The shortage of black golfers at the game’s highest level is an unexpected development, considering Tiger Woods’ decades-long dominance and the fact that there are an estimated 1.4 million recreational African American golfers in the country. With this group possessing $1.2 trillion dollars in spending power, what’s stopping them from having a major impact on the $13.4 billion retail golf sector?
Why This Matters: Despite black people having a long history with golf, the highly lucrative sport is generally reserved for the upper-middle class, a divide that continues to worsen by racial wealth gaps. The African American Golfer’s Digest recently conducted research on a small focus group to determine where they felt the disparity lies, and the results were overwhelmingly cost driven. Many black people feel the training and development necessary to compete in the sport requires a significant amount of disposable income, a challenge for too many black households.
There are an estimated 1.4 million recreational African American golfers in the country
African Americans make up nearly 75% of professional basketball players and 68% of professional football players. With only 6% representation in professional golf, many experts struggle to bridge the gap among minorities. When Woods reached the summit of the golfing world with his win at the Masters Tournament in 1997 and then again this year, for the fifth time in his career, the PGA circuit still lacked melanin infused athletes. Even HBCU coaches struggle to find people with the skill set to play the sport competitively.
Situational Awareness: Most minority golfers do not have access or opportunity to play elite golf, a necessity to compete on the professional level. The same concept as suburban basketball players earning their battle stripes by practicing on inner-city courts, minorities’ inability to access the very courses that would elevate their golf game is stifling and further exacerbates the issue.
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