back then,” Glass says. “Now everyone knows that when you win the ATA, you get a free berth into qualifying for the U.S. Open.”
That competitive hunger was missing during Gibson’s years in the ATA and Glass reasons that Gibson didn’t really develop until blacks were allowed to branch out and play on the other circuits. “She was not a phenom when she played the ATA,” says Glass. “She didn’t develop until she got out and played some world-class competition. You do not become good playing in your own little circle.”
Still, no one disputes that without the ATA, Gibson, Ashe and those who followed in their tracks, may have never made it in the profession.
“For many of us who have been involved in the history of the ATA,” says Glass, “it continues to grow and will always be the greatest form of support that African-Americans will ever have.”
PHOTOS (BLACK & WHITE): Playing Tennis on the ATA Tour
REACHING OUT TO PLAYERS OF COLOR
Less than a year ago, a man walked up to the founder and publisher of Minority Golf magazine during a golf tournament in California. His eyes watered over, the man reached deep into his pocket and pulled out two $100 bills. “This is all I can afford,” he told a stunned Herschel Caldwell. “I don’t care what you do with it. Buy yourself some paper clips, go out to dinner on it. I don’t care. I just want to be a part of something like this. I think this is great.”
In the two years since Caldwell and his wife, Patricia, founded their special interest magazine out of Englewood, Colorado, they have been surprised a hundred times over by the overwhelming reception it has gotten.
Minorities who are introduced to it for the first time invariably say, “Oh, my God. It’s about time. Can I have this copy?” Never mind that the Caldwells may be down to their last copy. Once people of color see it, they don’t want to let it go. Conversely, says Herschel, whenever he sets about explaining his product to the majority culture, someone invariably will ask, “Is golf different for black people than it is for white people?”
The game itself isn’t different. Neither is the experience. But Caldwell has discovered that minorities are starved for information and features on fellow minority duffers, information they realize they’ll never get from the mainstream press. The same rings true for Marcus Freeman, Editor and Publisher of the American Tennis Association’s Black Tennis Quarterly. His readers crave information, too. And as more minorities become interested in golf and tennis, the demand for both magazines is bound to grow.
Caldwell says his goal is to produce the most informative, the most qualitative and appealing golf publication in existence. Toward that end, he has moved the magazine from a quarterly to a bi-monthly publication schedule this year, this after purposefully staying away from the name Black Golf so that his product would be inclusive of all minorities. Lee Trevino has already graced the