Native Americans On The PGA Tour!
Officials in the golfing industry say access to the sport and its courses, once a barrier to American Indians, have improved dramatically in recent years and much of the credit for that improvement can go to tribal gaming with revenues going to build golf courses which allow tribal members access to the sport for a discount or for free.
According to “Golf Week” magazine, Native Americans had golf interests in 15 states and Canada last year and there are at least 12 states where tribes are building golf courses.
Begay of Navajo, San Felipe and Isleta descent, who began his golf career on a city course as a student at Stanford University, said, “I think tribes really need to escalate golf because what golf really does is teach you about life. This game teaches integrity. There are certain rules to follow and there are no ifs, ands or buts. There is no gray area. It is cut and dried.”
Gary George, chief operating officer of the Wildhorse Resort in Pendleton, Oregon is a golf enthusiast who believes the sport helps to keep his area youth out of trouble. He maintains the discipline it requires as well as the etiquette involved can instill skills players can use off the course in their everyday lives.
“Ever since the course came along,” George said, “it has really provided a place for our youth to go. It has provided a good work ethic for them.”
Fifteen year-old Jessica Dailleboust of Mohawk, Navajo, Comanche and Ottawa lineage, finished at the top at the National Native American Golf championships in Santa Fe this summer. She maintains that whether she’s Indian or not the love of the game will guide her future “It’s great,” she says, ”and I just really enjoy playing the game.
Begay and Dailleboust, both from Albuquerque, embody the spirit of "Native Unity" through their love of golf. Dailleboust maintains, “No one really judges you when you are out there playing, you just play”. Her statement pretty much sums it up.