The weeklong initiative, which coincides with the 2022 U.S. Open, is designed to expose underrepresented individuals to the game and the many career pathways within the $84 billion golf industry. The club and the USGA will cover the program’s costs, including travel expenses and accommodations for all interns.
The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., in partnership with the United States Golf Association, established the Lee Elder Internship, a one-week immersive experience at the 2022 U.S. Open at The Country Club.
Named for one of golf’s true trailblazers, the program is designed to introduce under-represented youth to the game and its core values, while also showcasing golf’s many career pathways. Over the course of a week, 25 individuals will be exposed to multiple facets of the business of golf and gain firsthand experience and insight from industry leaders. The daily curriculum will cover tournament operations, media, course maintenance and design, sales and marketing, facility operations and management, and other relevant topics.
There are more than two million jobs within the $84 billion golf industry, but only a small fraction of these are held by those from underrepresented communities. The mission of this foundational program is to help address this imbalance. It is the latest in a series of proactive programs in golf to encourage people from diverse communities to participate in golf and explore the many career opportunities in the game.
“Diversity remains one of the major challenges facing the golf industry, one that can only be addressed with continued emphasis and initiatives to reach underrepresented individuals,” said Will Fulton, General Chair for the 2022 U.S. Open, which will be played June 13-19. “This program is designed to play a role in this ecosystem by reaching new audiences at formative times, providing them with information and establishing relationships with golf leaders. It’s a model we have every expectation can be replicated in the future.”
The Country Club and the USGA will cover the program’s costs, including travel expenses and accommodations for all interns. The membership of The Country Club and the USGA plan to leverage the worldwide exposure and incredible learning experience of the U.S. Open Championship to open conversations and opportunities for more people in the game.
Elder was a pioneer in integrating golf and laying the groundwork for generations that followed. He was the first African American golfer to play in The Masters and the first to play on a United States Ryder Cup team. In 2019, he became the first African American to receive the USGA’s Bob Jones Award, the association’s highest honor recognizes an individual who demonstrates Jones’s exemplary spirit, character and respect for the game
“I have always worked hard to help underprivileged kids have greater opportunities in life,” Elder said. “I am honored to be associated with this important new program, one that will provide several exceptional opportunities for minority representation in the game of golf.”