It’s ironic that the oldest African-American golf club for women in the United States was originated at the course where African-American’s were first allowed to play golf. That’s the case for the Wake-Robin Golf Club, who’s genesis began at Washington D.C’s Langston Golf Club in 1937. For 80 years throughout D.C and Maryland metro area, the Wake-Robin Golf Club has made their impact felt through community service efforts and fellowship. Wake-Robin celebrated their 80th anniversary while hosting their annual golf tournament at the Woodmore Country Club in Mitchellville, Md.
Elizabeth Rice-McNeal, 99, is the oldest member of Wake-Robin and has enjoyed every moment of her inclusion as this is her 67th year of service. McNeal went on to explain Wake-Robin as a true sisterhood. “We work together to pull each other up; if you have, I have. Those are the values that we want to spread through Wake-Robin,” McNeal said. Wake-Robin serves as a model that barriers can be broken within the sport not just on a professional level but on a level of fellowship. McNeal further analyzed the evolution of golf in the African-American community, relating it to the plights in economics. “Golf is an expensive sport to participate in especially for the youth if we can assist them financially and keep them engaged in the sport, we have done our job to society,” McNeal quoted.
The Royal Golf Club, a brother association of Wake-Robin also participated as was represented by Lamont Baxter and Alfred Coates. Royal Golf assists Wake-Robin financially in their scholarship foundations by donating money to their charity. “It’s like brothers and sisters, we get along, compete and go to events together,” Coates said. Wake-Robin was inducted into the National Golf Hall of Fame in 2013, and the Royals in 2015, it’s truly a blessing,” Coates said. “I want to see African American women golfers turn pro, and set an example for young women that this is possible,” he continued.
Kimberly Robinson, the newest president of Wake-Robin works diligently to lead by example and make a difference of involvement in the African-American community amongst young women. “We go out to all the local high schools and talk to the young ladies who are interested in golf it’s a part of the criteria for our scholarship program,” Robinson said. Robinson as well touched on the financial issues surrounding golf amongst the youth. “We offer golfers on tour financial assistance, we are doing everything we can to lessen the burden and keep them involved,” she continued. “By making their presence known through social media and staying in the local high schools. We let the young women know the resources available to them”.
Debbie Tyner is a new member to Wake-Robin but she has already felt their impact on young women as they’ve opened the door for them to golf. “It’s something to celebrate, 80 years is simply amazing,” Tyner stated. “I had been used to playing with ladies my age or older, but the way that Wake-Robin connects with the surrounding effort made me want to be associated with them life.”
As Wake-Robin continues to positively sew into the D.C and Maryland communities, McNeal sees the future of women’s golf to become more accessible. By creating opportunities through scholarship and sisterhood for young African-American women in golf, Wake-Robin shows the path of a true trailblazer and will be evolving for many more years.