As we all know, golf is a great game. It’s easy to fall in love with golf. Strike it pure once, and you’re hooked. But how do we get people introduced? I’m not sure we’ve answered that question. For me, my dad revealed the game. But if you don’t have a friend or family member who plays, then maybe you never get introduced. Frankly, it can be an intimidating sport to pick up on your own. Furthermore, how do we get more young people acquainted with our profession?
Craig Kirby and his non-profit organization, “Golf. My Future. My Game,” are working to grow and diversify our game of golf. Kirby has partnered with schools in the Washington D.C. area to set up programs that give African-American kids access to the game. In fact, each of his 12-week classes enrolls about 80 students. But Kirby’s mission doesn’t stop there. He also wants to introduce these kids to the various careers that golf has to offer. As stated on their website, Golf. My Future. My Game, the organization’s goal is to raise awareness of the values, camaraderie, lessons, and opportunities that golf has to offer.
According to a 2015 study by Dr. Michael Cooper, President of Urban Golfer, LLC, and former Director of Diversity for World Golf Foundation, we learn that American golfers are 77 percent male and 80 percent white. Likewise, golf industry workers are 90 percent male and 88 percent white. As we know, many courses in the region are struggling to find reliable employees, including assistant superintendents. So what better way to help broaden our workforce than to simply tap into an untapped demographic?
That’s where we come in. Craig has a vision for his organization where we can teach young people about our profession. Similar to a round-table discussion, Craig will be looking to superintendents in D.C. area to engage these kids and introduce them to the superintendent work life. Through that, we can build greater sustainability for not only our sector of the industry but also for golf as a whole.
Craig’s organization has partnered with one of only four courses in America that are African-American owned, The Marlton Golf Club, just outside of Washington D.C. in Upper Marlboro. The Marlton Golf Club is the venue that serves as the catalyst for the programs offered by “Golf. My Future. My Game.” As Kirby mentions, “Golf is a sport from which everyone can benefit.” And as these programs are certainly most beneficial for the youth they serve, the industry itself stands to benefit from Kirby’s philanthropic heart. That there is a win-win.
|Craig Kirby and Jimmy Garvin with Holy Family Catholic students (photo credit: Heaven Nez Cree, Creative Content Designer, Golf. My Future. My Game.)|
|Jimmy Garvin talking with Holy Family students about the difference in heights of cut around the golf course (photo credit: Heaven Nez Cree)|
|Holy Family students ready for the green (photo credit: Heaven Nez Cree)|