Charlie Sifford: The Larger Victory
I’ve been holding on to this article for some time now since the passing of Dr. Charlie Sifford. I’ve read and re-read Pete McDaniels’ Golf Digest article and realized I cannot summarize Sifford’s doings, life struggles, grit, and determination any better. What I can write about is a post on my Facebook timeline from a friend, James Jordan, shortly after the news broke.
There’s more here than just the literal reminder of how Sifford courageously broke down barriers to allow for others to succeed. My tag and the words of encouragement to “change the game” left me wondering what exactly am I doing differently.
Back in 2011, I wrote a paper for my PGA Level 3 presentation entitled “The Gap Wedge: Changing the Face of the Game.” In it, I highlighted several key points questioning why golf’s major organizations haven’t been able to demonstrate significant progress in diversifying the professional ranks. Right now, the answer is a bit clearer.
Sometimes, you just need to do it yourself.
Helen Webb-Harris is my great-grandmother and blazed a trail in the golf industry herself. She founded Wake Robin Golf Club, the first club for black women in America in 1937. It’s a story not often told and is similar in some respects to that of Sifford. The common denominators from the harassment to the prejudices could be the featured elements, but their perseverance should stand out above all else.
What am I doing differently? Keep reading, keep watching. You will see…
Thank you to all those who have inspired the journey and continue to support me along the way. I owe you all a debt of thanks and gratitude as I have not had to contend with many of the injustices that leave wounds even time can’t heal.