Connection? What is it? It is the idea of being associated with someone or something. The vast majority of you established a connection with me through golf like a Facebook group, Twitter thread, or working at a club. But “The Connection?” That one spans over time, like mine… Let’s flashback.
Helen Webb Harris and 12 other women met at 79 R St NW in Washington DC on April 22, 1937. Without this meeting, the face of golf might be very different. During this time, she and 12 other women formed The Wake Robin Golf Club, the first African American women’s golf club in America. How does The Connection for me relate to this event?
Helen Webb-Harris is my great grandmother.
People talk about pioneers of the game, but Harris is sometimes overlooked. Not by me and hopefully not by you any longer. After all of The Wake Robin Golf Club’s well documented efforts, the Washington DC public golf system was desegregated in 1941. She is inspiration for those who need to persevere and is an untold a part of history.
I play golf with the same modern conveniences that we all share: carts, closely mown turf, and peace and quiet when hitting. I am always grateful for the stark contrast between my circumstances and hers.
I’d like to thank Dr. Mikell Johnson for dedicating her time to publish both “Heroines of African American Golf” and “The African American Woman Golfer: Her Legacy.” The story of The Wake Robin Golf Club, Helen Webb Harris, and this turning point in golf history is one that needs to be told more often.
In closing, I want to thank you for holding me in such high regard as a golf instructor, respecting me as a person, and for my character and values above anything else. It is both an honor and pleasure to call many of you my friends; a part of The Connection spanning over years to come…