Golfing with Pride: Celebrating the LGBTQ+ Golf Community in San Francisco
By Chris Noble
In 2019, PGA Professional Greg Fitzgerald, alongside Tom Smith, General Manager and PGA Professional at TPC Harding Park, embarked on a mission: to create the first-ever LGBTQ+ golf tournament. Fast forward to today, their vision has evolved into a powerful platform promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion in golf, while providing an authentic experience alongside PGA Professionals.
Partnering since its inception, the Northern California PGA Section and The First Tee of San Francisco have continued to support this transformative event. In 2022, Topgolf proudly joined in as the Presenting Sponsor.
Len Dumas, Executive Director of the Northern California PGA Section, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, "The Northern California PGA Section is proud to lend its support to PGA Member Greg Fitzgerald in his effort to promote inclusion in the game of golf and bring the San Francisco-area LGBTQ+ community together for a fun-filled day to benefit a great cause."
Over the past five years, the San Francisco Pride Golf Tournament has helped raise more than $300,000 for SF Pride (a grant-giving organization through its Community Partners Program for local LGBTQ+ charities and organizations).
“Raising much-needed funds for SF Pride is wonderful”, Fitzgerald said. “But as a PGA of America Professional, who is out as part of the LGBTQ+ Community, the best thing about our event is changing sports, and specifically the golf world.”
“Members of our community are now starting to feel welcome in an atmosphere that was not in the past. It’s a really exciting time being in our community, and also the sports world because we’re making it better for all.”
“The thing that is most important about continuing to make golf facilities and other sports atmospheres welcoming is that terminology is used correctly and that negative slurs based out of homophobia stop. And slowly but surely, I see a new kind of straight man emerging that speaks to the LGBTQ+ community in a welcoming tone, especially in younger generations.”
The event was presented in an easy and fun scramble format. Amateurs were invited to register individually or with a complete group of four other groups. Golfers who signed up individually or with two or three players were connected with others to complete the group.
During the SF Pride Awards Reception, the annual Prism Award was bestowed upon LPGA Professional and lifelong LGBTQ+ advocate Jamie Leno Zimron, in recognition of her outstanding leadership within the LGBTQ+ sports community.
“Sports is probably the hardest place to come out”, Leno Zimron said. "To have the PGA of America partner with San Francisco Pride and support the LGBTQ+ community at a major championship venue like TPC Harding Park is a huge step forward.”
The San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade, featuring over 250 parade contingents and more than 20 community-programmed stages and venues, stands as the largest gathering of the LGBTQ+ community and allies in the nation. Annually, it draws up to 700,000 attendees to Civic Center Plaza in downtown San Francisco. Since 1997, SF Pride has allocated over $3 million from the proceeds of the Pride Celebration and Parade to local non-profit LGBTQ+ organizations, as well as those addressing issues like HIV/AIDS, cancer, homelessness, and animal welfare.
For more information on the San Francisco Pride Golf Tournament or to make a donation to San Francisco Pride, please visit here.