Shoal Creek Isn’t the Only All-White Club : Golf: A survey shows that of 21 private courses scheduled to hold championships over the next five years, 15 have no black members.

From Associated Press

Professional golf is almost exclusively a white game played on white courses, with no black members in 15 of 21 private clubs chosen to hold national pro and amateur championships over the next five years.

An Associated Press survey shows that all-white private clubs will be the sites for the next four PGA championships, three of four U.S. Opens through 1995 and the next two U.S. Women’s Opens and U.S. Women’s Amateurs.

Most private clubs are tight-lipped about membership rosters, especially in the wake of the uproar preceding this week’s PGA Championship at Shoal Creek Golf Club in Birmingham, Ala. But some members and officers are more revealing.


“We have a female doctor of Chinese descent who plays frequently,” said Bob Laubach, a member at Crystal Downs in Frankfort, Mich., site of the 1991 U.S. Senior Amateur. “But I believe her husband is the member.”

There are no blacks or women at Oak Tree in Edmond, Okla., host of the 1994 PGA, but club president Hugh Edgmon said he “suspects” there are some Hispanics because “some members have dark-colored skin.”

For all the reticence, all but one of the 22 private courses contracted for future PGAs, the U.S. men’s, women’s and senior opens and the U.S. men’s, women’s and senior amateurs provided at least limited information about their memberships.

The exception was Oakland Hills in Birmingham, Mich., site of the 1985 U.S. Open and next year’s U.S. Senior Open. Club General Manager Ray White said there was no policy against minority members, but, citing a “traditional policy of confidentiality,” he would not say if any are currently in the club.

The survey also found that:

* At least one club has no women members, while one also has no Jewish members and four include no Hispanics.

* While most all-white clubs have no written policies against black members, many say no blacks have ever applied, perhaps discouraged by steep membership fees and dues.


* The major seniors tournaments have the best record. Two of the next three senior amateurs and two of the next four senior opens are at integrated clubs.

The PGA Tour said last week that it will give no new tournament contracts to any course that has even the appearance of discrimination. But that effects only tour events and not the major championships--the PGA and the various events run by the USGA.

Patrick J. Rielly, president of the PGA of America, which conducts the PGA Championship, said a new site-selection policy is being formulated by that organization.

“Exclusionary membership factors of a host site are a factor which must be considered,” Rielly said.

But through 1994, the PGA is scheduled to be held at all-white clubs--Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind., in 1991, Bellerive in St. Louis in 1992, Aronimink in 1993 and then Oak Tree.

“It starts with the way we conduct our national championships and where we take them,” agreed USGA President Grant Spaeth. “We can’t say anymore that we’re simply leasing the property for the week of competition and everything’s OK if there’s no discrimination that week.”