Golf Apparel Brand Linksoul Celebrates the Barrier-Breaking Accomplishments of Lee Elder
By Ryan Adams, PGA
Lee Elder watches his shot in front of a small gallery during the 1975 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Augusta National/Getty Images)
Nearly 50 years ago, Lee Elder stood on the first tee at Augusta National Golf Club surveying the landing area for his tee shot just like every other player competing in the 1975 Masters Tournament alongside him.
Elder, however, was doing more than just hitting tee shots and competing in a major championship. He was breaking a longstanding barrier as the first Black golfer to compete in the Masters, an opportunity denied for years to Black golfers before him like Charlie Sifford. Elder playing in the 1975 tournament, as well as the 1979 Ryder Cup, paved a path for other Black golfers to see themselves competing at the highest level — most notably just two decades later, when Tiger Woods won the 1997 Masters.
The inspiring story of Elder’s trailblazing efforts was recently recognized by apparel company Linksoul, who hosted the first-ever Lee Elder Challenge at Goat Hill Park Golf Course in Oceanside, California, on March 18.
Open to the public and taking place on The Playground at Goat Hill Park — a 3-hole kids’ course designed by Gil Hanse —- all proceeds from the event went to the Lee Elder Trust to cover the healthcare costs of Elder’s wife, Sharon, as well as the Lee Elder Memorial Fund, which is helping grow the icon’s legacy and expand golf’s reach.
“It is heartening to see golfers and the golf community come together to celebrate Lee Elder’s accomplishments and continue to uphold his legacy,” said Linksoul Co-Founder John Ashworth. “By supporting the Lee Elder Trust and Memorial Fund, we can ensure that his impact on the game and the world continues to be felt for years to come.”
In addition to fundraising at The Lee Elder Challenge, Linksoul created a limited-edition Lee Elder X Linksoul capsule that pays tribute to Elder, commemorating his powerful race barrier-breaking moment at the 1975 Masters. It’s the second time Linksoul has created a line honoring Elder, and the new capsule includes T-shirts, hats, a ball marker, glove and golf towel, all complete with sleek designs and graphics with a green and yellow twist that would make the legend proud.
The capsule is available at Linksoul.com and all proceeds from purchases go to the Lee Elder Trust and Memorial Fund.