Tour aims to turn tide on diversity
A professional golf tour is offering playing opportunities to underrepresented groups in the United States.
The APGA Tour, part of a wider Advocates Pro Golf Association, offers a platform for players, predominantly from minority backgrounds, to hone their game in a competitive environment.
The founders of the Advocates Pro Golf Association, Adrian Stills and Ken Bentley, conceived of the idea when they recognized the need to bring greater diversity into the game. The organization does this through the APGA Tour, player development and mentoring programs, and inner-city outreach.
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As many of the tour members hail from humble backgrounds, it plays a pivotal role in not only creating the opportunity to play professionally, but to make a sustainable living too.
While the tour and the wider work of the APGA is helping provide a step up for underrepresented groups at the elite end of the playing spectrum, Bentley acknowledges there is still work to do at the grassroots level.
“If we could get more teaching pros that look like the kids in these communities, it’ll fire the kids up to play,” he says.
Former APGA Tour player Doug Smith also highlights the need to bring more diversity into the coaching workforce. Of 29,000 club professionals in the United States, “less than half a percent of them are black,” Smith says. “I think there’s a problem there.”