When Avis Brown-Riley stepped onto the course recently at the 4th U.S. Women's Senior Open in Kettering, Ohio, she was making history: She was the first Black woman to participate in the event.
It was nothing new for her, though. She’d been shattering obstacles and the status quo all her life.
"The opportunity [to participate in the U.S. Women’s Senior Open] is a game-changing event for all the young Black girls worldwide to see someone who looks like them accomplish a history-making moment,” said Avis.
Avis’s mission to persevere and pave the way for women and girls of color is one that began at the age of 7 when she learned to golf. Coached by her father, Gordon Brown Sr., Avis was the first Black woman to win the prestigious Junior World Championship - something she did by the age of 10. She went on to become the first Black golfer to win the National Minority Collegiate Golf Championship and the San Diego Women’s City Amateur Championship, and to earn dozens of titles and achievements over the course of her career.
The trailblazer is an LPGA golf pro, breast cancer survivor, reality TV star, author, and African American Golfers Hall of Famer. But the role she enjoys the most is serving as a mentor for youth, women and African Americans in the world of golf.
"I have fought all my life for acceptance and respect in the golf world," she says
Avis’s journey to the African American Golfers Hall of Fame began at the age of 7. Coached by her father, Gordon Brown Sr., Avis went on to dominate the sport as the first and only African American women to win both the Junior World Golf Championship (1974) and the San Diego Women’s City Amateur Championship (1982).
Even though she would go on to win dozens of titles over the course of her career, her battle with breast cancer stands as her most significant victory. Avis reflected on her toughest trial in her recent memoir, Building of a Champion: How I Became a Champion in Life. Through laughter and tears, Avis teaches readers about the three Ds - Determination, Dedication, and Desire - that helped her beat cancer and succeed in life.
Avis continues to motivate women in golf while showing the world what winning in style is all about.