Golf coaches at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) cite lack of access to air travel among the greatest barriers to developing successful golf programs. In response, as part of a new program with the PGA Tour, United will provide 51 golf teams at HBCUs with $10,000 in travel credits to fund travel for tournaments and recruiting efforts. With the grants, more than 250 student athletes, coaches, and their equipment will be able to fly United to compete in high-profile tournaments that were previously out of reach.
For the student athletes, the opportunity to compete in more tournaments isn’t just about improving their game—the relationships they build off the course with golf and industry professionals and United professionals can make a difference in their ability to pursue a professional career in golf or aviation.
“Removing barriers for HBCU students to have the same opportunities given to other collegiate athletes will open doors for countless young Black golfers to achieve their dreams and for HBCU golf programs to develop to their full potential,” says United President Brett Hart. “United is committed to advancing inclusion and racial equity, and that begins with making meaningful mentorship and scholarship investments in the communities we serve.”
Teams will have the opportunity to travel to more tournaments, including events such as the prestigious PGA Works Collegiate Championship, the Mardi Gras Golf Invitational, and the Black College Golf Coaches Association Houston National Invitational. Previously, many HBCU golf teams would not have had the resources to compete at these events or would have to drive to them, which requires student athletes to take multiple days away from school.
“The golf program at Winston-Salem State University came back to the school for the first time in 10 years last fall,” says Winston-Salem State University head golf coach Charles Penny, II. “This year, the United Airlines grant will impact our program’s ability to travel tremendously. It allows for our program to consider more tournaments to play in the fall. This past fall, we were only able to play one tournament due to limitations in our travel budget. This fall, we will be able to add close to four.”
This summer, United will work with golf influencer Roger Steele and select PGA Tour professionals on a four-part digital content series to showcase the depth and skill at HBCU golf programs across the country.
“We are super-grateful and excited to have the support of United Airlines to make for excellent and safe travel to our tournaments,” says Christyn Carr, a golfer at North Carolina A&T State University. “It gives us the freedom to compete in different states that we have not been able to go to before, and it allows us to have more time on the course than on the road. I’m looking forward to reaching new heights this semester, not only in our game but in our travel.”
United is the Official Airline of the PGA Tour and the organization’s first sponsor to support the tour’s larger HBCU Grant Program. This donation is part of a shared commitment to diversify and grow the sport of golf. To keep up with the HBCU golf programs’ travel journeys this season, follow @United and @PGATOUR on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.