Douglas, Merchant Inducted Into National Black Golf Hall of Fame

March 29, 2010

Tampa, Fla. – Barbara Douglas, the chairman of the USGA Women’s Committee, and John Merchant, a former member of the USGA Executive Committee, were inducted into the National Black Golf Hall of Fame in a ceremony on March 27.

The National Black Golf Hall of Fame was established in 1986 by Harold Dunovant, a Class A PGA professional, to recognize the

John Merchant, the first African-American to serve on the USGA Executive Committee, was inducted into the Black Golf Hall of Fame on Saturday in Tampa, Fla. (USGA Museum)
contributions of African-American golfers and to honor those who have promoted golf in African-American communities. 

Winston Lake Golf Course in Winston-Salem, N.C., which opened in 1956 and was one of the first courses in North Carolina to welcome African-American players, was also announced as a hall of fame inductee by Jeffrey Dunovant, executive director. Previous inductees include former USGA president Judy Bell, Charlie Sifford, Teddy Rhodes and John Shippen, the first African-American to play in the U.S. Open (1896 at Shinnecock Hills).

Douglas was named to the USGA Women’s Committee in 1993 and began a two-year term as chairman in 2009. She was the first minority member of the committee. She is a board member of the Junior Golf Association of Arizona and the former president of the National Minority Golf Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed to promote and expand opportunities for women and minorities in golf.

She was honored by the NBGHF for her dedication and commitment to advancing the role of women and minorities in the game of golf.

“I’m a doer, not a talker,” Douglas said at the induction ceremonies. “I like to focus on a goal and get down to work to achieve that goal.”

Douglas said her induction into the National Black Golf Hall of Fame had caused her to seriously reflect on her role in golf. Part of her motivation, she said, was her determination to make a difference and to help people on her staff become the best they could be.

“Nothing I have accomplished could have been done without the help, support and hard work of many others, some of whom are in this room,” Douglas said.

The audience of some 300 people included well-known players such as Jim Dent, John Black, Adrian Stills and Jim Thorpe, as well as representatives of national golf organizations and golf media outlets.

In 1958, Merchant became the first African-American to graduate from the University of Virginia Law School. In 1992, he was named to the USGA Executive Committee.

Merchant said the highlight of his tenure on the Executive Committee was organizing four symposiums on diversity and the role of minorities in the game.

“We brought together blacks from more than 30 states and movers and shakers of the industry, and we discussed diversity, and then we played some golf,” Merchant told the audience.

“The National Black Golf Hall of Fame brings a level of truth and completeness to golf’s American history,” Merchant said, “but I’m troubled by a level of unfinished business. We’ve failed to adequately define golf’s own history with African-Americans as part of that history. One more step must be taken. Golf must apply its standards of integrity to preserving its history.”

Tim Grant, director of the Winston-Salem Department of Parks and Recreation, spoke on behalf of Winston Lake Golf Course, which provided a facility for many of golf’s African-American pioneers to prepare to compete as professionals.

“To go back and tell those black golfers and those people who struggled to help that course survive, that’s what means so much to me,” Grant said.

The Mid Winter Classic, a golf tournament, was conducted in conjunction with the hall of fame weekend. The tournament was sponsored by Nestle USA, the Tampa Sports Authority and Advocates USA, which is dedicated to improving African-American communities. The weekend also included a symposium on the role of African-Americans in golf, headed by Dr. Michael Cooper.

Story written by Rhonda Glenn, manager of communications for the USGA. E-mail her with questions or comments at



Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website,, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit

AmEx image