Growing up in Oakland didn’t provide Tiffany Fitzgerald with much exposure to the sport of golf. But years later, living and working in a white male dominated industry in Iowa, Fitzgerald had an epiphany regarding her career—she realized a lot of decisions were happening on the golf course, and she did not want to be left out.
“I wondered what was happening…I was getting to work early, staying late, working hard, but that wasn’t yielding the results I wanted. The men who played belonged to this secret fraternity,” Fitzgerald told Golf Digest. As she recalled, “I had my head down…I was busy checking off all the boxes: go to college, get a good job, do all those things…No one told me to play golf, though…I invited myself, and it was probably, even to this date, still one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life: not knowing what to do, where to stand, when I could talk, when I couldn’t talk, swinging, and missing.”
Even after purchasing golf clubs and enrolling in a lesson at her local municipal course, Fitzgerald “was so uncomfortable—being the only Black golfer in the group and feeling like a clear afterthought—that she taught herself how to play.”
After falling in love with playing the game, Fitzgerald wanted to ensure that others did not have to endure a similar experience like her own introduction to the sport, and that provided the fodder for started her organization, Black Girls Golf. For her first event in 2012, Fitzgerald wrote a Facebook post and approximately two dozen women showed up to an Atlanta golf course.
Entrepreneurship is not always easy, but luckily Fitzgerald made the decision to “just [stick] with it. I knew that this was something that had to happen because Black women have certain perceptions about golf that it’s boring, it’s expensive, it’s for old white men…Golf isn’t really a sport that meets people where they are. I felt like Black Girls Golf could be the bridge…The goal really is to normalize seeing Black women in these…I want to be able to show up with as many Black women as I can on the golf course and people not be shocked and surprised.”
Almost a decade after founding Black Girls Golf, the organization has grown to include over 4,000 members across the nation and internationally. Fitzgerald “has been featured in Women’s Golf Journal, Black Enterprise Magazine and several sports and business radio shows and publications to promote diversity in golf and to share her experience as a golfer. Black Girls Golf has also established the Black Girls Golf Foundation, a 501(c)(3) with a mission to create a more diverse pipeline of leaders in the golf industry.”