Jax Black Golf Pioneers Feted with Panel and Ritz Exhibit

Shown l - r are event panelist and moderators: Dr. Tony Parker, Pete McDaniel Garry Smits, Pepper Peete and Arthur Johnson.

Last week the World Golf Hall of Fame and Museum joined forces with the Ritz Museum to celebrate Black History Month with the opening of the “Golf Heroes of the First Coast” exhibit at the Ritz. Located in Saint Augustine, the exhibit opening shared the early stories of black golfers in Jacksonville and celebrate the achievements of pioneers including Charlie Sifford, Althea Gibson, Lee Elder, Calvin Peete and Tiger Woods, among others.

City leaders and community members were invited to see the exhibit and hear firsthand stories from a panel that included: Pepper Peete, Calvin’s wife; Arthur Johnson, former caddie at Jacksonville-area golf courses in the 1950s and 1960s; Pete McDaniel, freelance golf writer and former contributor to Golf Digest; and Florida Times-Union golf writer Garry Smits, who followed Peete during his final round at THE PLAYERS Championship in 1985. The panel was moderated by World Golf Hall of Fame Historian Dr. Tony Parker.

Calvin Peete was the most successful African-American to have played on the PGA Tour, with 12 wins, prior to the emergence of Tiger Woods. He made Jacksonville his home prior to his death in 2015 of cancer.  Rhonda Silver Photo

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