Calvin Peete, golf pioneer, and winner of 12 PGA Tour events, was in Detroit this past Tuesday, promoting African American and youth golf.
In the 1980s, Peete was known as one of the straightest drivers of the ball, in spite of a crooked arm—the result of a childhood injury. He was on the 1983 and 1985 Ryder Cup teams, and was briefly in the Top 10 in the world golf rankings. He had four top ten finishes in Majors, coming as close as third in the 1982 PGA Championship.
Peete is a Detroit native. There is no doubt that Peete, along with Charley Sifford, Lee Elder, Ted Rhodes, Jim Thorpe and Bill Spiller, was a pioneer of African American golf. He was also, until Tiger Woods, the most PGA Tour’s winningest African American golfer.
Peete noted that in spite of Tiger Woods, the game still has not attracted large numbers of African Americans. He spoke on the difficulties:
“It’s being exposed to the game and the accessibility,” said Peete, a Detroit native. “Exposure has to come from the family, from the parents or from someone in the neighborhood who says, ‘I’m going to the golf course or driving range and you can come with me,’ and see if that kid is interested. You have to have that exposure.”
After his TPC event, Peete promoted a long drive contest at the Palmer Park golf course, in conjunction with the Hollywood Golf Institute. I’ve not heard of the Hollywood Golf Institute before, but it seems to be a charity aimed at introducing young people to golf. “Hollywood Golf” is a strange name for a Detroit based group, though.