Black History Month: Sometimes Taking A Club In Hand Is Necessary
February 9, 2016
I will commit the ultimate in narcissism and quote myself, "Black History is constantly being made. Despite the various issues of today, the lessons of the past are a reminder, but not the dictator of what many African-Americans are doing every day ... seizing opportunities, reinventing and succeeding."
Every Black History Month, I try to point out African-Americans leading ordinary lives but doing extraordinary things with their lives. One of those people is Maulana Dotch. She is the first African-American woman in Texas and second African-American woman in the United States to earn her Class A PGA Membership. Dotch has also recently become a certified LPGA Teaching Professional. She has been in the golf business for 10 years and is currently the Assistant Golf Professional/Director of Instruction at the Cedar Crest Golf Course in Dallas.
Dotch earned a full golf scholarship to play on the women's golf team for Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida. During her four years there, the team won the PGA National Minority Collegiate Golf Championship each year. As a senior she won for individual play in the Women's Division of the Championship.
The accomplished golfer graduated from Bethune-Cookman Magna Cum Laude in in 2002 with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Accounting. After college she played three seasons on the now Symetra Tour (a women's mini-golf tour).
Coach: What got you interested in golf?
Dotch: It was my dad. I didn't have a choice; he got hurt on his job and couldn't work anymore and therefore he was home taking care of me and my three brothers. One day he took us across the street to the high school and had us hitting golf balls. It became a once-a-week thing to every day. He built a net in the backyard and I had to hit into it every day. My dad had me working on everything and played on weekends and after church on Sunday. He bought me a set of clubs. Truthfully, I really didn't like it all that much until I got to high school and started to take it seriously after I won my first tournament. Then I was all in.
Coach: At what point did you start to think golf could help pay for college?
Dotch: Again, my Dad, when I started learning to play, he told me, "You're going to play golf, get a golf scholarship, and play on the LPGA tour." He told me that all the time from day one. So that's what I did.
Coach: How did you come to choose a Bethune-Cookman, a historically Black College to attend?
Dotch: Originally I wanted to go to Wake Forest, but I had a really bad day playing on the day the coach came to watch me play in a tournament. The coach at SMU only offered me a partial scholarship. I was a part of the Bill Dickey National Minority Collegiate Scholarship Foundation and they put me in touch with the coach at Texas Southern and I wanted to go there. Then I went to Florida to see Bethune, I really thought it was too far away from my family and thought, no way, I want to go to Southern. But the Bethune coach called me as soon as I flew back the next day and told me that if I wanted to come there, I needed to sign the papers and get them in the mail the same day. So I didn't think twice about it, I signed the papers and took them to the post office.
Coach: What was the process like getting on the Women's LPGA Tour?
Dotch: I went to qualify for the Teacher's Tour; I was nervous and scared. I could play and I qualified, but my confidence wasn't there. I just don't think I was mentally ready. I was on the tour for three years in a few tournaments and I just got burnt out
Coach: What happened next?
Dotch: I went home, stopped playing golf, and went to grad school. Then one day about six months later my dad said, "Let's go play golf." So we went and at the course I ran into a guy working there I knew. He wanted to know what I was doing and why no one had seen me for such a long time. He talked me into coming to work at the course and I started playing again. He kept after me and told me I needed to get into the business side of golf; to become a pro and teach. That's when I learned the difference between a golf professional and a professional golfer.
Coach: What is the difference?
Dotch: A professional golfer is the guy or lady who plays on TV and plays on tour somewhere. The golf professional is person you see at the course, managing the operations, teaching golf, giving lessons, and behind the counter dealing with customers. Both have PGA cards. Mine is for Golf Professional and the Tour Card is for professionals out on tour. It's all under the PGA, just a different category.
Coach: I never knew that, thanks. What are your golf business goals, short and long term?
Dotch: Short term, I want to become a certified PGA member which is the equivalent to getting a Master's Degree, but it's in Golf Operations and Instruction. The ultimate goal is to have my own course where I am teaching, running operations and have my own staff. Until that happens, get PGA certified and get a job at a high-end private club; be the GM or Head Golf Pro and double my salary, which would be awesome. You need to get certified in at least two areas for certification. There are actually four areas you could get certified in, and if someone gets certification in all four, that person is then considered a Master Professional; there are only a few of those. It is a lot of work, but not very expensive. However, the work load is heavy; there is so much to learn. It's done online through the PGA Education Department. It is a pass or fail thing, but there are like 14 books to thoroughly understand. There are about 28,000 PGA members and only 10% are certified in certain areas -- golf operations, player development, teaching & coaching, and general management.
Fall Dotch created and hosted her first annual Maulana Dotch Ladies Pro-Am at Cedar Crest Golf Course in Dallas. There were approximately 100 women from all over the country helping to raise money for the charitable event.
Coach: Why is this year's tournament so important to you?
Dotch: First of all, it has been renamed The Maulana Dotch Golf Classic presented by Bishop Arts CrossFit. Also, this year it's not just for the ladies; men can play, too. Just like last year, this event is my way of giving back. There are four kids in our Cedar Crest Jr. Golf program who are graduating this year. I have worked with each of them. I envision a brief ceremony with all four telling their stories at the tournament awards and handing each $1,000 in appreciation for their hard work. I am proud to say that all of them are going to college in the fall. They are such good kids and done so much. My overall goal is simple: Get the expenses for the tourney paid and give at least $1,000 to those kids.
Coach: When Is the golf tournament?
Dotch: It's Friday, April 22nd at the Cedar Crest Golf Club, 1800 Southerland Ave. in Dallas. Players and sponsors can register at www.tournevents.com/mdi2016 or call (817) 845 -2204. It is teams of four and is Scramble best ball. Par is your friend.
She Makes History Every Day
Dotch instructs the Dallas chapter of the LPGA Girls Golf and is the lead instructor for the First Tee of Greater Dallas at Cedar Crest Golf Course.
Additionally, she has become active with the Northern Texas Section of the PGA as a member of the Teaching and Coaching Committee, the Tournament Committee, and recently was appointed to the Diversity and Inclusion Committee with the PGA of American National Office.
List of Awards and Accomplishments:
- 2015 Northern Texas PGA Section Player Development Award Winner
- 2015 Bethune Cookman University 40 Under 40 Recipient
- 2015 NTPGA Metro Chapter - PGA Player Development Award Winner
- 2015 Trailblazer Award from Equanimity Magazine
- 2015 Inductee into the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame
- 2014 Received the Female Success Factor Dallas Award from Rollin Out Magazine
- 2014 Recognized Young Professional of Dallas Furniture Bank
- 2012 Avid Golfer's Leading Ladies of the Metroplex
- 2012 Golf Professional of the Year by the African American Golfers Digest
- 2010 President's Council on Growing of the Game
- 2010 Earn Class A PGA Membership
- Winner of the 2002 Women's Division of the PGA National Minority Collegiate Golf Championship
Committees and Affiliates:
- PGA National Diversity and Recruiting Committee
- Northern Texas Section Teaching and Coaching Committee
- Northern Texas Section Tournament Committee
- Lead Coach for The First Tee of Greater Dallas
- Lead for The Pink Tee Foundation
- Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.