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Black Golf History
The Central States Golf Tournament

Black golf tournaments were started all over the country because of discrimination. This included local, regional and national tournaments. One popular black tournament in the Midwest region was the Central States Golf Tournament. It was played at a variety of locations in the Midwest. The first tournament may have been held in 1931.

Early on, black golfers from the Twin Cities were participants in the Central States Tournament. On July 24, 1936, Jimmy Lee of the Minneapolis Spokesman wrote, "The boys are really planning to bring the bacon home when they play in the Central States Tournament down at Des Moines next month. One fellow has even gone so far as to have his chariot washed, greased, and tuned already. Another fellow has started reading the rules cover to cover so he will be sure not to make any mistakes which might cost him a penalty. Still another has adopted a course similar to the one in Des Moines. O. K., boys, you have all of the "old Tatler's" best wishes. May you bring home zillions of prizes!"

At this same time the Twin City Golf Club, a black golf organization in the Twin Cities, decided to invite the Central States Golf Tournament to the Twin Cities. On April 24, 1936, Jimmy Lee of the Minneapolis Spokesman wrote, "The Twin City Golf club met at the Hallie Q. Brown House last Saturday evening. Many new ideas were discussed for the coming season. It was also decided to invite the Central States Tournament to Twin Cities."

Hiawatha Golf Course had just opened 2 years earlier and it appears that the Twin City Golf Club picked Hiawatha.

In 1938, Hiawatha Golf Course became the host for the 8th Central States Golf Tournament. It is likely the first major black golf tournament held at Hiawatha. The tournament was won by a local man, Tommy Donaldson.

Some known locations for the Central-States Golf Tournament are:

  • 1936 - Des Moines, IA
  • 1937 - Keller Golf Course, St. Paul, Mn
  • 1938 - Hiawatha, Minneapolis, Mn
  • 1942 - Des Moines, IA
  • 1946 - Meadowbrook - Minneapolis, Mn