By Joseph Phillips, Crusader Sports Editor
Building on the impact of legendary golfer Tiger Woods, the Village of University Park, Illinois, named CHW Management Group of Columbus, Ohio, as the new overseer for the “University Park Golf Club.”
The group is owned and founded by Sonia Coffee, the first Black woman and firm to manage a golf course in the state of Illinois. The group made its announcement on Monday, March 8, via a press conference. “This is a very important moment for me,” said Sonia Coffee, founder and president of CHW Management. “For me to be the first Black woman to represent here and have the privilege of doing it here in University Park.”
According to CHW Management Group, the group will offer educational scholarships, internships and jobs to encourage more interest from the Black community for pursuing careers in the golf industry.
“The world’s most famous golfer, Tiger Woods, has been sidelined indefinitely as he recovers from serious injuries following a car accident last month in Southern California,” said the CHW Management Group’s press release. “But the accident has only increased Woods’ influence, as golfers, supporters and fans have undertaken ways to recognize him and highlight the things he supports.”
According to Mayor Joseph E. Roudez III of University Park, the village is excited about playing a role in making history.
Roudez said by Coffee being both an African American and a woman, she will help address a major diversity concern in the “mostly male [dominated sport] and white golfing industry.”
“It was a board decision,” said Roudez. “The presentation by Ms. Sonia Coffee and the CHW management team was head and shoulders above everyone else’s. The professionalism, the level of expertise and their staff will benefit the citizens of University Park. We will create a partnership that empowers the opportunity for an African-American firm to make inroads for Blacks in golf. We want to provide Blacks and other people of color with access to the sport.”
The mayor said the group will work closely with Governors State University, which already has a golf program. “These were all deciding factors to move forward on this part- nership,” Roudez said.
Coffee has been around the game of golf since her days as a youth growing up in the city of Columbus. She was introduced to the game by her mother (a golf enthusiast) and very active in a program called First Tee. The program helped introduce Black youth to the sport of golf.
For more information about the CHW Management Group, visit the company’s website at [www.chwmanagementgroup.com].