Bridgestone Americas (Bridgestone) and the PGA Tour hosted the inaugural Bridgestone HBCU invitational, a first-of-its-kind tournament featuring competition from 15 HBCU teams at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Ga. The contest is an element of the Bridgestone Collegiate Development Program, part of the PGA Tour’s Pathway to Progression program, which aims to achieve greater diversity in golf by developing talent from diverse and historically underrepresented groups.
The Bridgestone HBCU Invitational hosted ten men’s teams and five women’s teams from HBCUs across the country for two days of competition on Nov. 1 and 2. Leading up to the tournament, Bridgestone and the PGA Tour coordinated enrichment opportunities designed to provide equitable access for players interested in pursuing the sport as a career, while also creating a pipeline of young golfers that better represent communities nationwide, Bridgestone said.
Following the experience, Bridgestone hosted a welcome dinner at TPC Sugarloaf for all teams competing in the invitational, where Eastside Golf founders Earl Cooper & Olajuwon Ajanaku spoke to attendees about their mission to raise awareness of golf. The lifestyle brand will join forces with Bridgestone in the coming year to reach underserved communities and diversify the game through the Bridgestone Collegiate Development Program.
Finally, on Oct. 31, competitors were invited to a Pathway to My Career panel discussion led by ESPN’s Michael Collins, featuring Bridgestone’s Caitlyn Ranson, Black Sports Business Academy’s Vincent Pierson, Creative Artists Agency’s Annette Parker, Stewart Cornelius from Multiplier, Devon Fox from the PGA TOUR, Ardelia Austin from Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Michael McClendon of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. Bridgestone said industry leaders offered personal perspectives on gaining professional experience, translating golf skills to life and work and building a network.