U.S. Open

Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No. 2)

The Loop

Teachers of Color

August 11, 2009

We got one of our Golf Digest pages back last week. It was the page in the August issue picturing the 50 Greatest Teachers and announcing that the list would go up on Golfdigest.com on July 7. An unsigned, printed note in the white space at the top of the page read: "Seems like a glaring omission that there isn't a person of color on this list."

Fair point. The list is based on nominations and ballots of about 2,000 PGA Professionals from all over the country, winners of PGA Awards, professionals on our previous lists and those added by the recipients of our ballot. It is accurate to say that while Golf Digest compiles the list, it is created by the professionals themselves, and to note that among some 25,000 members of the PGA of America less than one per cent are teachers of color. As an executive of the PGA said when providing this information, "But we're working on it. We're working on it."

And we at Golf Digest should be, too, because our reader's challenge is valid. There are "great" teachers who are African-American or members of other minorities. One of them, ironically, is Renee Powell, former LPGA player and daughter of the pioneering course owner William Powell--being honored with the PGA's Distinguished Service Award tomorrow night. Renee has been included in the 50 Greatest pool in the past.

It behooves us to make sure our pool of teacher candidates is colorblind, indeed, to bend over backwards to make sure we have included teachers of color in the pool.

Congratulations to the PGA for honoring William Powell, who, by the way, was featured on Good Morning America this morning and for adding to its Hall of Fame African-American pioneers Teddy Rhodes, John Shippen and Bill Spiller and bestowing honorary membership on the great boxer, Joe Louis, who loved and promoted the game.

And thanks to that anonymous reader for reminding us we all have a ways to go if we want to our sport to be as rich and diverse as our population. Trust me, we'll be working on it.

--Bob Carney