Black Archives making documentary about history of segregation in golf


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Golf’s history is steeped in exclusivity.

From private golf courses to invitation only events — Black players haven’t always been welcome on the greens.

“The story of the Black golfers is the same story of our plight to try to make it in America. Golf just happened to be one of them,” Black Archives of Mid-America ombudsman, James Watts told FOX4.

Watts is putting together a documentary about Black golfers’ struggles and triumphs.

“It’ll show the systemic racism that went on in golf. It’ll show the professionalism. It’ll show the style, character of our brothers and sisters who played golf,” Watts said.

Filming has already started.

Watts and a crew from Reel Images will travel to different tournaments this summer, capturing footage and interviewing former players and experts.

The documentary will feature local and out of state courses and clubs, as access to these spaces was a nationwide problem for Black golfers.

“The opportunity to play golf, the struggle was not the private courses, it was the municipal courses — like Swope Park, Memorial, Heart of America. We only had a set of public courses through Swope Park,” Watts said. “They didn’t even want us to play on the municipal courses.”

As work on the documentary continues, the Black Archives wants to show that golf is more than a game.

“We’re really concerned about telling the truth in history. That’s what these exhibits are about,” Black Archives of Mid-America Executive Director Carmaletta Williams said. “One of those truths is that decisions about people’s lives, their economics, their education, their health, are made on the golf course.”

The film is set to be released in early 2022.

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