During the awards dinner for the Western States Golf Association’s (WSGA) 55th annual tournament, local businessman, member and tournament director, Al Avery, received a standing ovation as a past president announced the event as “the best tournament in 35 years.” Good news for Avery, the Denver metro area which hosted close to 400 participants, and Castle Rock’s The Ridge at Castle Pines North golf course.
Serving as an umbrella organization to 31 chapters in six Western states, WSGA is the largest African-American golf club in the country, originating in Portland, Oregon, in 1954. In 1972 it was incorporated in California, as a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, and now boasts a membership of more than 2,000, including 200 junior members.
Golfers of different races and cultures generally were not accepted at traditional golf communities in years past. Hence, the creation of the Western States Golf Assoc., - now celebrating more than a half-century as a diverse, well-respected and active organization. Its members also enjoy the formation of business relationships and networks both on and off the links.
Colorado chapters include Aurora’s “Greenseekers;” Colorado Springs’ “Linksters;” and Denver’s “Mile High Sandbaggers.” Interestingly enough, the Mile High Sandbaggers Golf Club, headed by Lonnie Dixon, was the overall champion of this year’s tournament. The individual overall champion, for the second year in a row, was Cardell Kelly, president of the Los Angeles “Fairways” chapter.
There were many awards and happy trophy winners at the end-of-tournament gala hosted by the Four Points by Sheraton. Along with a live auction, raffle, an audio-visual documentary on the history of WSGA, a 52 Pickup contest, live entertainment was provided by Denver’s Ron Ivory and the Miles Apart band.
Editor’s note: The 56th annual tournament will be held next summer in Boulder. For more information on WSGA, tournaments or sponsorships, visit www.wsgagolf.org.