Black History Month highlights the struggles and successes of people of color for all to see. “It’s educational and relevant and inspiring… and necessary,” he said. “Change is slow.”
But it is happening. Take the Farmers Insurance sponsorship of the APGA (Advocates Pro Golf Association) Tour’s 36-hole tournament at Torrey Pines in San Diego last month, which included televised final round coverage for the first-time ever on Golf Channel. “An international audience was introduced to highly-skilled African American golfers,” said Crawford. “Some will be playing on the PGA Tour soon. 3-time PGA Tour winner Cameron Chance’s foundation is acquainting young people of color to the game. The PGA of America stays committed to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the process of making the game and the business diverse. The First Tee as well as Youth on Course are also supportive.”
While Crawford acknowledges that things have gotten better in terms of minorities playing the game, he also recognizes that the overall golf landscape still lacks diversity. “It takes a village… everyone in the game is responsible for growing the game, whether that’s bringing in more women, people of color, young or old,” he said. “We all have to do our part.”
Crawford, who shared the Arizona Golf Association’s 2020 Updegraff Award with his brother Derek (the general manager at Coldwater Golf Club in Avondale, Ariz.) for exemplifying the spirit of the game, has some straightforward advice for those looking to succeed in the golf industry.
“Work hard and do your homework,” he said. “Companies and organizations are looking for qualified African Americans to bring into their workforce. The golf business is filled with different types of opportunities beyond working at a golf club. Golf club manufacturers, apparel companies, and golf management companies all service the golf industry. Operators want people who can help them to become financially successful and bring good people to the team.”
One philosophy Crawford has followed throughout his career is never getting outworked. “I’m going to make sure that people who come to the course and engage with me will understand how important they are to where I am and to our business. It’s not about me. It’s about them.”
Learn more about Troon’s DE&I Initiatives, Associates and Stories.