chef Gerald Sombright
Celebrating Black History Month


Growing up in East Chicago, Indiana, Steven Outlaw didn’t have to look far for a role model in golf. “My dad (Jimmy Outlaw Jr.) played on his high school team in the mid-1960s,” he said. “His passion became my profession. He and my mother worked in the steel mills and I come from a hard-working family.”

After graduating from Georgetown College in Kentucky (he was one of the first African-Americans to play golf in the Mid-South Conference), Outlaw was part of the first class at the PGA of America’s post-university diversity program in Port St. Lucie, Florida. “We want the game to mirror society more and it doesn’t right now,” he said. “I think we have 185 African Americans within the PGA of America, and the organization has 29,000 members. We have a long ways to go.”

He began his Troon career in 2008 with an internship. “If not for John Easterbrook and Dana Garmany, I might have gone down a different path,” said the 37-year-old. Currently director of sales and marketing at Troon headquarters in Scottsdale, Outlaw has worked around the world. “I’ve been in the Middle East (Abu Dhabi Golf Club) and in Malaysia (Els Club Teluk Datai), and have been around many diverse groups. That’s given me a different perspective on life, the golf industry, and how many lives this game does touch.”

Outlaw credits a number of trailblazers who came before him. “People like Joe Louis Barrow, Mark Lowry, and Dedrick Holmes of The First Tee; Michael Cooper of Urban Golfer LLC; and Kennie Sims at the Tampa Golf Authority have given me direction and advice when I needed it,” he said. “They have been through the same experiences that I’m going through now. I just want to be a role model and lend an ear to young people and help out wherever it’s needed. I feel like I owe it to the generation that comes after to me to do everything I can to make sure they have the same opportunities that I had.”

Outlaw believes progress in diversity starts on the grass roots level with organizations like The First Tee, the United Golfers Association, and the Advocates Pro Golf Association tour. “Being the world’s largest third-party course management company, we at Troon can also play a big part in getting minorities into the golf industry at all levels,” he said. “If juniors can see someone who looks like them in different positions, that might foster some interest about a career in golf.”