MCKINNEY, Texas -- It’s a hot summer day at TPC Craig Ranch, but it's no sweat for campers from the Oak Cliff YMCA.
"Golf is not really complicated," said one camper. "People make it complicated.
People like Adrian Stills are trying to make it simple. "It’s a blast for me," said Stills, a former PGA Tour golfer who now helps out with the Advocates Pro Golf Association (APGA).
The APGA's mission is to bring greater diversity to golf, by hosting tournaments for African-American golfers and by exposing the game to the less-privileged youth.
What are the major barriers for minority involvement in golf and how can we bridge that gap? "The number one barrier is cost," according to Stills.
That's no surprise. The cost of equipment and course fees alone are expensive. And for those on the mini-tour circuit, they often have to pay for tournament entry fees, food, travel and lodging.
The cost for kids is not as steep. Thanks to organizations like The First Tee, kids can play with donated clubs and pay reduced-price greens fees at various municipal courses.
However, most low-income neighborhoods are not overflowing with golf courses. "You don't go to one of those communities and see a chipping green," said APGA golfer Trey Valentine. "It’s just the way it is, which is sad."
"[APGA] is a sign of progress," said APGA golfer Joe Hooks.
Hooks and Valentine hope to one day leap to the PGA Tour, following in the footsteps of Tony Finau and Harold Varner III.
Golf has a history of exclusivity, which a fancy word for discriminatory."The country club that I grew up at -- African-Americans weren’t even allowed to join until 1986," Hooks stated. "And, this is in Detroit."
Even Augusta National, site of The Masters, didn’t allow female members until 2012.
Time has caught up to the sport. Fewer young people are watching and the Tiger Woods decline had a linear effect on minorities involvement in golf.
"If the doors are open, and opportunities were out there for more low-income [people] and minorities to participate, I think you'll see a growth in the game," said Oak Cliff YMCA program director Troy Williams.
There's a reason basketball is so popular among kids, regardless of ethnicity or income level. It's cheap and accessible, and there are star players on TV who look like them -- positive identity.
After years of exclusivity, golf is scrambling to inspire and sustain interest in future generations.
The game is making positive strides toward being more inclusive, diverse and the APGA is helping the cause. An effort to get the underprivileged to #LiveUnderPar.