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Mr Puddle

How Diverse is Your Club?

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I suppose it's the same in the USA, but we presently have all this BLM stuff going on in the UK, so I wondered how diverse people's clubs are. At my club we have a very small women's section, but no black people, or foreign people. How about you ?

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We have a competitive Club Without Real Estate for senior men (50 and up).  Open to anyone living in Michigan who is able to play 18 holes in 4 hours or less and qualifies by age and gender.  Our membership somewhat reflects our State's older male population.

A women's group discussed affiliating with us but in the end, they successfully went their own way.

 

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The first thing you have to ask is, what is the baseline? How diverse is Golf in general in the UK, then how close does your club come to to that demographic? 

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Ours is not a private club, but we do have an active Public Men's Club with over 300 members, so that is my frame of reference. Our club is fairly diverse - not quite as diverse as the demographics of the greater Long Beach area as a whole, but certainly pretty diverse as it relates to the golfing population. We are probably about 65% white and 35% "non-white." Of that segment, the majority would probably be categorized as Hispanic but we do have several Asian members as well. We have a few black members, but probably fewer than 10. 

While the term "color blind" can be overused in day to day life, I can honestly say the closest I come to that is when I am on the golf course. Race, age, gender - it doesn't matter. We are all golfers and we all share the bond of the joys and maddening frustrations that go along with playing this game. 

 

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I've always played primarily at muni courses. In case that doesn't translate in the UK, it means courses owned by a city. Generally, the players reflect the community its based in.

Prior to this year, I played City of Dayton golf courses and you'd see a fair number of black golfers. Of the three Dayton courses, you'd see the most at Madden, followed by Kittyhawk and then Community. That all ties pretty strongly to the racial makeup of the city and where those specific courses were located. Now that I'm in Troy, there are definitely fewer minorities, but fewer of them live in Troy in the first place.

Kittyhawk had one very particular minority group that I believe were Koreans. I don't think anyone ever talked to them about the idea of playing golf in groups of no more than four. 

One thing that struck me odd, but I never bothered to ask about was why very few black players ever joined the Kittyhawk Men's Association. There were a couple of black guys that would play in some of the events, but nowhere near as many that played the course in general. Maybe some bad stuff happened before I got there.

Women, in my experience, are sort of rare. When you see female golfers at all, they are usually playing with husbands or boyfriends. Sometimes, they even just ride around with the guy in the cart (as terribly boring as that sounds).

 

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I am a member of a privately owned club in Wiltshire Uk a few Black guys are members and a few Japanese guys too. Quite a healthy female membership although much smaller group than the male membership.

 

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28 minutes ago, mcanadiens said:

One thing that struck me odd, but I never bothered to ask about was why very few black players ever joined the Kittyhawk Men's Association.

 

Upon reflection, I guess I feel the same way. There are lots of black people that golf the Long Beach municipal courses. But as I noted above, very few of them have have joined our men's club. I know the majority of our club members personally, as well as almost everyone on the Board of Directors. In my opinion, you couldn't find a more welcoming group of guys, so it's a bit hard for me to speculate on why our black membership is so low.

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55 minutes ago, Big C said:

In my opinion, you couldn't find a more welcoming group of guys, so it's a bit hard for me to speculate on why our black membership is so low.

Although your own perception of your group is that of a very welcoming persona, understand that golf, especially country clubs and private courses, have had a reputation for a long time of being...exclusive, for lack of a better word.
I read an article today from a few years ago about a course that was allowing women to join for the first time in its history. 
Minorities see things like that and think "They'll never accept me there."
We as golfers need to do more to actively SHOW how welcoming we are.

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I don’t belong to a club, but my area golf is fairly diverse in Mass and a bit less in NH, which makes sense. NH is less diverse than MA. 

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In season my place is very diverse ( before Pandemic). Tourists from all over the world every week. Off season? Rich white folks.

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My men's club is not particularly diverse. A majority of white men over 50. There is less diversity in the young members in the club than there are in the older members, which is interesting. It's fairly reflective of the area the course draws from.

The interesting thing is that we have a eclectic group of professions. We have lawyers, firemen, window installers, car mechanics (interestingly, a lot of car mechanics), real estate agents, media, engineers, etc. You'd think it'd skew towards office professionals, but it's a mix.

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17 hours ago, saevel25 said:

The first thing you have to ask is, what is the baseline? How diverse is Golf in general in the UK, then how close does your club come to to that demographic? 

The membership pretty much reflects the population. We have very few people from an ethnic background who live in the area. However, we do have many women, but only a handful of female members. My best friend happens to be of Asian decent, but won't join my club because they insist on him wearing golf shoes, and he doesn't like them. Most proper clubs in the UK insist on the wearing of golf shoes, where I am aware it's not the same in the U.S

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Our two local courses are mostly made up older folks. Most are retirees. Both sexes, and all skin colors are well represented, and quite welcome. 

We also have highschool golf teams from as far away 100 miles who visit,  and play our local youngsters.  Our local club pro (swing guru) donates a lot of his time to our younger golfers. 

We do get folks from out of town on a regular basis, and they make up about 1/3 of our course users. Non locals pay $5 more per round I think.  The Las Vegas metro area is about a 30-40 minute drive from us. 

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22 hours ago, ejm1994 said:

Although your own perception of your group is that of a very welcoming persona, understand that golf, especially country clubs and private courses, have had a reputation for a long time of being...exclusive, for lack of a better word.

I understand that, but we aren't talking about a private course here where there are barriers to entry. This is a public men's club that literally anyone can join. I think you can actually sign-up online, sight unseen. With that being said, it just seems like there isn't much interest from the black golfing community.

22 hours ago, ejm1994 said:

We as golfers need to do more to actively SHOW how welcoming we are.

Again, no argument. But that's a "chicken or the egg" problem. You have to have people in the door before you can show them how welcoming you are.

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I play at public courses. The state is 6% black. That's about 1 in 20. 12% Asian, 12% Hispanic. About 1 in 10 people playing are Asian. About 1 in 10 are Hispanic. About 1 in 30 are black. It costs a whopping $25 to play 18 holes after 2 pm; $17 if you're military or a senior. And this is a nice course. It's not like they're gouging people. No one cares about your race. I have seen more women playing this year and it's a welcome sight.  

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The courses I play reflect the lack of diversity of the area in which I live. I think the last data I saw showed this county being 97% white.

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On 6/20/2020 at 1:49 PM, Big C said:

You have to have people in the door before you can show them how welcoming you are.

I would say that a big reason for the lack of "people at the door" is the economic barrier that people of color typically face from a very young age. Makes it difficult to get exposed to the game early on and thus does not foster an interest in it when older. Brings us to a problem that is meant for a much different forum than this!

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