LC golf team focuses on growing diversity

Illustration of a golf ball.
Soleina Robinson / The Mossy Log

WHILE ATHLETICS at Lewis & Clark as a whole want to focus on Title IX and being inclusive, this has been  a particular focus of Head Men’s and Women’s Golf Coach Brad Johnson throughout his career.

When  Johnson coached for New York University’s golf team, he recruited from all over the world. Even when he was told to only reach out to players from the South,  while coaching at Millsaps College in Mississippi, he chose to recruit players from all across the United States.

This mindset is something that he is implementing at LC.

“Golf is played all over the world, and there’s some phenomenal golfers,” Johnson said.  “We  won  a  national championship  at  NYU  with  an  almost completely international team.”

This year was Johnson’s first year recruiting at LC, and he brought in eight new golf players. He is also looking at recruiting internationally next year and mentioned some prospective golfers from Spain and Canada.

Johnson looks for players that are interested in athletics, academics and the overall atmosphere of the Pacific Northwest. He loves the diverse perspectives of the golf team,  whose players are from all over the  United States.

“They get to see people from different parts of the country, different experiences, different walks of life and I think that really is the important part,” Johnson said.

One of the players, Asiya Kamawal ’23, said that she has really enjoyed the team dynamic at LC. She has felt very encouraged and included within the team dynamic. 

“There’s a certain comfort that comes with that when you know, you’re not the only one that looks different when it comes to going somewhere or being somewhere, where everyone looks the same and you’re the odd one out,” Kamawal said.

Kamawal is Muslim and spoke about the islamophobia that she has experienced on golf courses outside of LC. She said that she has never felt more comfortable on the course since she joined the golf team. Since LC is a primarily white school, Kamawal said that she has not always felt a sense of belonging, but she feels as though she found her place on the LC golf team.

Additionally, Golf is less economically accessible than many other sports as each outing requires the purchase of a tee time and the use of expensive clubs. As a result, it has been a predominantly white sport in the  U.S.  making what Johnson is doing particularly important.

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