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37th Annual HBCU Golf Invitational Preview

37th Annual HBCU Golf Invitational Preview
Posted By: Reginald Culpepper on September 21, 2022


37th Annual HBCU Golf Invitational Preview

Event Summary

• Top Division I and II HBCU’s will play in the tournament
• The event is hosted by the Black College Golf Coaches Association (BCGCA)
• The BCGCA is a 501(c)3 with the mission to enhance and preserve Black college golf programs by fostering the development of coaches and players
• September 26-27th at Chateau Elan Golf Club in Braselton, GA
• Both Women’s and Men’s teams will participate
• Florida A&M, Chicago State, and Tennessee State are among the top programs playing in the Division I competition
• Livingstone College and Miles College lead the way for the Division II schools
• Eddie Payton, Art Gelow and Clifton Johnson will be inducted into the Inaugural Hall of Fame Class in conjunction with the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame
• The 37th annual National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame event has been a staple for the BCGCA with more than 6000 student athletes participating in the event since its inception in the late 1980s
• We are proud to have our first Hall of Fame induction for our BCGCA coaches
• The BCGCA is supported by Farmers Insurance® as part of their ongoing efforts to further diversity in golf

This will be the 37th year of this tournament, including collegiate talent from seven Division I golf programs and nine Division II programs. The 2022 field will be the largest in the history of the tournament.

Event Schedule

Friday, Sept. 23
• 11:00 a.m. Inaugural BCGCA HOF induction ceremony at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Atlanta

Sunday, Sept. 25
• Practice round – tee times between 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
• Evening – welcome reception, coaches meeting

Monday, Sept. 26
• First day of competition
• 36 holes
• Shotgun start, 8:00 am
• Dinner – sponsored by HOF committee of ATL

Tuesday, Sept. 27
• Final Round of competition
• 8:30 a.m. Shotgun start, awards ceremony to follow

Teams

Division 1
Florida A & M
Tennessee State University
Virginia State University
Alabama A&M University
Arkansas Pine Bluff
Chicago State University
North Carolina Central

Division 2
Winston Salem State University
Miles College
Livingstone College
Morehouse College
St. Augustine University
Fayetteville State University
Fisk University
Johnson C. Smith University
Wilberforest University

Women’s Competition
Wilberforest University

BCGCA HALL OF FAME

During this year’s event there will be three Hall of Fame inductees that will be recognized during Monday night. They will be inducted into the Inaugural Hall of Fame Class in conjunction with the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame. The BCGCA is honored and excited to host this event during the tournament.

Eddie Payton:

The First Inductee is Eddie Payton, he is a native of Columbia, MS, and is a 1973 graduate of Jackson State University. While at Jackson State, Eddie was a four-year letterman, three year all SWAC player, SWAC Offensive Player of the Year, Ebony All American, and NAIA All American. Payton was an NFL running back and kick returner who played five seasons in the NFL from 1977 to 1982. He played for the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings. After retiring from the NFL, Payton returned to Jackson State to take the helm of the men’s golf program. In 1995 he started the women’s golf program. During his 30 years at Jackson State, his men’s golf team won 25 conference championships and his women’s team won 16 conference championships.
Eddie has been inducted into the Marion County Sports Hall of Fame, Jackson State University Sports Hall of Fame, SWAC Hall of Fame, National Black Golfers Hall of Fame, and the African American Golf Association Hall of Fame. Eddie is the Executive Director of the Payton Family Foundation, which has awarded 92 scholarships totaling over 3.1 million dollars.

Art Gelow:

Art Gelow was born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan. In high school he played basketball, football, and track and won various awards. These accolades include featuring all state and conference for both basketball and football. While also making all state for track in the three years he participated in. During the success of his high school career, Gelow was recruited by over 100+ schools for college.
He started his freshman year playing college ball at Bradley University, but he transferred to the University of South Dakota during his sophomore year. Once he transferred, he immediately started on the team for three seasons and made All-Conference.

After his talented basketball career at the University of South Dakota, he decided to take the reins of coaching. Gelow coached basketball and golf in where continued success would grow. For basketball, he coached over 3 different college teams and had a record of 286-61. During his golf coaching career, he coached multiple teams and has won over 30+ Division I golf tournaments. Gelow’s impact on the programs that he has coached has been the reason why he is an inductee into the National Collegiate Alumni Hall of Fame.

Clifton Johnson:

Clifton Johnny Johnson, Jr. is a native of San Antonio, Texas and a graduate of Phyllis Wheatley High
School. He served in the Korean Conflict from 1953-1955 and received an honorable discharge. Mr. Johnson entered Prairie View A & M University (PVAMU) in 1957 and graduated in 1961 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education. He received his Master of Science in Physical Education from PVAMU in August 1966.

During his matriculation at PVAMU, he won three Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) singles Tennis championships in 1958, 1960 and 1961. Johnson also won three SWAC doubles championships in 1958, 1959 and 1960 and the American Tennis Association (ATA) National Intercollegiate Singles Championship in 1960. Johnson was a member of the All- SWAC team from 1957-1960 and was voted Most Outstanding Athlete at Prairie View A & M in 1961.

Johnson was inducted into the Prairie View A&M University Sports Hall of Fame in 1989 and was a 2006 SWAC Hall of Fame inductee. He was also inducted into the Southern University Sports Hall of Fame in 2008; the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame in 2009; and the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2016. This induction will be his sixth Hall of Fame induction. After 31 years of service, he retired from Southern University in 1998.



