MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Las Vegas native Mackenzie Mack said she was looking to fill a void in Memphis.
“My goal is to bring in as many different people and make it a sport for everyone,” Mack said.
She said most kids in the African American community aren’t exposed to the game of golf. She wanted to change that.
“I don’t jump very high,” Mack said. “I don’t run very fast so golf kind of fit me. If somebody hadn’t told my mom hey put your daughters in golf I wouldn’t be sitting here.”
Golf took Mack all over the country. She earned a full golf scholarship to Indiana State and now is the Tennessee Golf Foundation’s West Tennessee Region Director.
As the World Golf Classic continues at TPC Southwind, Mack said the lack of Black participation in golf was glaring.
“Has some work to do to say the least,” Mack said. “You can see that in whose out there right. It speaks for itself of whose out there. Who’s actually playing. Whose participating.”
This is where The First Tee comes into play. The non-profit offers instruction for kids ages 5 to 18. They provide clubs, balls and shoes.
Mack said no child is turned away.
Mack hoped the program opens a new path to free educational opportunities. She’s even created a directory of golf programs across the country as a resource.
“This is the men’s,” she said. “That’s how many options you have to play college golf and get a scholarship. This is the girls. All of these schools are looking for girls to play.”
Mack said the goal isn’t to force the game on kids. She said exposure to another option is the mission.
“They may not like it,” she said. “Everybody doesn’t like golf just like everybody doesn’t like all the other sports. But I don’t want any child in Memphis to say they’ve never played the game or they’ve never had the opportunity.”
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