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‘Executive course’

  • DC-area businessmen establish golf management scholarship

    Wednesday, March 10, 2021

    Two Washington-area businessmen have established a new scholarship fund for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore's PGA-certified golf management program.  They are now enlisting their African-American golfing companions to join this effort. 

    The Pro-Duffers Golf Association's philanthropic arm partnered with a family-run foundation to make an initial $20,000 donation toward a five-year commitment of $100,000.  The university already has identified a current undergraduate who will benefit from this fund right away. 

    Dickie S. Carter and Calvin C. LaRoche, self-described golf enthusiasts, were the catalysts behind making a gift in support of UMES' academic program that produces students who will graduate into careers at major golf courses and golf-related industries. 

    "We are grateful the Pro-Duffers and Mr. Dickie Carter have taken an interest in helping UMES educate future PGA Professionals,” golf management program director Billy Dillon said.  “Their generous gift and five-year commitment to the program will allow some students who could not otherwise afford college to pursue their dream of working in the golf industry as productive members of the PGA of America." 

    UMES is the nation's lone historically black institution with PGA of America accreditation that enables it to offer the highly specialized instruction.  Golf management is under the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, where graduates receive a broad scope of training in what it takes to run successful restaurants, hotels, resorts and related businesses. 

    “We believe this (gift) will be a way of advancing diversity in the game of golf,” said LaRoche, who heads the D.C. Pro-Duffers Foundation's scholarship committee.

    D.C. Pro-Duffers golf club formed in 1954

    Carter, a member of Bethesda Md.'s renowned Congressional Country Club, said “when I travel the world … almost every (golf) club I go into, there's an absence of people of color.” 

    Both men have long been interested in helping African-Americans find paths to the kind of successful careers each achieved in the latter half of the 20th century. 

    Carter, who operates a chemical transportation company, is a mentor at an all-male public high school in Washington for teens of color, where he befriended Colby Powell, a student interested in golf.  Carter helped to secure an internship for Powell at his golf club. 

    Powell enrolled at UMES to study golf management after Carter urged him to consider it as his college option. 

    Powell's decision also inspired Carter. Why not reach across the Chesapeake Bay and provide UMES with resources to recruit students like Powell with a scholarship fund? 

    In the early summer of 2020, Carter started talking up the idea among his golfing buddies.  He challenged the 90-member Pro-Duffers group to commit to raising $50,000 and pledged his family foundation would match it. 

    The Pro-Duffers/Carter Foundation Golf Management Scholarship Fund was created. “A preference will be given to traditionally under-represented students from the Washington, D.C. area,” the memorandum of understanding establishing the fund says. 

    In addition to being a social golf group, Pro-Duffers hold fund-raising tournaments to support scholarships for junior-level and college students. The group's motto: “showing commitment to social, civic and charitable activities using golf as the vehicle.” 

    The UMES scholarship, Carter and LaRoche said, represents a new frontier because it will support students working toward a degree with a unique graduation pre-requisite - satisfying a playing performance standard good enough to earn a PGA membership card. 

    “We're looking at it not just as giving money, but having the (UMES) students participating in our events,” said LaRoche, a past president of the Pro-Duffers club. “The exposure they are going to get to our members is priceless.” 

    Carter said he believes “collectively, we can be mentors. What we envision - this network we have - will catch fire.” 

    “We want to see a replica of this in additional Pro-Duffer chapters in other parts of the country” Carter said. “Let it become contagious, and see if it takes off.”