LPGA’s Mariah Stackhouse on how Steph Curry’s Underrated Golf brings ‘cool’ to the game

Mariah Stackhouse knew she was witnessing one thing particular. It was the ultimate spherical of NBA star Stephen Curry’s Underrated Golf’s first annual Curry Cup at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, website of the 2020 PGA Championship, in September 2022. “It was unimaginable to see what Steph and his workforce had completed with the occasion for the youngsters,” Stackhouse says of the Underrated Golf program. “I might see how a lot they liked it. It was superior seeing so many promising, younger Black golfers in a single house truly attending to compete on nice golf programs.”

Within the spring of 2022, four-time NBA champion Curry based Underrated Golf, an all-expense-paid junior tour to assist underrepresented gamers across the nation pursue the sport. “We’re pushed to open extra doorways for numerous gamers and stability participation within the sport to actually replicate our society,” Curry famous in a press launch. Moreover, the Warriors’ level guard pledged to financially assist and assist set up a Division I males’s and ladies’s golf program at traditionally Black faculty Howard University for the 2020-2021 educational yr, after 50 years with out a workforce.

Stackhouse, a KPMG ambassador since her rookie season in 2017, knew after only a few hours of witnessing Curry’s occasion that she wished to become involved and assist this system.

By March 2023, Stackhouse helped secure KPMG as Underrated Golf’s title sponsorserving to the group broaden mentorship and management improvement packages for gamers. Stackhouse will attend the second-annual Curry Cup in September 2023 and supply classes and profession recommendation to collaborating junior golfers.

Regardless of her latest struggles on the golf course (in 2022, she made solely three cuts on LPGA Tour), Stackhouse wished to make the most of her platform past her scores. As simply the seventh Black participant to earn LPGA standing, Stackhouse understands the impression of visibility within the golf world and the significance of accessibility to the game. (There are not any Black golfers with full-time standing on the LPGA Tour.)

Stackhouse, who will tee up this week on the KPMG Women’s PGA Championshiptalked to ESPN in regards to the significance of being concerned with Underrated Golf, why she desires to proceed to develop the sport and her hope to impression the game past her enjoying profession.

This interview has been edited and condensed for readability.

ESPN: Do you consider Underrated Golf is filling a spot within the golf world?

MS: Sure. A number of nice tasks are focused at giving minority golfers a extra aggressive expertise. This program has the identical focus, however Steph is operating it. And so there are sources able to take it and say, “Hey, let’s not simply make this one occasion, let’s make this a tour. Let’s go to completely different elements of the nation. We’re funding the child’s journey. We’re taking good care of that have in order that they’ll play.” And the mother and father are burden free.

The focused age group, 12 to 18, is admittedly particular as a result of these are the years when it is essential to begin studying how one can journey, play golf, play high-caliber and difficult programs, and construct your sport in that method and have a schedule. And if you find yourself on the high, you now get some standing and a chance to compete in American Junior Golf Affiliation [AJGA] occasions. It offers a stepping stone and a platform. Nothing else is being completed in precisely that method.

ESPN: How essential is it for younger youngsters and households to have entry to packages like Underrated Golf?


Extremely essential. [As a young player] I used to be enjoying in loads of these youth organizations. I used to be already truly enjoying aggressive native and regional excursions. My dad nonetheless wished to place me in these packages as a result of he wished me to have enjoyable with the sport and get good at it with different younger children in my space. That was extremely essential to him. Not solely my aggressive improvement however social improvement on the planet of golf. As a younger, Black golfer, it was much more essential.

Creating and ensuring your children get into an surroundings the place they’re surrounded by folks that appear like them too, subconsciously, that is offering them an expertise that they may not know they want.

ESPN: What position will you play inside Underrated Golf?

MS: I will be on the championship occasion in September. And after the championship spherical concludes, there can be a golf improvement and management coaching day. The golf portion can be within the morning. Steph can be there with me. I will do a demo. He’ll reasonable it. I will give them some suggestions and undergo a golf demonstration. Then we’ll each discuss to them simply in regards to the journey by means of athletics, mentally, bodily and simply speaking to them in regards to the sport.

Then, within the second half of the day, we’ll transition into a number of completely different management trainings. One run on my own and a few completely different folks within the space. And after, we’ll discuss affirmations. I will share mine. I’ve an affirmation I’ve stated since I used to be younger. I will assist the youngsters create their affirmations.

ESPN: What’s your affirmation?

MS: I’ve truly by no means shared it. It is about 4 paragraphs lengthy. My mother and father wrote it for me after I was youthful to repeat to myself. It is a web page devoted to me, myself, and my well-being. They wrote all of that. And I nonetheless repeat it to myself at present. And I will share my affirmation with the youngsters that day.

ESPN: Why is it essential to be concerned with Underrated Golf, particularly when your golf sport is not the place you need it to be professionally?

MS: I believe the struggles that I’ve gone by means of over the past couple of years threw the whole lot into perspective. It confirmed me {that a} profession as an athlete isn’t assured. I am in a really distinctive house proper now. I’ve the platform; I’ve the standing. What can I do to be most impactful whereas I am nonetheless enjoying? That does not imply to say that if I am not enjoying skilled golf, I lose my affect. I do not assume that is the case.

Nevertheless it’s actually put into perspective that every one you have got is now. Proper? I am blessed in that I am on the up-and-up bodily and really feel succesful proper now. So possibly final yr I felt, when will I get this again? However I really feel assured once more.

However earlier than that, I felt it gave me a little bit sense of urgency to do the whole lot with my platform. I believe that is why. I have been out right here on tour. That is my seventh yr [on the LPGA Tour]and I am nonetheless getting questions round completely different interviews and issues like that, speaking about what it is wish to be the one Black participant on tour.

There is a younger, Black golfer at USC proper now named Amari Avery, who is admittedly good. I’ve little doubt Amari will make it on tour. I would like Amari to not have that “just one” expertise in order that she’s not the person who has to hold X, Y and Z on her shoulders when she’s on the market. That is what I might like for the following technology of golfers. Possibly it will take a very long time for it to be nice numbers of Black ladies and men on tour. I would like it to turn into much less in regards to the illustration they’re carrying and simply in regards to the sport they present up with.

ESPN: How does that make you’re feeling?

MS: We had the Tiger wave after which a number of folks popped up. It simply goes to indicate it takes extra than simply somebody exhibiting up and being the face. It should be one thing completed on an intentional degree to gas that pipeline. There are loads of initiatives happening proper now. Whether or not it is one thing I create alone or Steph’s Underrated Golf Tour. I wish to assist efforts to develop the sport.

ESPN: Why is it essential to have guys like Steph on the forefront of constructing golf a cool sport for the following technology?

MS: Historically, golf isn’t seen because the cool sport. However if you see soccer gamers, basketball gamers and baseball gamers, the second they’re within the offseason, they wish to run and play a bunch of golf with associates. And so they’re at all times posting on social media that they are having a very good time. I believe that can enhance the notion of golf tradition. Even to today, I will meet folks or hang around with new teams that I do not know, I by no means actually talked about the golf stuff offhand, however ultimately, as soon as it comes up, they’re like, “Oh, you play golf?” And so they say, “Wow, that is actually cool. I would not have anticipated that!”

And what they’re saying is, you do not look like a golfer. I believe the extra we will take away ourselves from that notion, the faster it makes folks wish to exit and have an off-the-cuff spherical at their native public course with associates and get to know how one can play the sport.

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Printed : 2023-06-23 20:11:18

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