Historic Cedar Crest's Legacy Continues Through Two Aspiring PGA Professionals
By Hayden Lewis, PGA
Telvin Walker and Rosa Jones. (Hayden Lewis/PGA of America)
Over the last few years, golf has seen a shift.
New players, new golf facilities, new ways to play and welcome others to the game – it’s everywhere you look. People are flocking to their local golf course more than ever before, and the next generation of PGA Professionals are saying, "Welcome."
There are very few places where this is more evident than at Cedar Crest Golf Course, just south of downtown Dallas. Driving past the facility along Southerland Avenue, tucked back in a quaint neighborhood with rolling hills and sprawling live oaks, one may not assume much is happening on a warm, windy spring day in Texas – other than a few casual rounds of golf.
However, it's the exact opposite: Cedar Crest is literally is changing the faces who represent the game.
On the front lines of these efforts are Cedar Crest’s newest teammates, Rosa Jones and Telvin Walker – two PGA Associates eager to create something special through their shared love of the game. On the surface they may not seem to have very much in common, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll realize how both of them landing at a facility like Cedar Crest isn’t much of an accident at all.
A father-daughter bond
For Rosa, growing up on Long Island in New York under the watchful eye of her built-in coach and father, legendary PGA Professional Rich Jones, she had just as much a head start as anyone in the game.
“I’ve had a club in my hand since I was basically 3-years-old,” says Rosa. “I played a few other sports growing up, but golf was just something that always bonded my dad and I. It's even more special now that I'm on the same path as him to become a PGA Professional and I think he takes a lot of pride in that.”
As she spent her first few years of college playing golf at a smaller Division II private school, Rosa explains how she didn’t find a lot of purpose in the game until she transferred to Howard University. There she began to see more athletes who looked like her playing the game.
“Growing up, I never saw the diversity in the sport and I was the only one of my friends who played golf,” notes Rosa. “Other than the support I received from my family, I truthfully wasn’t encouraged to really love the game until my time at Howard.”
A 5 a.m. bus ride that ignited a passion
Similarly, for Telvin, born and raised in Washington, D.C., he was introduced to the game by way of the local recreation center when he took part in a golf clinic with other kids from his neighborhood at one of the facilities nearby.
“The first ball I hit maybe went thirty yards or so,” says Telvin. “But I remember having so much fun and already being excited for the next time I get to be on a golf course.”
By the time he was 13, Telvin would wake up at five o’clock in the morning to catch three buses to the nearest golf course – exhausting his five-dollar allowance. He would go on to play golf for Livingstone College while studying to become a lawyer, but after a conversation with one of his mentors, he realized golf was his ultimate path. He picked up a job at East Potomac Golf Course in the heart of D.C. and hasn’t looked back.
Early on, Rosa and Telvin pondered the same question – how could they stay in the game of golf and make this a true career? Through their relentless dedication and love for the game, they found their path.
The power of PGA WORKS
Previously known as the National Minority and Collegiate Championship – the most culturally significant championship in collegiate golf – Telvin and Rosa discovered just what they were looking for by playing in this one-of-a-kind event while they were in school. Now known as the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship, Rosa and Telvin agree this set the stage for new opportunities they didn’t think were possible.
Rosa sees this championship as a nod to the industry’s efforts for more representation in golf.
“Playing in the collegiate championship – even for just one year while I was at Howard – was so important to me,” says Rosa. “It caters to every skill level as the better players receive tournament exemptions while other student-athletes are able to see themselves as more than just players, but also contributors to the game.”
As a four-time participant of the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship, Telvin looks back on those competitions fondly. He even admits when he first attended the championship, and took part in the PGA WORKS Beyond the Green career exploration events, he still never thought golf was the path for him as a career. However, he shares that student-athletes who are struggling to know what direction to take their careers should consider the golf industry as a viable option.
“There’s something for everyone,” notes Telvin. “This championship does a great job of putting those opportunities directly in front of the student-athletes, which is most important.”
With the 2023 PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship starting in Birmingham, Alabama, this week, both Telvin and Rosa hope the participating student-athletes keep an open mind regarding their own careers and what those next steps may look like.
“It’s such a special opportunity for those players,” adds Rosa. “I just hope they soak it all up as much as they can.”
Finding fellowship and fairways at Cedar Crest
Telvin and Rosa also believe in the power of seeing what is possible first-hand – as cliché as it sounds, seeing really is believing.
“There are so many figures I still look up to who look like me, and I believe this gave me that extra motivation to pursue golf as my ultimate path,” says Telvin.
Another uniting factor for both Rosa and Telvin as they work together in their roles at Cedar Crest, is their history with the PGA WORKS Fellowship – a one-year paid immersion in a PGA Section’s operations that offers a taste of what a career in the golf industry can provide. Telvin served as the Sunny Harris Hutchinson PGA WORKS Fellow for the Carolinas Section and Rosa with the APGA (Advocates Professional Golf Association) Tour.
“It may sound strange, but working as a Fellow is kind of like drinking from a fire hose because you’re being exposed to so many new things and you’re only in that position for a year,” says Telvin, who serves as Cedar Crest’s First Assistant Professional, and feels his experiences with the Fellowship has prepared him for his position now.
In addition to her Assistant Professional duties, Rosa also serves in a new role as the Events Coordinator for the I AM a Golfer Foundation, Cedar Crest’s own 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which aims to be a catalyst for community renewal and transformation in South Dallas through the programming, preservation, and promotion of the historic A.W. Tillinghast design.
Both Rosa and Telvin are heavily involved with the outreach and programming through the foundation which includes in-school golf programs at local Dallas-area schools. They feel this is just a small piece to a legacy they hope to leave for the generation that comes after them.
“Walking into those sessions, I can remember seeing nine little girls who look like me and their eyes just lit up,” Rosa shares. “At the end of the day, if I can make a small difference then this is all worth it. I can only hope to be for those girls what I didn’t have when I was their age."
Telvin has now served as the First Assistant Professional for almost six months and with his operations background and wide range of experience, he feels right at home.
“It’s interesting because I feel like everything I’ve done in my career so far has actually trained me for this position,” Telvin shares. He feeds off of the familiarity and family-first mentality shared by the rest of the Cedar Crest staff, led by PGA Director of Golf Ira Molyao, who has worked at Cedar Crest for almost fifteen years.
“Having Telvin and Rosa join our team means we have an opportunity to represent golf in new and unique ways,” says Ira. “I’m so excited to work with them everyday and love what they bring to our team-focused environment.”
The Cedar Crest legacy starts a new generation
Boasting an already cherished and rich history, Cedar Crest is poised to take that next step into what feels like the facility was always destined for – to welcome new players.
Host of the 1927 PGA Championship, the storied grounds have staged incredible moments, like golf pioneer Charlie Sifford winning the 1954 United Golf Association’s National Negro Open. Later this year, the facility will etch another mark into its history when it hosts the first-ever Southwest Airlines Showcase – a championship created exclusively to feature the top 50 black collegiate golfers in the country.
Likewise, the soon-to-be PGA Professionals say they feel prepared to add their own chapters to the history books at Cedar Crest.
“It’s hard to tell where I will be in five or ten years from now,” says Rosa. “But regardless of where I am, I know that I’m going to be growing and just striving to get better every day – it feels good to be starting that journey here with this team.”
Adds Telvin, with his signature beaming smile: “I’m just really looking forward to being able to call myself a PGA Member. If you’re going to leave a legacy, I think this is the place to do it.”
Learn more about the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship and the PGA WORKS Fellowship here.