QUEENS PRESS

United Black Golfers Break Stereotypes

Posted on May 9, 2014 by  in 

BY NATALIA KOZIKOWSKA

The United Black Golfers Association, a newly-established not-for-profit, is seeking to swing past stereotypes by rolling out a new co-ed golf club in Southeast Queens.

According to the group’s president, Vernel Bennett, UBGA’s mission is two-fold. The first is to expose residents in his community to the sport. The retired tax auditor from Laurelton said that he hopes this new golf club will help shatter the myth that golf is a “white man’s sport.”

Southeast Queens residents Vernel Bennett (right) and Jacques Leandre (left) have started a golf club in an effort to break racial stereotypes about the sport and to give back to the community.

Southeast Queens residents Vernel Bennett (right) and Jacques Leandre (left) have started a golf club in an effort to break racial stereotypes about the sport and to give back to the community.

“A lot of Blacks don’t play this particular sport because they don’t know it or understand it because they didn’t grow up with it as a child,” he said. “Some people still associate Black guys with basketball and white guys with golf. What we’re doing is opening of the eyes of the Black community to say you can play this sport.”

Bennett, who founded the group with Laurelton attorney Jacques Leandre, also said he has hopes of reaching out to the community’s youth by introducing them to a sport they might not normally consider playing.

“We’re trying to introduce the game to the younger guys also because this is a sport from the blue collar worker to the doctor,” he said.

UBGA’s second goal, Bennett said, is to become a beneficial resource in the community. The not-for-profit has vowed to donate funds raised at fundraisers to neighborhood kids in pursuit of higher education – either in college or a trade school.

“College is not for everybody, and we understand that. You might be a good mechanic and want to go to trade school,” he said. “If they are in a quality school, we will award them scholarship money toward school as a way to give back.”

Bennett also noted that UBGA will aim to support other nonprofits and charities in the area, so long as they share the same goal of serving the community.

Ironically, Bennett admits that when he first touched a golf club about seven years ago, he was put off by the sport. His first experience on a cruise ship with a less-than-pleasant instructor, he said, had driven him away from golf.

But luckily, a year later, Bennett decided to give golf another shot and this time around, there was no tearing him away from the course.

Soon after his passion for golf ignited, Bennett joined a golf association in Roosevelt, L.I., where he slowly began to rise up the ranks as a member of the executive board. A few years later, having realized there was a need for something like this in Southeast Queens, Bennett left the association to start UBGA.

“This is a club that is for anybody who wants to join. Our club is co-ed and is open to people who are expert golfers to people who have never played before,” he said. “Here in Southeast Queens, we have soccer leagues and baseball leagues, even tennis leagues, but we didn’t have a golf association.”

http://queenspress.com/united-black-golfers-break-stereotypes/

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United Black Golfers Association, Inc.