The Lone Star Golf Association, one of the oldest golf associations in the Houston area (founded 1946), is hosting its annual one-day “Turkey Shoot” Golf Tournament during the Thanksgiving holidays. The tournament will be held on Saturday, November 21, 2015 at one of the most historic golf courses in the Houston area, Gus Wortham, located at 7000 Capitol St., Houston, TX 77011. Tee time is 11 AM. Participants are being asked to donate canned goods or non-perishable items. There will be a drop box available at the event.
The tournament format will be “2-Person Best Ball,” one of the most popular golf tournament formats. The 2-Person Best Ball will be played using 2 person teams. Each player on the team plays his or her own golf ball throughout the round, and on each hole the low score – or “best ball” – of the group serves as the team score. For example: On the first hole, Player A gets a 5 and B gets a 4, so the team score for that hole is 4, because the low score of the group was B’s 4.
The tournament will be played as stroke play with the total score added up at the end of the round.
In 1945 there were four close friends, all Houstonians; (Charles M. Washington, Eugene Harrison, Lee Powell and Howard McCowen) who had a vision after returning from serving their country in World War II to play the game of golf. They were very knowledgeable about the game of golf based on their background as caddies. During this era the City of Houston did not have a public golf course that African Americans could play on. Therefore, they had to travel to cities such as San Antonio and Dallas to pursue their dreams.
It was not until June 19, 1946, that the City of Houston allowed the group to play a half-day tournament. It was from this humble beginning that the Lone Star Golf Association (originally known as the Houston Golf Association) was formed.
Between 1949 and 1950, the group did not host a tournament due to lack of participation and a White group formed using the name of Houston Golf Association. Since the group did not host a tournament for 2 years, they had to restart the appeal process and the request was referred to the Director of the Golf Department for recommendation.
Early in 1951, after running into many complications and several years of appealing to the City of Houston, Mr. Charles M. Washington (Tournament Chairman) submitted a letter to Mayor Oscar Holcombe requesting permission to host its first Negro Open Golf Tournament. With a signed petition from other Black Golfers, and giving up its original name the city granted the group permission to host the event. Since the motion wasn’t passed until July 7, 1951, it’s didn’t give the group enough time to obtain sponsors and finances needed to host the event that year.
In June of 1952, the group, under its new name of Lone Star Negro Golf Group, hosted the first $1,000 Negro Open Golf Tournament from June 17-June 21. There were 80 participants, of whom 12 were from out of State. The tournament attracted players from all over Texas, Louisiana, California, and as far as New York. The event continued to grow attracting players such as Charlie Sifford, Pete Brown, Ted Rhodes, and Houston’s own golf pro, Willie Brown.
As the tournament grew, celebrities like Joe Lewis, Jim Brown and golf legend Lee Elder, took part in the event.
The group continued to host The Negro Open Golf Tournament until 1990. This event opened doors for many players such as Charlie Sifford, who was the first African American to not only play in the PGA Tour, but also the first African American to win it.
Though the fight for survival has been long and hard, the organization has weathered the storm and continues to strive. Each year during the month of June, the Lone Star Golf Association hosts its Annual Golf Classic in honor of its past Director, Mr. Charles M. Washington. Revenue from the tournament supports the organization’s Junior Golf and Scholarship Program.
For more information about the tournament, please contact the tournament director: