My 2022 PGA Show experience — Black-owned golf courses — Must-click women’s golf links
The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, February 3, 2022
Welcome back to another Golf Thursday, and happy Black History Month golf fans! I mentioned last week that I was in Orlando for the PGA Merchandise Show and now I’m going to be dishing on my experience! It was my first time at the PGA show and so I really didn’t know what to expect going in, but I had the best week and hopefully it can become an annual thing for me.
A while back, I introduced you all to my brother, Gavin Parker, who is a teaching professional and member of the PGA. Gavin has quite the online presence and part of what I do for him and his golf academy is curate social media content. Back in December, Gavin was asked to help make content for the PGA’s social media for this year’s PGA Show. It was a no-brainer for him and he asked if I wanted to tag along.
And just like that, we were off to Orlando (quick side note: we got to stay with some family friends who were members at the country club we are based at and their oldest son was one of Gavin’s students)!
We had an early start for our first day. I had read through some tweets before bed, as one does, and saw a bit of a theme for #DemoDay…
For vets, Demo Day has a history of being “freezing”, which completely ruined my plan of escaping the Virginia cold for some sunshine. But despite a cold and rainy forecast, I was still pumped for what was in store.
Essentially, Demo Day or Demo and Fitting Day is for showcasing what the latest and greatest clubs are, equipment to have, training aides, and so much more. We had a full schedule of different booths Gavin had to hit, trying out products, learning about what they do, and capturing him using it. The highlight of day one was by far meeting our friends at Phat Scooters and Golf Skate Caddy. Both companies have re-invented ways to get around the course —and it’s FUN. The Phat Scooters are kind of like a golf-motorcycle. They have large, wide-set tires that make them no-less harmful for fairway use than a normal golf cart, and they go pretty fast! The Golf Skate Caddy is similar to a segway that you can attach your golf bag to. It gives off slight ‘Paul Blart Mall-Cop’ vibes but in a cool way.
I loved each of these brands because they put a lot of emphasis on breaking the traditional golf mold of transportation, with emphasis on being environmentally friendly. In a lot of ways, golf can be extremely harmful to the environment, but knowing that companies like Phat Scooters and Golf Skate Caddy are conscious of sustainability eases my mind.
Wednesday was our first day on the floor and the focus of the day was apparel and fitness training aides. To touch on some of the apparel brand booths we saw were Under Armour, Holderness and Bourne, Wallaroo Hat Company, C4 Belts, and Rēvo.
Truth is, I missed a chunk of Gavin’s segments because I ran into none other than Miss Sarah Kellam! It was a surreal moment because for months, Sarah has been a person that I talk to through text, email, or Instagram DMs, but to actually see her and talk to her in-person was insane and easily the best part of my entire week.
But what I can tell you is that there are a lot of smaller brands that deserve your attention when it comes to how good you look on the course (let me also mention my friends at Draw & Fade Modern, because without them I wouldn’t be a golf writer).
Being behind-the-scenes, gave me the opportunity to talk to the master-minds behind every product we saw. Just last week, I wrote about how expensive golf is, but there’s a catch-22 with everything. Behind the clothes, or the shoes, there’s someone’s creative vision. For most of these brands, there’s a story filled with sacrifices and struggles to get them where they are now and that deserves support.
By Thursday morning I was exhausted. Making content is hard work, and Gavin went full Hollywood on me! But once again, it brought on a new day with new things to see, so I drank my chai latte and prepared for another day on the floor.
The first half of our morning was spent with the guys from Eastside Golf and their production team. Gavin is friends with the founder and co-founder, Olajuwon Ajanaku and Earl Cooper, and he had been wearing their stuff all week long. The three of them walked the floor, checking out different booths and getting noticed by people all over. As a sister, it was a special moment to see these three friends get the recognition I have witnessed them work hard for. As a black golfer, it’s difficult to put into words how much pride I had watching them with cameras following behind them because they are the stars. It’s proof that anyone that wears Black skin crafts their own Black history — and that’s special.
The rest of our day was filled with trying new gadgets, like the Theragun, swing-analyzing insoles from Salted, and speaker tumblers from Vibe.
There were so many booths that it was overwhelming, and this year was considered to be small! Looking ahead, I hope I get to experience the show in all its glory, in a post-pandemic world.
Being that we are still living in a COVID reality, I felt safe throughout my entire experience, and I know it took a lot of hard work to ensure that everything went smoothly. The PGA Show is so important to those young golf professionals who are trying to make a name for themselves. You really have no idea who you’re going to meet or if there’s a brand or piece of equipment that can propel you into your next journey.
For the recreational golfer, like you and me, it’s a cool experience to see new things, and stay on top of what’s hot in golf. All the training aids, the fashion, the tools that make your weekend rounds more fun (like the water bottle with a built in speaker).
I’m so fortunate that my first show was such an “insider” experience. All week long I got to network and engage with some really cool people and did so alongside my favorite person — my brother. The team we worked closely with from the PGA of America were so kind to us and it reassured me that there are folks in the industry who are working towards making the game more diverse, and granting opportunities to its members of color.
“When we’re talking about diversity, it’s not a box to check. It is a reality that should be deeply felt and held and valued by all of us”. — Ava DuVernay
This week in women’s golf
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Five at The IX: 5 Black-owned golf courses/clubs in the US
In honor of Black History Month, over the next couple of weeks, I want to shed light on the ways in which the Black community has impacted the world of golf.
Since June of 2020, there has been a cultural shift to do more to support Black-owned businesses.
I did some research and for this week’s Five at The IX, I want to highlight five Black-owned and ran golf courses.
Clearview Golf Club, Canton, Ohio
Remember my first Five at The IX from this year? Well our friend Renee Powell makes a comeback! Her father, Bill Powell, built this course in 1946!
Innisbrook Golf Resort, Palm Harbor, Florida
Shelia Johnson, co-founder of BET and the first Black woman to attain a net worth of a billion dollars, bought Innisbrook back in 2007. Talk about a badass! She wasn’t familiar with golf when she bought the land, due to the strict rules of golf keeping people that looked like her out private courses, she never had an interest, but now she’s the brains behind a successful golf club.
Martin Downs Golf Club, Palm City, Florida
Stanley Campbell is a man that has paved his way as a successful information technology entrepreneur (his predictive analysis models helped catch the BTK Killer, and as a college student he wrote the algorithm for the Voyager 2 spacecraft). I could go on about Campbell, his resume is extremely impressive, but owning Martin Downs was a passion project for him, and he’s been changing the culture of how data analytics and golf can co-exist and do some good.
The Grove XXIII, Hobe Sound, Florida
Now out of all the courses on my list this one is a bit…uncanny. The Grove XXIII is owned by none other than Michael Jordan and it is beyond exclusive. I don’t think any of us will be making a visit, but it’s still cool and worth a mention on this list.
Marlton Golf Club, Upper Marlboro, Maryland
“The Marlton” was closed indefinitely until a new owner group, HWVJ Enterprises, swept in and bought the property. They have a vision of re-establishing the course within the community and being a place for golfers of all skill levels can feel at home.
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