By: Wesley Martin
On March 10, the National Black Golf Hall of Fame inducted Pensacola’s native son, Adrian Stills.
The ceremony, which took place at the Crowne Plaza East in Tampa, Fla., also honored Ann Gregory, the first African-American woman to play in a USGA championship, and Tom Woodard, the first Black golfer to earn NCAA division I All-American recognition.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Stills said. “I had no idea I would be inducted this year – or any year.”
Stills, director of Golf Operations and Head Professional at Osceola Golf Course, said his father introduced he and his older brother to golf as children in the 1960’s.
“It was his way of keeping us out of trouble,” he said. “[My father] would drop us off at 7 a.m. and pick us up at dark.”
Stills said his father’s actions were two-fold: the sport kept his sons out of trouble and it also provided an avenue for bonding.
Stills, a three-time All American at South Carolina State University, won three Florida PGA section events, 20 mini-tour championships, and competed in two US Opens. He also played the PGA Tour in 1986-1987.
After teaching at Grand Cypress Academy of Golf in Orlando for 15 years, he moved back to Pensacola and helped to organize “The First Tee of North West,” an advocacy organization committed to promoting character development and life-enhancing values to children through the game of golf.
With all of his accomplishments, Stills has a humble attitude.
“If nothing else, this award is a chance to say ‘thank you’ to people,’” he said. “It’s also a chance to reflect on the people that have been inducted prior to me and what they stand for.”