Sources of Stress and Relief for African American Women

By Catherine Fisher Collins | Go to book overview

Next let's turn our attention to a stress buster that is not so strenuous; however, it requires equally strong legs and feet, a sense of coordination, and the ability to point in the right direction. I am thrilled to introduce you to or reacquaint you with the wonderful world of golfing, our next stress buster. And I applaud and encourage those who are already easing stress out on the links.


SWING AND PING—THE SOUNDS WE LIKE TO
HEAR: GOLF

Golfing was one of the African American community's favorite recreational sports long before Tiger Woods was conceived. It's hard to believe that most Americans attribute African Americans' interest in golf to this young man. Tiger, of course, has made his mark; however, many African Americans paved the way for him, making his life on the fairway much more bearable than it might have been otherwise and easing the way for him to compete in the prestigious Master's Tournament.

In their book, African American Golfers during Jim Crow Era, authors Marvin P. Dawkins and Graham C. Kinlock (2000) point out that the African American golfers of the 1920s learned the sport by caddying for white golfers on segregated golf courses. The next three decades would see a tremendous change in who was found on the golf course. Thirteen African American women, led by Helen Webb Harris, the wife of a physician, spearheaded efforts to integrate the golf courses of America. The Wake Royal Golf Club (founded in 1936 in Philadelphia) had three objectives: to cultivate golf as a pastime among African American women, to make potential players into champions, and to make a permanent place for African American women in the world of golf. These women went on to become some of the earliest activists, helping to pave the way for thousands of African American women's golf clubs. One such club, the Divot Divas of Atlanta, Georgia, was founded by Bernadette Carter-Jones in 1997 after the death of her eighteen-year-old son, Louis C. Hudson. When her son passed away on Valentine's Day 1996, she spent more than eight months alone. During this protracted period of grief-stricken solitude, she would take to the golf course to be alone where she, her son, and her daughter had golfed as a family. After this very difficult period, some close friends encouraged her to organize a club, so she organized the Divot Divas' Golf Group. The group's membership includes some of Atlanta's top African American women executives, who take to the course the second Wednesday of each month. It is a friendship golf group without the competitive edge. Members play golf, have lunch or dinner, and once a year they travel to renowned golf resorts in Hilton Head, Jamaica, or West Palm Beach.

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