Sunshine State Amateur Golfers Association, Inc. is dedicated and devoted to the development of minority golf participation through junior golf programs and adult activities related to golf.
A Brief History
In the early 1970’s, Black golfers were having problems playing organized golf in the state of Florida. In 1972 Robert Saffold of Sebring, Florida talked with several Black golfers during the “Sephia Open (Pro-Am) Golf Tournament” being held in Sebring at the Harder Hall Golf Course. During this meeting, the golfers discussed the formation of a statewide organization that all Black golfers could join and participate in friendly tournament competition. Included among this pioneering group of Black golfers were Ed Henry, Ernest King, James Hastie, Danny Sutton, Eddie Postell, Leonard Wilson, and Robert Saffold. This notable list of golfers noted that several cities in Florida at that time had established tournaments such as Tampa (Rogers Park), Jacksonville (Moncreif), Ocala (Compton #2), and Miami (North/South @ Miami Springs). They started the dialogue which led to this concept becoming a reality.
Preliminary discussions of this initial group led them to invite others to the planning sessions. Participation in these initial stages constituted the formation of a central planning body and the birth of an association called the Sunshine State Golfers Association. The association started with five (5) small clubs: Palmview Golfers Association (Ft. Lauderdale), Elite Swingers (Pinellas County), Florida Sportsmen’s Association (Sebring), Miami Par & Birdie of Lakeland. Ernest King of Ft. Lauderdale served as the first President from 1972-1975.
Messrs. Leonard Wilson (1976-78), Robert Saffold (1979-81), and Maurice Wallace (1982-85) followed as Presidents. Under their continuous outstanding leadership, the organization’s constitution and by-laws were revised, affiliate membership increased, tournament standards were developed, and the tournament competition improved with participation at quality golf courses. In 1984, the organization was officially registered with the state of Florida as a not-for-profit corporation under the name Sunshine State Amateur Golfers Association, Inc. In 1989, the organization received its 501(c)(3) tax exemption certificate from the Internal Revenue Service. Other elected presidents included Ms. Ella Morehead (1986-89), Charlie Pelham (1990-93), Willie Jones (1994-97/Miami), Edward Maynor (1998-2001), Clewis Wright (2002-2005), Curtis Williams (2006-2009), Herbie Pitters (2010-2013), and Mac Johnson (2014-2017). The current President is Gregory Vereen from West Palm Beach, Florida.
The SSAGA is the only principally African-American statewide association of male and female golfers in the United States. It is now comprised of ten (10) clubs and involves approximately 1,000 golfers of all ethnicities from Miami, West Palm Beach, Tampa, Orlando, Naples/Ft. Myers, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Ft. Pierce/Vero Beach, Titusville, Sebring, Lakeland, and St. Augustine. Through regularly scheduled tournaments, members and associate members enjoy camaraderie among those who love the game. The SSAGA contributes more than $800,000 annually to Florida’s economy through the hosting of local and state tournaments and other golf-related activities.