From The Inbox

Munis hold key for golf’s diversity goals

Reader points toward municipal courses as a way to increase minority participation in golf

The USGA and PGA of America hardly are paragons of racial virtue, having had to be dragged kicking and screaming into a racially mixed world.

The PGA of America finally managed to notice discrimination in 1961, not exactly ahead of the curve. The poobahs and panjandrums of the USGA are heavily representative of private-club membership and culture, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Just ask Tiger Woods about the reception of non-famous minority golfers at private clubs; he experienced it firsthand.

So now that the virtue signaling is taken care of, let’s see the substantive plans to correct the situation in the golfing world and increase minority participation in golf (“Unrest in America has me thinking about golf, our country and an artist whom I once knew,” June 5).

If you want to be sure of avoiding discriminatory policies in golf, try a muni.

Blaine Walker
St. Paul, Minn.

Golf is an easy target, but what about NFL, NBA?
The Farrell Evans treatise was interesting (“Unrest in America has me thinking about golf, our country and an artist whom I once knew,” June 5). I am not an art connoisseur and not familiar with the late Charles McGill's work. And metaphors are sometimes lost on me.

But the morphing of an article praising an artist into a metaphorical body block on PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan drew a penalty flag. As an astute journalist, perhaps Evans should tackle NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and issue a foul on NBA commissioner Adam Silver about their responses and efforts to address inequality in these times.

Golf, with its exclusionary history, is an easy target. But it appears as if Evans gave a pass to the NFL and NBA with their strong diversity of athletes. It would be enlightening for readers to learn about the leagues’ efforts toward social-equality issues. As a follow-up, perhaps Evans could open a dialogue with the PGA of America and pass along its diversity steps.

I might be out of bounds here and recognize that social commentary is very important right now, but it will be great to have ballgames and golf tournament news as a part of our daily reading.

Dave Richner
St. Johns, Fla.

A time for change
It is so easy for us to dismiss or ignore the clear racial biases that Farrell Evans stated so clearly (“Unrest in America has me thinking about golf, our country and an artist whom I once knew,” June 5).

As a young boy, I remember seeing Charlie Sifford playing in the Canadian Open, chomping on his cigar. The cigar surprised me, but seeing a black man playing golf did not. I had no sense at that time that he was a groundbreaker. He was but a man playing in a tournament that also featured Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and my hometown hope, George Knudson. Later, I remember so well the sweet-swinging Calvin Peete. Black or white made no difference to me then, and it still doesn't. We are but men and women, all the same.

Sadly now as I see the turmoil surrounding the George Floyd situation, I realize how naive I was as a teenager. At age 65, I am thankfully not naive anymore, and I strongly support the cause of Floyd's family and those of all people who are racialized, victimized or have their rights violated as an everyday occurrence.

Golf always has been a white man's game of privilege, and as a rule a monied white man's privilege. I can remember trying to join golf clubs as a 19-year-old, only to be turned down repeatedly because my father wouldn't be joining or that I did not meet the "membership threshold.” In no way can I equate that to the exclusion of so many black Americans simply because of their color.

So, yes, it is time for golf and its many very wealthy stars to stand up boldly and state the obvious. It’s time to change.

Baird Heide
Bradford, Ontario

From Houston, a solution
Farrell Evans’ article was superb and should be required reading for PGA Tour leaders and all golfers (“Unrest in America has me thinking about golf, our country and an artist whom I once knew,” June 5).

I grew up in Houston, where two water fountains (one “colored only”) prevailed. In my little 8-year-old mind, in which racism was taboo in my family, I initially drank from the “colored only” water because it was “rainbow water.” Racism is a learned process, and my single-parent mother always said you should be judged by who you are, not where you live or the color of your skin – way before Martin Luther King Jr. was popular. She was a conservative but believed in fairness. Bless you, Mother!

I would welcome any golfer at my country club. He or she just has to pay the guest fees. Drinks on me afterwards.

Kitty Russell
Houston

Working to be part of the answer
I’m a middle-aged, white golfer, struggling to break out of the torpor of my own white privilege and belatedly make a difference. Farrell Evans inspired me with his commentary, even as it gently admonished with his apt reaction to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan’s choices, which, as Evans likely knows, can apply to almost every white male in this country (“Unrest in America has me thinking about golf, our country and an artist whom I once knew,” June 5).

For too long, we have seen it as someone else’s problem to solve. I’m chastened and energized and will work harder to be more of the solution and less of the problem.

Rich Jepsen
Alameda, Calif.

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