BCGCA

The BCGCA is a 501(c)3 that provides student athletes from around the world with unique opportunities to compete in college golf while developing academic and interpersonal skills to compete in the real world on a global scale. The core of our efforts is to help HBCU schools support the completion of degrees through golf and increase the support of talented individuals to pursue their dreams.

ABOUT FARMERS INSURANCE SUPPORT OF THE BCGCA

In 2021, Farmers Insurance and the Black College Golf Coaches Association (BCGCA) announced Farmers® as the presenting sponsor of four annual BCGCA events. Farmers is the first sponsor that the BCGCA has announced specific to HBCU golf events. In addition to sponsoring BCGCA tournaments, Farmers Insurance plans to provide access to professional development, internships, and other resources for BCGCA players to help further support their career development and professional aspirations.

“We hope that working with the BCGCA can help further our efforts to foster diversity in the game and create opportunities for players to grow through their college experience,” said Jenny Howell Head of Brand and Consumer Marketing for Farmers Insurance. “Providing players at HBCUs with access to professional development, career fairs and networking opportunities as well as golf competition support, can help empower these college and amateur athletes to pursue careers in golf on the course and off. We look forward to engaging with the BCGCA and its players to help more HBCU golfers achieve their dreams of playing golf professionally.”

“Farmers Insurance has shown incredible support in further diversifying golf through their efforts with the APGA Tour and beyond,” said BCGCA President Craig Bowen. “To have them support these events will not only provide HBCU programs and players with additional opportunities to compete and hone their game, but also show the rest of the corporate community that they can make a difference. This is a pivotal moment for golf at HBCUs and with organizations like Farmers taking the lead, I truly believe that we can make a difference in this great sport.”

Farmers has a proud history of championing diversity in the golf space. The national insurer group has provided funding for APGA TOUR events and the organization’s development programs, sponsored players including Kamaiu Johnson and Willie Mack III, hosted the third annual APGA Tour Farmers Insurance Invitational event in parallel with PGA TOUR tournament at the 2022 Farmers Insurance Open® and provided APGA Players, Ryan Alford and Kamaiu Johnson with sponsor’s exemptions into the 2022 Farmers Insurance Open.

CHATEAU ELAN GOLF CLUB

Few golf destinations possess the beauty and variety of Chateau Elan Golf Club’s 45 holes of championship golf. From the rolling Georgia hills of the Woodlands greens to the serene valley lakes that distinguish the Chateau’s fairways, our two 18-hole courses and Executive Par 3 course are unique in character and design.

Chateau Elan Golf Club is the perfect destination for golf tournaments of every size and scope. From small corporate and social outings to large charity fundraisers, Chateau Elan can host competitive tournaments for up to 400 golfers at a time, complete with catering, amenities, and accommodations that are second to none.

WHY BLACK COLLEGE GOLF MATTERS

Quotes from current professional golfers on why it’s important to further development of HBCU golf.

“I was going to attend Michigan State and I wanted to go somewhere that the culture fit and where I could start something and help others follow in my footsteps,” said Willie Mack III, recent APGA Tour Championship winner and 11-time tournament winner at Bethune Cookman. “When I hopefully reach the PGA TOUR full time, it will show other kids like me that it’s possible. A lot of the HBCUs don’t have a place to practice or play every day. If they can play on better courses and have better facilities, golf clubs and match some of the elements of bigger schools, it will make a huge difference. The school I played for is no longer offering a men’s golf program. So, I’m just hopeful they can get golf to return as a program and get things going in the right direction. Support like this from Farmers is a huge step and hopefully more companies will join in to support golf at HBCUs.”

“I wanted to have a college experience with kids that were predominantly African American and Florida A&M provided that for me,” said Mulbe Dillard, APGA Tour Member. “Having Farmers support HBCUs is huge, and we need more companies and support to increase the level of our facilities and resources. Bigger schools have resources, facilities and equipment that can help better prepare their players for success. I think the biggest difference is other schools play and practice on courses and conditions that prepare them for what they will face in a tournament, while many HBCUs simply don’t. Right now, it’s difficult to find African American kids to compete. The more support HBCUs receive, the better the facilities can be, the better the pathway is for HBCU athletes into professional golf and the better these coaches will be able to recruit.”

“It was pretty special to be able to play college golf with other black golfers who were on the same level as I was with the same dreams. It was really eye opening,” said Alabama A&M graduate Rovonta Young. “Everyone pushes each other. Everyone is there for the same reason. Farmers getting involved is great. With Farmers backing a lot of events it will open up opportunities. A lot of black players don’t have the same opportunities to develop at an early age, so having HBCUs as an avenue to progress and get to the next level is vital to increase diversity in the game. Funding is a problem. These guys need access to top-level golf courses. In the summer, after the season, they are playing in U.S. Am qualifiers, U.S. Open qualifiers and State Opens, and the caliber of golf courses are top tier compared to what HBCUs practice on and these players have the game, but generally don’t have the access to top level clubs. This can make for an uneven playing field.”

“When I got to Florida A&M, it was great to just see people that looked like me progress and excel in every endeavor that they pursued. That motivated me even more,” said recent Florida A&M graduate Cameron Riley who finished 4th in the APGA Collegiate Rankings. “The biggest step that we have to create a more level playing field is access to good courses, good coaching, good equipment. In Tallahassee, we didn’t have a home course until my senior year. We bounced around, played on driving ranges that simply weren’t up to speed with other facilities. Then we show up to courses at regionals and we play on greens that are 13 or 14 on the stimpmeter and we aren’t used to those conditions. Sponsors like Farmers, big ups to them for helping us with more access. Giving us better resources and better access is key and it’s great that organizations like Farmers are trying to help.”
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