WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. – Farmers Insurance and the Black College Golf Coaches Association (BCGCA) announced today that Farmers will grow diversity in professional golf as the presenting sponsor of four BCGCA events in the period 2021-2022. The mission of the Black College Golf Coaches Association is to improve and sustain Black College golf programs by promoting the development of coaches and players.
Farmers® is the first sponsor that the BCGCA has announced specifically for HBCU golf events. Tournaments Farmers will support include:
• 23-26 September 2021: BCGCA Hall of Fame Classic presented by Farmers Insurance, Newnan, GA, Summer Grove Golf Club
• 23-26 October 2021: BCGCA Black College Classic presented by Farmers Insurance, Gulf Shores, AL, Peninsula Club
• 13.-15. March 2022: BCGCA HBCU Invitational presented by Farmers Insurance, Houston, TX, Sterling Country Club
• April 2022 (TBA exact date): BCGCA National Women’s Collegiate Golf Championship presented by Farmers Insurance, Atlanta, GA, Callaway Gardens
In addition to sponsoring BCGCA tournaments, Farmers Insurance plans to provide BCGCA players with access to available coaching, internship and other resources to further support their career development and aspirations.
“We hope that working with the BCGCA can help support our efforts to promote diversity in the game and provide opportunities for players to grow through their college experience,” said Jenny Howell, director of brand and consumer marketing at Farmers Insurance. “Providing players at HBCUs with access to professional development, career fairs and networking opportunities, and golf training facilities can help these college and amateur athletes pursue careers in golf on and off the course. We look forward to working with the BCGCA and their players to help more HBCU golfers realize their dream of playing golf professionally. “
“Farmers Insurance has shown tremendous support in further diversifying golf through its efforts on the APGA Tour and beyond,” said Craig Bowen, president of the BCGCA. “Supporting these four events will not only provide HBCU programs and players with additional opportunities to compete and improve their game, but will also show the rest of the corporate community that they can make a difference. This is a pivotal moment for golf at HBCUs, and with organizations like Farmers taking the lead, I really believe we can make a difference in this great sport. “
Farmers has a proud history of promoting diversity in golf. The national insurance group sponsored the APGA TOUR events, and the organization’s athletes, sponsored players such as Kamaiu Johnson and Willie Mack III, hosted the very first APGA event at a PGA TOUR tournament at the 2020 Farmers Insurance Open and hired Mack to sponsor it Disposal exemption from the Farmers Insurance Open 2021.
Several APGA Tour players recently shared their thoughts on why HBCUs and the support Farmers offers the BCGCA are so important to the growth of diversity in the game.
“I wanted to visit Michigan State and wanted to go somewhere where the culture fits and where I can start and help others follow in my footsteps,” said Willie Mack III, the youngest winner of the APGA Tour Championship and 11-time tournament winner at Bethune Kochmann. “If I hopefully get the PGA TOUR all day, it will show other kids like me that it is possible. Many of the HBCUs don’t have a place to practice or play every day. If they can play on better courses, and have better facilities and golf clubs, and match up with some elements of larger schools, it will make a world of difference. The school I played for no longer has a golf program for men. So I just hope they can revive golf as a program and steer things in the right direction. Such support from Farmers is a big step and hopefully more companies will join in to support golf at HBCUs. “
“I wanted to have a college experience with kids who were mostly African American and Florida A&M provided that for me,” said Mulbe Dillard, who recently led the APGA’s inaugural collegiate ranking. “The support of HBCUs from farmers is tremendous and we need more businesses and support to upgrade the level of our facilities and resources. Larger schools have resources, facilities, and equipment to better prepare their players for success. I think the biggest difference is that other schools play and practice on courses and conditions that prepare them for what they are going to face in a tournament, while many HBCUs just don’t. Right now it’s difficult to find African American kids to compete. The more support HBCUs receive, the better the facilities can be, the better the path for HBCU athletes into professional golf and the better these coaches can be recruited. “
“It was very special to be able to play college golf with other black golfers who were on the same level as me with the same dreams. It really opened your eyes, ”said Rovonta Young, Alabama A&M graduate. “Everyone pushes each other. All are there for the same reason. The commitment of the farmers is great. Since Farmers supports many events, opportunities open up. Many black players do not have the same opportunities to develop at a young age, so having HBCUs as a way to progress and reach the next level is important to increase diversity in the game. Funding is a problem. These guys need access to world class golf courses. In the summer, post-season, they play in US Am qualifiers, US Open qualifiers, and state opens, and the caliber of the golf courses is top notch compared to what HBCUs practice on, and those players have the game, but generally don’t have access to top level clubs. This can lead to an uneven playing field. “
“When I got to Florida A&M it was great to see people who looked like me progress and excel in every endeavor that they were pursuing. That motivated me even more, ”said Cameron Riley, a recent A&M graduate from Florida who took 4th place in the APGA Collegiate Ranking. “The biggest step we need to take to level the playing field is access to good courses, good training and good equipment. We didn’t have a home course in Tallahassee until my senior year. We hopped around, played on driving ranges that simply couldn’t keep up with other systems. Then we appear on the courses at Regionals and play on greens that are on Stimpmeter 13 or 14 and we are not used to these conditions. Big thanks to sponsors like Farmers for helping us with more access. Giving us better resources and access is important, and it’s great that organizations like Farmers are trying to help. “
For more information about the Black College Golf Coaches Association, please visit https://www.hbcugolf.org. To learn more about Farmers’ commitment to the game, visit Farmers.com/Golf.