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Most Successful And Famous Black Golfers


White people dominate golf. But, over the years, black people have made their way and become some of the most successful players in the game. 

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This article looks at the most successful and famous black golfers in the game. Charlie Sifford, Lee Elder, Ann Gregory, Tiger Woods, Althea Gibson, Jim Dent, Calvin Peete, Renee Powell, Bill Spiller and Harold Varner III.

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1. Charlie Sifford

Charlie Sifford was the first black golfer to play on the PGA tour and went on and won two events, the 1967 Greater Hartford Open and the Los Angeles Open in 1969.

Other events that he won include the United Golf Association National Negro six times and the Senior Championships in 1975. In 2004, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. This makes him one of the most successful and famous black golfers.

2. Lee Elder

Lee Elder who is one of the most successful and famous black golfers was a frequent visitor of the golf tour from a young age. He worked as a caddie.

He went on and received an invitation to join the PGA tour in 1971 in South Africa. In 1974, he joined the PGA tour in America and in 1975, he became the first black golfer to play in the Masters tournament.

He had 16 professional wins in his career which included:  

Four PGA tour wins

  • 1974: Monsanto Open
  • 1976: Houston Open
  • 1978: Greater Milwaukee Open
  • 1978: American Express Westchester Classic

He also had eight PGA tour wins.

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3. Ann Gregory

Ann Gregory was the first black woman to take to the course for a PGA tour event. Arthur Ash defined her as the best black female golfer and safe to say that he wasn’t far off. 

Ann was desired as the Queen of Negro Women’s Golf. During her career, she won quite a number of championships and inspired the formation of the  USGA committee.

4. Tiger Woods

I don’t need to dwell so much on Tiger Woods. We all know that he is one of the most successful and famous black golfers in the game. 

He burst into the scene in the 1990s and marked his first major victory in 1997 winning the Masters and becoming the first black man to do so. This kick-started an era where he solidified his name in golf history books. 

Tiger Woods has 15 major championship wins and held the number one spot for a record 683 weeks.

  • 2019-2020: ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP
  • 2018-2019: Masters Tournament
  • 2017-2018: TOUR Championship 
  • 2013: Farmers Insurance Open
  • 2013: World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational
  • 2013: World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship
  • 2013: THE PLAYERS Championship
  • 2013: Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard

5. Althea Gibson

In 1964, she became the first American to win the LPGA tour. Her highest ranking on tour was 27 and her best finish was second at the Le Immke Buick Open.

One of the most fascinating things is that she doubled up on tennis and achieved great things there as well. For that, she is one of the most successful and famous black golfers. 

6. Jim Dent

Jim Dent began his love affair with golf as a caddie when he was a youth. He worked at the Augusta National and Country Club. 

When he stepped into the professional scene in 1966, he became known for his swing. Throughout his career, he managed to win 12 tournaments and became one of the most successful and famous black golfers.

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7. Calvin Peete

Nicknamed the ‘King of Accuracy’ due to his perfection on the tee, Calvin Peete was at the top of the game before Tiger Woods arrived on the scene. 

He started his career late but his dedication saw him become one of the most successful and famous black golfers. For someone who taught himself the game, winning a total of 12 PGA events is quite an achievement. 

8. Renee Powell

After the successes of Ann Gregory, Renee Powell followed her up and became the second woman to play on the LPGA tour.

In 1977, she played in a man’s golf tournament and was the first woman to do. For her achievements, she was drafted into the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame and the PGA America Hall of Fame.

9. Bill Spiller

For someone who began his career when he was 30 years old, to win every tournament that was designed for black people is quite an achievement. 

Additionally, Bill Spiller played in an era where racial discrimination was strife and to cope with that is another milestone. For that, he was posthumously granted membership of the PGA tour in 2009.

10. Harold Varner III

By the time he turned professional in 2012, Harold Varner III had achieved success at the school level. He was so good that he became the first golfer in his school to be listed as the Conference USA Player of the Year.

On the professional tour, Harold achieved some level of success including winning the Australian PGA Championship.

That is our list of the most successful and famous black golfers. Do you agree with it?

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