Black History Month is a time for reflection and education according to Steve Outlaw, director of golf at Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club, a Troon-managed property in Arizona. “More importantly, it’s a celebration of those who’ve impacted not just the country but the world with their activism and achievements,” he said. “It offers an opportunity to reimagine what possibilities lie ahead.”
Outlaw believes the golf industry has been taking great strides at the playing level with organizations like the Advocates Pro Golf Tour, founded in 2010 to bring greater diversity to professional golf. In terms of career growth, there are opportunities through the PGA and PGA Works, along with programs such as PGA LEAD, which was created to identify, mentor, and progress PGA Members from diverse backgrounds along a guided path to volunteer leadership roles within the Association. “It’s great to also see Troon continue to be a trendsetter in the industry with the formation of our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council, and bringing in the expertise of Kendall Murphy to lead that effort.”
Outlaw’s passion for the golf industry started with his participation in The First Tee as a teenager growing up in Indiana and while at Georgetown College in Kentucky, where he was one of the first African-Americans to play golf in the Mid-South Conference. “It also gave me insight into how much more help was needed, particularly for communities of color,” he said. “I had the opportunity of growing up around some great golf professionals, who took time out of their busy schedules to mentor and further help develop my skill sets.”
Outlaw was part of the first class at the PGA of America’s post–university diversity program in Port St. Lucie, Florida. “We want the game to mirror society more and it doesn’t right now,” he said. “I think we have 185 African Americans within the PGA of America, and the organization has 29,000 members. We have a long way to go.”
What continues to drive and inspire Outlaw today are the countless individuals he knew of growing up, and still knows today, who were just as qualified as he was but were not presented with the same opportunities. “In an industry so vast, with countless opportunities, we still have a way to go to ensure the next generation is in a better position to succeed,” he said.
Learn more about Troon’s DE&I Initiatives, Associates and Stories.