continues to trend on social media, a few things stand out to me like a red flag. This is very similar to last week’s “Waiting Inside a Starbucks while Black” incident when several white customers spoke up to say that the men were not loitering. It is very troubling to me that the men’s stories were strongly questioned and not believed UNTIL their actions were validated by white people.
Fast forward to Grandview. A golfer who was videotaped in the background of the confrontation came forward to corroborate the women’s account of what took place. Several comments then followed on social media in support of the women.
So what is the lesson that can be taken away from all this? Let us be thankful that social media and smart phone video cameras have given us the tools to record and expose racial injustices and let the world see who exactly the perpetrators are.
It is true that a few bad apples can spoil the entire pie -- but only if we let them.
Bad golfers come in all colors and in both genders. To the owners of Grandview. If this had been a group of white male golfers playing slow, would they have been confronted in the same way? Would they have been confronted at all?
I’ve been shocked and stunned by the ignorance and insensitivity of some people when it comes to racial bias and instances of discrimination. Just because you might be noticing racial profiling for the first time doesn’t mean it just started. Black people have been experiencing this for centuries.
My outrage on this matter is a little muted simply because I think I’ve become somewhat numb. Whereas in the past, those trigger comments would have led to heated words flowing from my brain, down to my fingertips and into my laptop keyboard landing as an explosive tirade on Facebook. I’ve now learned to save my venting for a different audience and for a much more active approach.
In the words of the great Maya Angelou, when people show you who they are, believe them. There are far too many golf courses on this planet to continue frequenting the ones who have clearly demonstrated that they don’t want our business. Because of the legs on this story, the world now knows who Grandview is and how they operate. It was reported that the owners at Grandview gleefully offered to refund the money that this group of women paid for their memberships. To the lady golfers – please take that money and never look back.
MY JOURNEY FROM PEBBLE BEACH TO WAKANDA
by Yvonne Thomas
February is Black History Month. And my month started in the media room at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. As one of the few black female credentialed golf journalists covering PGA Tour events, I am proud to be a trailblazer and a role model for other black aspiring reporters interested in working in a field that is considered to be non-traditional for African Americans.
February 2018 is also the month when the highly anticipated BLACK PANTHER movie debuted on screens breaking multiple box office records over the 4-day holiday weekend. The blockbuster film united audiences of all races and acted as an immense source of ancestral pride for black people worldwide.
I am one of those people who walked out of the movie with extra pep in my step this past weekend. As a journalist, I enjoy reading critiques from other writers, and the movie is receiving rave reviews from just about everyone. But I started to notice comments on social media and by some legitimate journalists who were having trouble understanding why black people are flying so high about a movie that was no doubt entertaining, but in the end, it’s not real. They were quick to point out that Wakanda, the East African nation where BLACK PANTHER is based, is indeed fictional. It seemed that some people were going out of their way to let us know that, “Y’all can enjoy this Wakanda stuff all you want, but you know it ain’t real.”
While it is true that we are the descendants of slaves, it is essential that we also speak loudly about the fact that before slavery existed, there was Africa. And Africa, my friends, is very real.
Africa. A wealthy continent.
Rich with natural elements and resources like diamond and gold mines that are extremely valuable commodities.
A continent rich with culture, and rich with the history and heritage of self-sufficient, thriving independent nations inhabited by millions of people of color.
So what happened?
How have so many been brainwashed to believe the stereotype that our ancestors were impoverished, illiterate, uneducated, and in desperate need of help to take care of ourselves?
It is time for that stereotype to die.
It is time for us to acknowledge and reclaim our true heritage.
It is time to spread the word about our history.
It is time to change the narrative of every person who has that one drop of African blood running through his or her veins, and who has been programmed to believe that implications of having that one drop automatically assigned them to a lower status. The damage that implication has done to the psyche and mentality of generations of our people is absolutely astounding.
And it still exists today.
That one drop of sub Saharan African blood ties us historically not only to slavery, but it ties us to royalty, educators, healthcare professionals, politicians, bankers, attorneys, and golfers and golf writers as well.
Let that last sentence resonate deep inside you. Because it is way past time to reverse this damage.
If you haven’t seen BLACK PANTHER yet, I encourage you to go. Now! And to my people, hold your heads high.
Carry yourselves with the pride and self-esteem that has been buried deep beneath the surface because history books are derelict in their depiction of our entire story. They are guilty of omitting significant parts of our heritage which has systemically caused damage to the pride, dignity, and self-worth of generations of our people. And it has allowed our oppressors and their descendants to perpetuate a false notion of superiority.
But the truth will always set you free.
It is time that we learn about ALL of our heritage. We are descended from brilliance! Believe it. And never doubt it again. Let this be a revelation that changes how you look at yourself in the mirror. How you carry yourself when you walk into a room. How YOU see yourself is the first critical step in changing how others see you.
The Black national anthem teaches us to Lift Every Voice and Sing. And the final line of that song, “True to our God, True to our native land” implores us to see Africa in its entirety. Not the abbreviated footnote written in the past by biased colonizers and in the present by arrogant, hubristic individuals who insult, degrade, and minimize the achievements of these great nations by profanely referring to them as “shitholes”. Stop waiting for these people to come to their senses and treat us with respect. That tactic will only work if they already had some semblance of common sense to begin with. The BLACK PANTHER movie has allowed us an enormous opportunity to be seen as we should be seen, and the words of these people, past and present, do not have the power to undermine our credibility or our accomplishments.
I am proud to say that I can identify with both Pebble Beach and Wakanda. What do YOU identify with? Don't be afraid to expand your horizons, dip your toe outside of your box and explore opportunities when they present themselves. Go out and find your Wakanda!