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Black Golfers Week geared towards promoting diversity in sport

Legends Lunch: A Black Golfers Week preview event in 2021 featuring Clyde Best, left, Kim Swan and Dr.John Carlos (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Bermuda Tourism Authority in partnership with the APGA Tour and PGA Magazine, marked the culmination of Black History Month in February with the announcement of an APGA Tournament to kick off the inaugural Bermuda Black Golfers Week in October 2022.

Black Golfers Week is an initiative to help promote diversity in sport through sports tourism. With the support of the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, the BTA held a preview weekend event in 2021 to showcase the concept and bring partners, sponsors, and influencers together as a taster for what is planned for this year, from October 24-31.

The 2021 event preview featured the Legends Lunch, a dynamic panel of local and international Black sporting pioneers in golf, athletics and Premier League football moderated by Hazel Clark, the BTA Director of Sports and Business Development who is a three-time USA Olympian.

Olympian John Carlos, pioneer footballer Clyde Best of West Ham United, and international golf pro and local MP Kim Swan, explored their respective challenges as minorities in sport and the activism required to help create opportunities for the Black athletes who came behind them.

"We are committed to taking on a leadership role in broadening access to the sport of golf worldwide,“ said Charles Jeffers II, the CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority.

“Black Golfers Week will position Bermuda as a leading light elevating diversity, equity, and inclusion in sport. These conversations can enlighten and inspire golf communities of all backgrounds.

“Ultimately, our goal is to drive visitation and develop a framework for the sport that will deepen the talent pool, foster opportunity, and underscore Bermuda's pioneering role in Black golf history."

The weeklong event will include a screening of Rafael Louis “Kid” Corbin: Breaking Golf's Colour Line in America, Canada and Bermuda, a documentary highlighting the little-known story of Black Bermudian golfer Rafael Corbin's role in opening golf to Blacks in America and Canada through his sports activism against segregation at golf clubs across North America.

In honour of Corbin’s extraordinary contributions to the sport, organisers will close the week with the eponymous Kid Corbin Classic golf tourney at Port Royal Golf Course. The week includes a full golf itinerary with a celebrity pro-am tournament, free golf play and golf lessons, interspersed with panel discussions, awards dinners, island excursions and parties.

"Last fall, we gave the world a preview of our ambitions for driving diversity in sport with Bermuda's incomparable ocean-flanked golf courses as the backdrop,“ Clark said.

“This October, we will unveil an even more exciting itinerary to showcase our robust sports tourism infrastructure, celebrate our partnerships, and create a memorable, impactful golf weekend for our visitors.

“What's more, this initiative will incorporate significant local engagement elements, including a kids’ golf clinic hosted by international golfing phenomenon Troy Mullins. We are excited by the potential of this event and look forward to welcoming both golf enthusiasts and golf-curious travellers."

The 2022 AGPA Tour event follows PGA Tour’s Butterfield Bermuda Championship which has come on board as partner for the Black Golfer's Week 2022 programme.

Sean Sovacool, Executive Director of the Butterfield Bermuda Championship said: "The tournament staff is committed to delivering a premier golfing experience to professionals in Bermuda.

“Equally important is the knowledge that removing barriers to entry and supporting diversity in the sport is a crucial next step to growing the game of golf worldwide. With this in mind, we proudly support the aims and mission of Bermuda Black Golfers Week."

Established in 2010, the Advocates Pro Golf Association (APGA) Tour is a non-profit organisation with the mission to prepare African Americans and other minority golfers to compete and win at the highest level of professional golf, both on tour and in the golf industry. This, they say, will be accomplished through professional tournaments, career development and mentoring.

For more information on Black Golfers Week, visit www.bermudadrivingdiversity.com

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Published March 17, 2022 at 8:03 am (Updated March 17, 2022 at 8:02 am)

Black Golfers Week geared towards promoting diversity in sport

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