There's a dearth of Black players on the LPGA Tour. This woman wants that to change
Updated 1231 GMT (2031 HKT) March 7, 2021
(CNN)Made redundant from her job at Lockheed Martin at the age of 55, Clemmie Perry started thinking she needed to find a hobby.
She turned to golf, but was immediately struck by the lack of diversity. So ever since Perry picked up her first set of clubs in 2013, she has made it her mission to bridge the access gap in the sport.
Founded in 1950, the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) is one of the longest-running women's professional sports associations. But the LPGA has historically struggled with a lack of diversity and inclusion in the game.
It took a little more than a decade for the first Black player, Althea Gibson, to join the tour. Fourteen years later Nancy Lopez followed suit, becoming the first Hispanic player to compete on the LPGA Tour.
Since 1950, just eight Black players have held full-time membership in LPGA Tour history, according to the organization.
The LPGA says most of its tournaments have approximately 100 to 120 players and fields are based on a "Priority List."
Players in approximately the top 150 are generally considered full-time as they get into a majority of events, the LGPA confirmed to CNN Sport.
Of the more than 530 LPGA Tour members, about 220 of whom are active competitors, there is only one Black player with full-time membership — Mariah Stackhouse — the LPGA confirmed to CNN. Stackhouse is No. 127 in the LPGA's priority list for 2021.
"There are various ways to earn LPGA Tour Membership, including winning an event, advancing through our Qualifying Series, advancing from our developmental tour or earning a certain amount of money in a given year," added the LPGA.
Meanwhile on the LPGA and Symetra Tours combined as few as 2% of players are Black compared with 55% of White competitors, according to statistics provided by the LPGA.
The organisation told CNN: "We are committed long-term to changing the face of golf, making the sport we love more diverse, accessible and inclusive."
Efforts are being made to increase the diversity of the sport from a beginner level, but data from the National Golf Foundation shows that among juniors who first played on a golf course in 2019, about 36% were girls and just over a quarter were "non-Caucasian."
A grassroots game
Perry set up Women Of Color Golf (WOCG), a Black-led non-profit organisation based in Florida to "increase diversity and inclusion in the sport of golf for women and girls." Thus far she has trained 600 ethnic minority women and girls
"I realized I had to make a change for the women and girls behind me," said Perry, who comes from a legacy of changemakers.