Celebrating Black History Month
February 08, 2023 by PGA REACH
In honor of Black History Month, we are proud to celebrate some of our PGA WORKS Fellows who are making a difference in the lives of others through the game of golf. PGA WORKS Fellows are on the front lines of connecting the game of golf people of all backgrounds and abilities.
PGA WORKS is a strategic initiative under PGA REACH and is designed to diversify the golf industry’s workforce. PGA WORKS leverages fellowships, scholarships, career exploration events, and the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship to inspire and engage talent from diverse backgrounds to pursue key employment positions across the golf industry.
Leaving Behind a Legacy
Currently serving as the Paul Millsap PGA WORKS Fellow in the Georgia Section, Destany Hall is redefining what it means to equip the next generation of young professionals by introducing a mentorship program for students and young adults across the Atlanta Metropolitan area. Hall has created a lasting legacy all her own in the last eight months – all while sharing a passion and drive for golf and the people it connects that hardly goes unnoticed.
After starting her Fellowship last summer in Georgia, Hall quickly came to this revelation of how she could instill the same values she’s learned through the game in young professionals and students, all by leveraging the same tool she used growing up: her local PGA Professionals.
In addition to engaging the next generation of young professionals, Hall also shares a passion for creating more representation in the golf industry. She says it was hard to find a PGA Professional of color – let alone a woman PGA Professional of color.
“It’s one of the biggest reasons I decided to pursue a PGA WORKS Fellowship,” says Hall. “I’ve always loved the game and what it’s given to me, but growing up I have also noticed the lack of diversity as a black woman in golf.”
Hall’s time in Georgia has convinced her that she is ready for whatever comes next in her career, but one thing is certainly clear: her legacy will continue to shape the sport of golf and beyond for those following in her footsteps.
“I’ve really tried to be intentional with my time, “says Hall. “What I love about the Fellowship is that it allows you to see what all is out there – even beyond golf. Thanks to the partnership between PGA WORKS, the Georgia PGA and the Paul Millsap Foundation, I feel like I’m already equipped for my next career move.”
A Full-Circle Moment
As a previous track and field student-athlete at SUNY (State University of New York) Cortland, golf was not part of the plan for Taylor Hunter when she graduated with a degree in sports management. As a senior, she ran across an opportunity to serve as the PGA WORKS Fellow for the Western New York PGA Section.
Passionate about the sports industry and how she can make a difference in the lives of others, Taylor’s perspective on her career has now shifted to being able to see herself working long-term in golf.
“The Fellowship has shown me how to be more confident and communicate effectively with people from so many different backgrounds. It’s something I can take with me and look back on – to be proud of something.”
Before Taylor wraps up her time with the Western New York PGA Section, she will get to play a major role in the 106th PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York – located in the Western New York PGA Section. Taylor says it’s already been the opportunity of a lifetime getting to play a part in the planning and execution of several PGA REACH special events surrounding the Championship. “It’s been incredible to learn the ins and outs of hosting a major sports event,” says Taylor. “Seeing it happen in my home Section makes it even more special.”
Taylor believes it’s all about the big picture and understanding how you can take what you learn and apply it to the future development of your career. She says others who are considering applying for the Fellowship should absolutely jump in head-first. It doesn’t matter if you have a golf background or not…it’s all about developing yourself and taking on those challenges.”
Taylor also emphasizes the importance of putting herself in front of more people and taking chances in her role. Her desire to gain more understanding and expertise is unmistakable and will carry her far as she progresses through her career.
As the first-ever APGA Tour (Advocates Professional Golfers Association) PGA WORKS Fellow, Rosa Jones is already on her way to leaving an indelible mark on the golf industry. A daughter of Rich Jones – a twenty-year PGA Professional – Rosa started playing golf at a young age. She says one of the biggest reasons she applied for the PGA WORKS Fellowship was that she saw it as an opportunity not only for herself to build her career, but as a way to change the narrative of representation in the golf industry.
Rosa is currently on the pathway to becoming a second-generation PGA Professional and one of the only black women PGA Professionals. “It means the world to follow in my father’s footsteps,” says Rosa. “In a way, I feel like I’m making my own history. To achieve something that is so close to my dad’s heart is really special.”
Rosa completed her graduate school at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and was a member of the inaugural women’s golf team. During this time, she also participated in the 2021 PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship at TPC Sawgrass – the most culturally significant championship in collegiate golf. “While I didn’t play the best, it was so fulfilling to see other players who look like me at this event. Having a full field of minority golfers in one place is so memorable.”
Rosa says there are common misconceptions about careers in the game of golf that need to change. She emphasizes how people only see players on the PGA Tour and think that’s the only opportunity to be successful in golf. “The most impactful part of being a PGA WORKS Fellow is all of the connections you make,” says Rosa. “When people think of golf as a career, they don’t think about all the different paths you can take. It’s been fulfilling and educational to learn about all of the options that are out there – to know that I can be in the industry long-term.”
As the golf industry continues making shifts to become more inclusive and welcoming to those who may not be exposed to the industry, Rosa wants to be on the front lines of these changes.
“I see the PGA WORKS Fellowship as something big. Growing up playing the game, I never really saw an opportunity for representation so this is my chance to make sure I leave the game better than I found it.”
While this remains a challenge Rosa believes it’s actually teaching her to have more confidence in herself. “I’ve definitely seen an improvement in my ability to become confident in areas that I wouldn’t necessarily think that I would be.”
The future PGA Professional played on the men’s golf team in high school because there was no women’s golf team. In her undergrad at Franklin Pierce University, Rosa was the only black girl on her team. While Rosa has already seen success in her role as a student and now a PGA WORKS Fellow, her focus on paving the way for the next generation has not wavered. “I think seeing more of us in these spaces will continue to become more crucial. I aspire to motivate young girls and be a role model for them,” says Rosa. “Ultimately, if you don’t see yourself in the spaces that you want to be in, that can be discouraging – I hope I am creating new spaces that young girls eventually want to see themselves in one day.”