The largest predominantly African-American golf club in the United States now has its official home in Akron.
The Tiretown Golf Club and the Tiretown Golf Charities can now call the 180-acre JE Good Park Golf Course their home course.
This marks a milestone for the 72-year-old golf club that draws its approximately 180 members from the Akron area and whose history includes playing at city-owned Good Park. It was one of only two golf courses in northeast Ohio at the time of the club’s founding in 1950 where black golfers could play. The other course at the time was the Ridge Top Golf Course in Medina.
Saturday morning celebration
Members celebrated Saturday morning on the course in glorious, sunny and cool weather with speeches and the unveiling of a new plaque that will be installed near tee No. 3, and with photos and other memorabilia displayed in the flag. Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, Akron NAACP President Judi Hill and others attended and spoke.
And while it was time to reflect on the group’s rich history, the members also said that being able to call Good Park Golf Course their official home bodes well for their future and ongoing missions to develop young people. golfers and scholars.
Tiretown Golf Club President Ralph Paulk told onlookers that he was on a trip to California recently. While there, Paulk said he golfed with a Los Angeles-area club that had 112 predominantly African-American members, which a newspaper said made it the largest black golf club in the United States. But Paulk noted that the Akron club has about 180 members. members.
“Well, if my numbers are correct, 180 is a bit higher than 112,” Paulk said. “As a result, we are the largest predominantly African-American club in the country.”
More than golf
And while Tiretown members are very competitive when it comes to golf, they pride themselves on being more than that, Paulk said.
“It’s one thing to be the biggest or the biggest or whatever, but it’s another to get the job done,” Paulk said. “I will say one thing about our members, they do the work. They know how important it is for scholarships, they know how important it is for young people. That’s one of the reasons for which our youth program has more than 30 people.”
Tiretown also has other partnerships, including First Tee, he said. First Tee works to integrate golf instruction as well as life skills to children. Tiretown members also raise money for a scholarship program, and the club has expanded its partnerships with the city, organizations, churches and others.
Tiretown member Tony Bishop noted after the ceremony that one of the important things about First Tee is developing the next generation of golfers and helping young people develop life skills.
“We don’t have kids at First Tee, we don’t have golfers on TV,” he said.
“It’s more than the Tiretown club. It’s a family,” said Hill of the NAACP, who is a member of Tiretown. “These are individuals who support each other.”
Hill estimated that 90% of those attending Saturday’s event are NAACP members. She reminded viewers that historically black people weren’t allowed to play golf, and in many cases women weren’t allowed either. She called Saturday an “awesome day”.
Hill said the NAACP and Tiretown are two organizations that “have weathered the storms, the political, economic and social storms that this community and the world have provided. We have persevered, we have continued to grow. … We can and we make a difference and we have to stick to it.
‘Welcome to the house’
Horrigan, who plays golf, noted that the city and Tiretown have reached an agreement for the golf club to call Good Park its home.
Horrigan called Tiretown and Good Park and the city a relationship. He said he was extremely proud that the Tiretown home is now Good Park.
“Tiretown is so much more than golf,” Horrigan said. “It’s about socializing. It’s about what he teaches you. … Welcome home. Welcome.”
Afterwards, Paulk said it took Tiretown 72 years to have a home. It’s important to have a place to show and share the organization’s history at the clubhouse, he said.
“We have 72 years of rich tradition and history,” he said. “This is the house of Tiretown.”
Beacon Journal reporter Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or [email protected] Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ.