Founded in 1937, Wake-Robin Golf Club is the oldest African American women’s golf club in the United States.
We sat down with Desiree Walker, who has been a member of Wake-Robin Golf Club (WRGC) since 2019, serving as past Chair of the 2022 Helen Webb Harris 85th Anniversary Tournament Committee, past Chair of the 2022 WRGC Scholarship Committee, current Chair of the 2023 WRGC Tournament Committee as well as a current WRGC Board Member. She shared with us some history of the club, which also let her to develop her Road2Par golf business and podcast.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about WRGC and its history with Langston:
In 1939 Langston Golf Course was built as a result of a petition made by the Wake-Robin Golf Club (WRGC), spearheaded by Helen Webb Harris and twelve founding members to Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes. The founding members, several of whom were wives of Washington’s All-Black, all-male Royal Golf Club, Inc., were tired of sitting home on weekends while their husbands played golf. Both WRGC and the Royal Golf Club, Inc., continued to press Secretary Ickes to desegregate the city’s other public courses and in 1941 an order was issued to open public golf courses to all. Langston is HOME to the Wake-Robins and the Royals.
Today WRGC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has contributed to many charitable entities over its history. The activities and functions administered by WRGC allow us to continue the legacy started in 1937 to foster, perpetuate, and advance women’s interest in golf.
The Helen Webb Harris Scholarship honors the memory of the legendary Helen Webb Harris, founder of the Wake-Robin Golf Club. The club is proud to sponsor scholarships for college bound minority female students who have distinguished themselves in golf, academics, and community involvement. Scholarships are awarded to assist in paying for tuition, books, or living expenses for students pursuing a college education at an accredited college that has a golf program or golf management major.
There are 76 members ranging in age from 16 to 99 years old. Three are Junior members who are high school and college students.
Q: What are the WRGC goals for 2023:
1) To provide a schedule of play that will allow WRGC members to develop and sharpen their golf skills while fostering a stronger sisterhood.
2) To promote the growth of women’s golf by incorporating a “Buddy System” to welcome and orientate first year WRGC members.
3) To host a golf tournament fundraiser that will award the Helen Webb Harris Scholarship to graduating high school Black female students who are college bound to pursue an education at an accredited college that has a golf program or golf management major.
4) To be an advocate for positive change on issues of importance to women golfers such as equity and inclusion.
Q: How can we as a golf industry help to bring more awareness to minorities in golf?
By continuing to promote minority golf clubs in the media, especially those that advocate mentoring to youth minority golfers. Highlighting the achievements and successes of minority female golfers, particularly junior golfers who continue to sharpen their golf skills that qualify them for competitive play.