The Lee Elder Revolution Of Golf

By Shane R May 12, 2021

Getting To Know Your Elder

Before Tiger Woods, it was Lee Elder. Even though Elder never won a major, he broke many barriers along the way. Elder was the first black man to play in the Master’s Tournament in 1975.

Over his career, Elder won professional events 16 times. At 25-years-old, Elder became pro in 1959. He did not retire from golf until 2005. Elder’s best major finish was in 1974 at the Professional Golf Association (PGA) Championship and the 1979 U.S. Open, where he tied for eleventh both times.

(C) Pexels


Elder was born in Dallas, Texas, as one of ten other children. Elder’s father served in World War II and was killed in Germany fighting the Nazis. When Elder was 12, he moved with his aunt to Los Angeles, California. One of Elder’s first jobs was being a golf caddie. He even dropped out of high school to be more involved with the sport of golf.

By the age of 16, Elder played his first round of 18. Over the next decade, Elder worked hard at his craft. He lost a memorable playoff round to the great Jack Nicklaus in 1967 at the American Golf Classic.

2020 And Beyond

Currently, Elder has partnered with the Masters’ Tournament group to give out scholarships to golfers at Paine College, a Historical Black College and University (HBCU). Even though Elder is in his 80s, he still cares deeply about helping others, no matter how he feels. Elder is dealing with blindness in one eye but does not let that bother him in his fight against racism, looking for equality for all.