A Sisterhood in Golf

A Sisterhood in Golf

This story appeared in the Summer 2023 Issue of New Jersey Golf. To read more from this issue click here.

In 1980, a group of eight African American women—Joan Bright, Joy Fernandes, Anna Hill Wheaton, Louise King, Lillian “Babe” Martin, Marian Savage, Delores Scales and Margaret Walton—noticed how much fun their husbands, members of a club called the Duffers, were having playing golf. With the unwavering support of their husbands, the ladies picked up the game and formed their own unit—the Dufferettes.  

“If you look at how they [the Dufferettes] started, their husbands were playing and it was a group of African American men who played together because, I would conclude, they were not warmly received into the world of golf, which is traditionally a white male sport,” said Jackie Clark, a Dufferettes member for the past seven years. “They found each other through work, through church, through being neighbors. They found each other, and they played.”  

More than 40 years later, the Dufferettes are stronger than ever. There are new members, members who are business professionals, retirees, mothers, grandmothers— women from all walks of life. The Dufferettes is an organization that exemplifies true sportsmanship.  

Mae Harvey, Bettye Carson and Mary Brinkley; members of the Dufferettes

"It is all of our jobs to embrace each other and make each member feel like you're a valued part of this club. We don't care what your golf game looks like right now. We do want you to grow your game and we're going to tell you ways that you can grow your game, and the first way is coming and playing,” Clark said.  

It’s always been much more than just golf for the group. They are a tight knit crew, gathering for social events or post-round libations.  

At the end of the day, like many clubs without real estate, the Dufferettes have formed a special bond. For a predominantly African American golf group, there’s a sense of togetherness that’s been cultivated through sharing similar challenges and beliefs. Through their organization, they display just how special the Dufferettes are.  

“With us entering this world of golf, we just show another dimension of our strength, another dimension of our ability, another dimension of our accomplishments,” Clark said. At the end of the day, there has been no better way to relate with other groups than on the golf course. Through interclub matches, the Dufferettes have the chance to compete against other female golf groups.  

“You peel back those stereotypes that you had, and you realize, hey, these people are just like me.” 

Playing every Saturday at Weequahic Golf Course, the Dufferettes are 54 ladies strong and have become way more than a club without real estate.  

“We are more than just ladies who play golf,” Clark said. “We're a sisterhood.” 

This story appeared in the Summer 2023 Issue of New Jersey Golf. To read more from this issue click here.

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