The legacy of Black golfers began long before Tiger Woods.
In Minnesota, one of the Black golf pioneers was Solomon Hughes. Hughes, a resident of South Minneapolis, made history in 1952 when he and fellow African-American, Ted Rhodes, integrated the PGA St. Paul Open after being denied since 1948. According to the Minnesota Historical Society’s “Caucasians Only: Solomon Hughes, the PGA, and the 1948 St. Paul Open Golf Tournament,” in 1943 the PGA had written into its bylaws it’s previously unwritten rule that members be of the “Caucasian race.”
Hughes went on to compete in the 1953 St. Paul Open as well and shared his love of the sport with others as a renowned instructor, before his death in 1987.
In sharing a passion for the sport, the Twin Cities Par Seekers is hosting its fifth annual tournament June 22 and June 23 at Emerald Greens Golf Course, 14425 Goodwin Ave., Hastings. Initially named in honor of Hughes, the flighted tournament now called Twin Cities Par Seekers Golf Tournament, will attract golfers from throughout the Midwest and as far away as Las Vegas organizers say.
“A lot of Black golfers would golf in regional tournaments in Chicago, Indianapolis, Waterloo, Iowa and other cities in the Midwest and we wanted to showcase golf in Minnesota,” said Dennis Blue, one of the tournament organizers.
Different from a team scramble, which is a “best ball” format, a flighted tournament is an individual contest that takes a golfer’s first round score and then brackets contestants based on score for the subsequent round or rounds. Emerald Greens is two 18-hole courses and golfers will play one course Saturday (noon start) and the other Sunday (8 a.m. start). The tournament’s entry fee is $150 with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Sanneh Foundation, an area youth development organization.
For Ramona Johnson McCree, Twin Cities Par Seekers executive committee member and social coordinator, the tournament is about more than the number on the scorecard.
“For me, when the kids come out to watch and see there are other African-American golfers out there besides Tiger Woods; because he’s not the only one, to see that is powerful,” said Johnson McCree.
“Hopefully we can inspire more to participate among our community,” said Blue, who said he began playing golf nearly 40 years ago.
In addition to the golf, the group will host a Friday night party June 21 at the Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport Mall of America, 3800 American Blvd, E., Bloomington. The cost of the party is included in the registration fee and for those not golfing the cost is $10.
For more information or to register, contact Blue at firstname.lastname@example.org or (612) 889-2343.
Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Tournament
The Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce will host its annual golf event June 18 at Edinburgh Golf Course, 8700 Edinbrook Crossing, Brooklyn Park. The best ball scramble begins at noon and is followed by a 5 p.m. dinner and awards ceremony. The cost for the tournament is $125 per person and the outing includes a $60,000 hole-in-one contest.