Golf Course Management

MAR 2017

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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50 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 03.17 Youth movement A desire to increase inclusion and diversity in the golf industry — with a special focus on youth — drives the African-American owners of Marlton Golf Club. Without a doubt, Sage Ware is Marlton Golf Club material. A ninth-grader who resides on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., Ware had never been ex - posed to golf until she was introduced to it at Marlton, a public course in Upper Marlboro, Md. "Golf was new to me. I just figured, 'Why not?' It gives me hope that I can try new things," says Ware, who thinks it's pretty cool to take swings on a golf course and that there's a clubhouse that offers food. "A lot of kids are enthusiastic about it." A lot of adults — including Marlton superintendent Brian Judd — are hoping Ware's sweet endorsement sweeps the country. The effort to grow and diversify golf, both in terms of its par - ticipants and future industry employees, is an ongoing challenge. Statistics indicate that golf participation among non-Caucasians has decreased for three consecutive years. There are forces out there, however, that are trying to do something about it. A handful of U.S. golf courses are under African-American ownership, and Marlton is one of them. In 2015, Willie Blakeney Jr., Vann B. Jones, Jimmy Garvin and Henry C. Turner Jr. purchased the golf course. Turner understands the task at hand, and although the owners face some financial challenges, their mission remains intact. "What it means to the four of us is that we have a great responsibility to be successful and that we bring in minorities to experience golf," Turner says. GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans champions Marlton's vision and any initiative that aims to at - tract all people to golf courses. "Obviously, having golf more representative of what our diverse Howard Richman AT THE TURN (growing the game) Joining forces at Marlton Golf Club with the goal of bringing inclusion and diversity to the game are (from left to right): Craig Kirby, Henry C. Turner Jr., Brian Judd, Jimmy Garvin and Vann B. Jones. Photo by Kea Taylor

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