It’s no coincidence that the oldest African-American golf club for women in the United States originated at the course where African-Americans were first allowed to play golf.
The Wake-Robin Golf Club, which began at D.C’s Langston Golf Club in 1937, and celebrated its 80th anniversary Monday while hosting its annual golf tournament at the Woodmore Country Club in Mitchellville, Md.
Elizabeth Rice-McNeal, 99, is the oldest member of Wake-Robin and has enjoyed every moment of her 67 years of service.
“We work together to pull each other up — if you have, I have,” she said. “Those are the values that we want to spread through Wake-Robin.”
For 80 years throughout D.C metro area, the Wake-Robin Golf Club has made its presence felt through community service efforts and fellowship. The club aims to serve as an example that barriers can be broken within the sport, not just professionally but on a level of fellowship as well.
Rice-McNeal drew a parallel between the evolution of golf in the African-American community and blacks’ economic plight.
“Golf is an expensive sport to participate in, especially for the youth,” she said. “If we can assist them financially and keep them engaged in the sport, we have done our job to society.”
The Royal Golf Club, a brother association of Wake-Robin, participated in Monday’s ceremony, represented by Lamont Baxter and Alfred Coates. Royal Golf assists Wake-Robin in their scholarship foundations by donating money to their charity.
“It’s like brothers and sisters, we get along, compete and go to events together,” Coates said. “Wake-Robin was inducted into the National Golf Hall of Fame in 2013, and the Royals in 2015, it’s truly a blessing. I want to see African-American women golfers turn pro, and set an example for young women that this is possible.”
Kimberly Robinson, the newest president of Wake-Robin, works diligently to lead by example and make a difference of involvement in the African-American community amongst young women.
“We go out to all the local high schools and talk to the young ladies who are interested in golf,” she said. “It’s a part of the criteria for our scholarship program.”
Robinson also touched on the financial issues surrounding golf among the youth.
”We offer golfers on tour financial assistance, we are doing everything we can to lessen the burden and keep them involved,” she said. “By making their presence known through social media and staying in the local high schools. We let the young women know the resources available to them.”
Debbie Tyner is a new member to Wake-Robin but has already felt their impact on young women as they’ve opened the door for them to golf.
“It’s something to celebrate, 80 years is simply amazing,” Tyner said. “I had been used to playing with ladies my age or older, but the way that Wake-Robin connects with the surrounding effort made me want to be associated with them life.”