written by Olivia Pennybaker
Back in the twentieth century, a young black American defied all prejudice and descrimination by falling in love with a sport that was considered “white.” George “GG” Johnson was born in Columbus, Georgia in 1938. He became a caddy at 15 years old working for a segregated golf course in his hometown. When he graduated high school, Johnson moved to Atlanta, playing African American golf tours, winning numerous tournaments. He trained in golf management for the Professional Golfers Association getting his membership in 1968 and becoming one of the first blacks to attain PGA membership. Johnson played professional golf as well, qualifying for the US Open in 1965. In 1971 he was the fourth black American to win a PGA Tour event when he won the Azalea Open. During a time when many black Americans were not allowed to play golf, Johnson broke barriers competing in PGA Tour events. Johnson and his family moved to Louisville, Kentucky in 1997 and he became the first black Kentucky Head Golf Professional at Bobby Nichols Golf Course. In 1998 he started the Annual George “GG” Johnson Golf Scramble for any youth interested in playing golf and volunteered his time with First Tee - Louisville. He was inducted into the African American Golfers Hall of Fame in 2008. Johnson passed away in 2014 but his legacy lives on. In conjunction with his scramble, Louisville Urban League, and First Tee - Louisville, a scholarship is awarded to a graduating First Tee - Louisville participant every year. He connected his love of golf and kids, teaching many youth no matter their race or background, anyone can love, enjoy, and prosper in the great sport of golf.