PGA WORKS Beyond the Green Pays Homage to Tulsa Roots at 2022 PGA Championship
By PGA of America
CEO of Goldmill & Creator of Greenwood Ave. Brand, Trey Thaxton, Silhouette Sneakers Tulsa, Venita Cooper and VP of JORDAN Brand, Gentry Humphrey speak at the Style & Beats Panel discussion.
The message delivered at PGA WORKS Beyond the Green was simple: From Greenwood to the boardroom.
But a simple message doesn’t always mean the task is easy. That’s why this edition of Beyond the Green, a career-exploration event held Wednesday during the 2022 PGA Championship week at Southern Hills Country Club, was so important in letting underrepresented Tulsa-area youth know that there are career opportunities for them within the $84 billion golf industry – yep, even if they’ve never picked up a club or made a putt.
“The PGA of America is committed to making this happen, not only through Beyond the Green, but with all of our inclusion efforts,” PGA of America President Jim Richerson, General Manager of The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California, said in a video introduction. “Which is why we are so excited to engage with the Greenwood District and have leaders from the community in the room today to network with you about the history of the community and their journey.”
Among the other speakers were PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh and Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, a community organizer and Founder and Executive Director of the Terence Crutcher Foundation, which has a mission to “create just and liberated communities free from racial violence and harm.”
“The goal is to knock down the stereotypes about golf and to show them that there’s a place for them within the industry, no matter what kind of career they might be interested in,” said Rachel Melendez-Mabee, PGA WORKS Leader for the PGA of America.
Part of the festivities, which had a hyper-local focus on Tulsa and the Greenwood District (aka Black Wall Street) in particular, was a showcase for seven local artists. Paintings, graphic designs and even artwork with pairs of Nike Air Force 1s as the canvas were displayed for the audience, which included young people from OKC Fellows, Crossover Prep, Langston University of Oklahoma, the Terence Crutcher Foundation and other community organizations.
“They came here to represent,” said Jerica Wortham, the Project Director of the Greenwood Art Project. “To represent themselves, their art, their city and their district.
“It’s important to find spaces that we can show up as our full selves, and that we find artists brave enough to show their full selves, and to share our work in this unique city.”
The audience also got to hear from Gentry Humphrey, the VP of Jordan Brand, who is a catalyst in bringing the brand into the golf shoe and apparel space. He spoke during the “Styles & Beats” panel discussion and got the crowd of more than 100 people energized when he said he was giving out a pair of Air Jordans to whomever could answer this question: Aside from 23 and 45, what two numbers has Michael Jordan worn in his career?
After a few guesses, the right answer finally came through – 9 and 12 – and Gentry made sure to get the young man’s contact information to send him a brand new pair of J’s.
Overall, the event, which had the backdrop of the PGA Championship practice rounds happening yards away as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the Championship’s operations, was a hit for the Tulsa market. Local television news crews attended and interviewed several people in the audience, some of whom have never played golf and didn’t think they could work in the industry before this event. Now, they said, it was on their radars.
“They were in my shoes once, and that just shows that they really put their minds to it and they were passionate about golf,” said Nyia Green, one of the OKC Fellows. “And when I find something that I’m passionate about, I believe that I can really do it.”