Over the past few years, Black athletes and sports fans have proven that our interests go far beyond the basketball or football field. From the reign of the queen Serena Williams from world tennis to NASCAR champ Bubba Wallace to golf GOAT Tiger Woods, we dominate every field, even those not historically considered “black” sports. But if you’re not Williams, or Wallace, or Woods, how do you find the camaraderie in the game you love? For Tari Cash, former Head of Planning at Under Armour, golf has always been her sport of choice. But according to a recent Interview with Sports Illustrated, her previous workspaces, she found that even though her white male co-workers showed a little more interest in her socially after mentioning her affinity for the game, she was still kept at a distance on the green. Acknowledging that it also kept her out of a few critical conversations about the lineup, Cash had a light bulb moment.
“You know how when you don’t get something you want, it brings you so much more clarity?” she asks SI journalists. “As soon as that happened, it showed me how important this game is for building relationships. I knew straight away that this was not a job where I would be successful.
After ten years on the job, Cash left her job at Under Armor to pursue a dream she had clung to for years. An indoor golf course. After researching spaces similar to his vision in Asian cities where players spray golf balls at VR projector screens that mirror reality golf courses, the former executive was ready to turn her dream into reality.
In 2018, Cash conceptualized the first model of CitySwing, a pop-up experience in the heart of DC After the success of the pop-up, the entrepreneur sought permanent housing for his new venture. She housed in a studio downtown and accessible by subway, giving more black women the opportunity to perform who otherwise might not. As Cash recalled the days when she wanted to participate in the conversations that happened on the golf course among her peers, she saw CitySwing – which also provides instructions – as a way to give other black women the access it was once denied, in hopes of giving them a leg up in the corporate ladder .
“I spent the first half of my career thinking that if I put my head down and did my job really well, that was all it would take for me to be successful,” Cash says. “I learned the hard way that’s not true. You can be an amazing artist, but you still need people to stand up for you. You need people to tell you when that deal or deal is going to happen. This only happens through relationships.
If CitySwing is finally a success, it is not without difficulties. The establishment had to temporarily close when the pandemic hit. But this setback only prepared the ground for the creation of a community. The next phase of the venture became a large-scale partnership with the Boys and Girls Club where golf camps are offered to young people in the city.
Cash says the initiative makes her feel inspired, once again.
“It just proves to me that we are not [not] playing golf because we don’t like the game,” Cash says, referring to people of color. “We don’t play [because] the industry did not invite us. We haven’t had an easily accessible and affordable entry into the game. When you put these golf clubs in the hands of these young people who have never thought about golf, they love it. They are naturals. We just have to keep doing more.