Being a leader on the golf course means more than the numbers you write on your scorecard.
Shasta Averyhardt from Flint has broken barriers in professional women’s golf and is a leader and role model for young black players in their sport.
Averyhardt competes just hours from where she was born and is part of the 144 golf course at the Symetra Tour FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship at the Battle Creek Country Club this weekend.
When Averyhardt leaves Battle Creek at the end of the weekend, she will speak at a First Tee event that will focus on the idea of being a leader.
“I want to talk to them about assuming leadership roles, something that fell into my lap at a young age. Talk to them about how you can’t be afraid to step out on your own and have confidence in your beliefs,” said Averyhardt .
Averyhardt is a 2004 Grand Blanc graduate who went to Jackson State University. As one of the biggest hit hitters on the tour, she has three top 10 positions of her career on the Symetra Tour with an average of 277 yards from the tee.
Averyhardt has also played on the LPGA Tour during her career. When she first received conditional LPGA membership at Q-school in 2010, she was only the fourth Black Tour member of the LPGA at the time.
Since then, she has seen other successes for black golfers touring, including recently part of The Shippen, held for the first time in Michigan this summer, to create opportunities and break down barriers for black professional and amateur golfers. Averyhardt won the event together with partner Anita Uwadia and secured a place at the LPGA Tour Event in Midland, the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational.
These opportunities and the realization that a growing number of young black golfers are on the sidelines at many of their events has not escaped her.
“I’m trying to be a role model,” said Averyhardt. “It’s not like coming out on the golf course and saying that I’m one of the few black women here to play on tour. I don’t think about that, but I am aware of it and I accept it. And if it does an opportunity to connect “with a young person who looks like me, i will do that and be out here and be visible and be there for you to see me.
“Doing it like that is something that works for me. When I saw Tiger and learned about Renee Powell, all of these great legends, I said, okay, you look like me, I can do that too. And, that way, know me now, that can also be an example. “
Contact Bill Broderick at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @billbroderick.