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illustrated by Bill Knowles

African American
Golf History 


The Centenary Celebration of  Doctor charlie sifford

Just let me play


Charlie Sifford
(1922 - 2015)

Charlie Sifford Portrait.jpg

Addicted to Golf and cigars when he came to Philadelphia from rural North Carolina in the 1940s, Charlie learned that black golfers didn't have a chance. As jazz great Billy Eckstine's Golf pro, Sifford racked up Negro tournament wins on the UGA but found that only white players were able to join the PGA tour. In 1960, the PGA was forced by the Californian Attorney General to issue him a player's card. But a player's card didn't get a black person into country clubs where most of the tournaments were played, and even when Charlie was allowed, he often could not change his clothes in the clubhouse with other players. Death threats and taunting the course met Sifford when he broke into the all-white Greensboro (NC) open- a new car awarded for a hole in one disappeared off a tournament banner just minutes before Charlie sunk a hole in one - leading to a lawsuit that Charlie would eventually win.


He would also eventually win twice on the PGA tour at Hartford and LA and become a legend as a senior PGA member. His story is captured in a book he authored called "Just let me Play".


Charlie Sifford passed away in early 2015, but not before being introduced into the World Golf Hall of Fame, receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom and an honorary doctorate from St. Andrews University in Scotland. He would be referred to by Tiger Woods as "My Grandpa".


in this short animated video narrated by the Bill Knowles

CHarlie Sifford Posters from our shop

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