For Monty Duncan, Black History Month is important because it’s a time when some great Americans who most people have never heard about get highlighted for their contributions to our society. “It is also a great reminder of how little and how far we have come as a country,” said Duncan, general manager of Brentwood Golf Course, a nine-hole facility managed by Troon’s Indigo Sports brand and located near downtown Jacksonville, Florida.
That includes the golf industry, which Duncan acknowledges has been slow moving when it comes to inclusion. “There is progress being made in playing as we see partnership with the APGA and the PGA, and also with fittings and exemptions being provided for members of HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities),” he said. “As far as careers, I think there is more that could be done. A lot of African Americans just don’t realize how many careers are available in the golf industry and they shy away from researching the industry. Knowledge is needed.”
After a neck injury ended his football career prior to his senior year at the University of Florida, Duncan turned to golf. Starting at St. Johns Golf Club in northeast Florida, he did everything from working in the bag room to becoming an integral part of the local First Tee chapter. In 2015, he became general manager at Brentwood.
“I think there’s still a question of when a person of color works in the golf shop, how will guests deal with that person behind the register?” he said. “To a certain extent, the biggest obstacle is giving people of color the opportunity to work inside the golf shop instead of outside on the maintenance crew or doing the carts. I drive an hour to and from home every day because the opportunity to be a general manager was here. I couldn’t wait for that opportunity, I had to take it when it became available.”
Duncan has some simple advice for people of color interested in working in the golf industry. “Be the example,” he said. “Golf is a wonderful industry with many paths. Find something you love and chase it down.”
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