Jabir Bilal started playing golf when he was 15 years old because he needed a job to get a car he had his eyes on. 

So he got a job at his local golf course at Browns Mill Golf Course in Atlanta, GA. During the summer he worked there as a cart boy and that’s when he started to pick up golf. 

After only playing golf for two years, Bilal earned a scholarship to play golf at Grambling State University.

Oftentimes Bilal would be the only black person at golfing events and tournaments. Whenever he came across other black people on the course he would embrace them but he became accustomed to being the only black person when he would compete. 

“I became accustomed to it,” Bilal said. “Early on I was shell-shocked but I quickly adapted to it and used it as fuel.” 

Bilal felt that he had a responsibility to represent because there weren’t many black people playing golf. Instead of feeling like it was a burden to be one of the few black people playing golf, Bilal thought it was an honor and privilege to represent black people.

The next step is how golf can appeal to black youth. Bilal believes that more exposure around golf through interviews with pro golfers and social media will help the game expand. 

Bilal has also introduced golf to people that have never been introduced to the game before. He currently has affordable lessons that people can take.  

Top Golf is another way Bilal thinks the game of golf can appeal to more black youth.

“Top Golf is a great concept for getting people introduced to the game of golf,” Bilal said. “It makes the game fun and attractive whereas there isn’t much pressure in a traditional way where you have to have a colored shirt or slacks.”

Top Golf appeals to beginners in golf because of how free-flowing it is. The same way you can just pick up a basketball and shoot in the hoop is how you can pick a golf club and hit the golf ball as far as you can. 

Bilal says the number one lesson golf has taught him is perseverance. 

“Out of all sports I think golf at its peak is the most representative of life,” Bilal said. You have your good shots and you have your bad shots. Whether you like it or not it’s only on you for individual sports. You have to commit 100% to every shot you hit and you have to live with it. Just like life you have to live with the choices you made. However, you still have another hole in golf and you still have another day in life to correct or improve on that.”

Jabir Bilal tees off Monday at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth. (Photo Credit: APGA Tour)