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date: 01 December 2020


  • Wesley Borucki


Few African Americans have starred in the professional ranks of golf compared to their Euro-American counterparts (Tiger Woods could be seen as the obvious exception), but nonetheless they have made many contributions to the game as players and even caddies. Those competitors excluded for decades from competition on the PGA Tour formed their own tour, a training ground for those who would go on to integrate the tour.

Important African American contributions to golf date back to the 1800s. Dr. George Franklin Grant, a Boston dentist, received a patent for wooden golf tees in 1899, but he never marketed them. Sporting goods manufacturer Spalding profited from his invention in the 1920s, well after Grant's death. The first African American professional golfer, John Shippen, competed in the 1896 U S Open at Shinnecock Hills Country Club in New York where he caddied and learned golf from ...

A version of this article originally appeared in The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present.

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