By Charles Davis, III
On Friday, June 24, 2017 the members of the Par Four Charities celebrated their 42nd annual Golf Tournament held at local clubs, The Apollo and Osceola Municipal Golf Course.
In 1968 nine black men formed the Par Four Golf Club in Pensacola as a Golf and Social Club. Its initial meeting was held at the home of one of its members. During this time period people of color could work and caddy at many of the golf courses but were only allowed to play at a few of the city and government owned golf courses.
The festivities started Friday, June 23, 2017 with the tournament registration that was held at The Apollo Club from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. This was followed by tee times at The Osceola Municipal Golf Course on Saturday, June 24th from 7:00 am to 11:50 am ending with a dinner social from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm at The Apollo Club. On the last day of their tournament, Sunday, June 25th, The Par Four Charities concluded with tee times at The Osceola Municipal Golf Course at 8:00 am to a Shotgun Start round of golf where everyone starts at the same time when the shotgun is fired.
Other similar tournaments have existed over the years in other cities such as: Mobile, Montgomery, Birmingham, Dothan, and Selma, Alabama; in Louisiana the cities of New Orleans, Houma, Monroe, Lafayette, and Baton Rouge and in Mississippi, Meridian, Jackson, Hattiesburg, and Biloxi.
The Par Four Charities mission statement reads, “The membership of Par Four Charities has pledged to serve the community through volunteerism and providing financial support to deserving youth oriented activities and organizations. Our goal is to lead by example and direct our efforts toward programs that instill self-esteem, self-respect and positive attitudes in our youth.” It is this statement that keeps Par Four Charites true, not only to the community but to themselves.
“We try our best to incorporate all the things about golf but at the same time we try to help the youth be better citizens,” said J.D. White, Secretary of the Par Four Administration, “just to ensure the need of the community is surviving and that we are willing to meet those needs,” White continued.
By simply donating their time and money, the members of Par Four is dedicated to specific organizations. For example, the Troupe for Youth organization, The Boys and Girls Club in Pensacola and others in northwest Florida. Companies also benefit and sponsor Par Four such as Coca-Cola and Centennial Motors to name a few prime examples. It is very important to the Par Four organization to be involved with the community because they continue to participate in trying to improve the lives of young people in Escambia county and surrounding counties.
“The gentlemen of the Par Four group have been so embracing of me and shared with me the willingness to serve and willingness to teach the younger incoming members so I find that to be most inviting,” says Renee Brown current Captain for Par Four.
The former president from 1974 to 1984 and light of the Par Four family was Calvin Washington who passed away January 29, 2016 due to his battle with sickle cell anemia. A pillar in the Par Four family his passing left a void within the organization but with the help of one another they were able to pull through. The people who were influenced by Calvin Washington all say he was NOT his sickness and he never let his sickness take him over.
“First thing for Calvin would be courtesy. He was always courteous and always people oriented and he believed in setting goals and accomplishing those goals but most importantly he believed in leaving an organization or a person better off for knowing him. He left the club in a wonderful place as former director and president,” Brown continued.
The Par Four organization is managing to keep up with the times by using new technology in many ways such as moving forward to a more technological oriented environment. The Par Four Organization is beginning to bring some of that technology savvy into managing their data information and tournament roles as well as their website. The Par Four organization continues to flourish by growing and accepting new members. To find out more on Par Four Charities Inc. and/or to become a member simply go to http://www.parfour.org.