Par Four Charities and Golf Club Celebrate 40 Year Anniversary
The Par Four Charities and Golf Club celebrated their 40th Anniversary with a program and banquet at Its Personal by Sheila Event Center at 2610 West Cervantes Street in Pensacola, Florida. The premier organization for Black golfers in Pensacola and Escambia County welcomed out-of-town guests from New York, Tampa, New Orleans, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, and many other cities throughout the country.
They presented member Walter Wallace with the Member of the Year Award and Lifetime Honorary Memberships to Jacqueline Miles the Pensacola Voice Newspaper Publisher, Robert Hill, owner of the WRNE Radio 980 AM & 106.9 FM, and Bill Vilona with the Pensacola News Journal for their support for the Par Four Golf Club and its activities. The organizations also thanked their sponsors who have supported them over the past 40 years such as Gulf Power, Sandy Sansing Automotive, Barnes Grocery Stores, Lewis Bear Company, Royal Cup Coffee, Baker and Baker Law Firm, Bank of Pensacola, Domino’s Pizza, Coca-Cola Company, Arizona Chemical Company, and this year Centennial Imports joined as the presenting sponsor. Jock Mobley, the owner of Centennial Imports, attended the banquet and spoke on the significance of Par Four Charities in the community.
Brandon Shelley, a 22 year old golfer and a graduate of Pine Forest High School, won The Championship Flight of the golf tournament as part of the Par Four Charities and Golf Club 4oth Anniversary Celebration. From the age of 9, Shelley has been coached by, Billy Brent, a volunteer coach and board member of the First Tee of Northwest Florida since 2004. Shelley was also mentored and coached by Adrian Stills, the Director and Golf Pro at the Osceola Golf Couse and is the first Executive Director of the local First Tee program.
The first Par Four golf tournament was held 40 years ago in 1975 as a further effort to promote the game and to establish a networking opportunity with Blacks from other cities. The tournament was designed like the other competitive events in Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery, Baton Rouge, and Biloxi. During the 40 years of this event there have been times when the tournament could report having over 200 golfers each year including twenty to thirty on a waiting list.
The Par Four Golf Club was organized in Pensacola, Florida in 1968 by nine African-American men. In 1968 Blacks were allowed to caddie and work other jobs at many golf courses, however, were only allowed to actually play the game of golf at some of the city/government owned golf courses. The organizers had a desire to promote the game of golf within the Black community because of their love for the game with the aspirations of witnessing the obstacles of segregation being removed.
Funds from the annual tournaments have been used to support various charities and charitable causes in the Pensacola community. In 1996, Par Four Charities, Inc. was created as a separate 501(c) 3 foundation and uses funds raised to support various charitable causes. One such cause is the focus that has been placed on support for youth oriented activities and the First Tee Program.