Sports have an incredible ability to bring people of all backgrounds and socioeconomic levels together. However, it is not simple to expose people to different athletics. One woman is trying to change that narrative, and she’s using golf as a way to introduce more women and minorities to the sport.
Tari Cash is the founder of City Swing, a virtual golf facility based in Washington, DC that allows people of all experience levels to test their skills. Cash’s inspiration to start the brand catapulted after an episode in April 2018. According to CNN, five black women were summoned by police for playing golf too slowly at a semi-private course in Pennsylvania they recently joined.
Cash capitalized on early success with the City Swing Foundation, a nonprofit that provides access, free lessons and equipment to underrepresented and underserved communities in the nation’s capital.
The former Under Armor executive spoke with Yahoo Sports about the birth of City Swing, misconceptions about golf and the greater need for minority inclusion within the golf community.
Yahoo Sports: How did the concept of City Swing come about?
Tari Cash: “We started the company in 2018 and I think the years leading up to its founding is when it really started to click that I was using golf as a strategic tool to create relationships with executives at the companies I worked with. They were watching me. After we played golf together Or in a different way after talking about our shared love of golf. At the same time, indoor golf and golf simulation were becoming a trend. It was very popular in Asia and was slowly making its way to the United States, but not. Not really taken off.
“So, to understand that this is an important tool for business reasons and that there wasn’t an indoor golf simulator in DC, those were really key points that gave me the confidence to say, ‘Let’s do this. . . .’ We started with a popup in 2018 to see if it made sense. Thankfully, it really resonated with the local community and once we got the validation, I thought, ‘Let’s try to create a company.’ “
YS: Why do you think golf is the solution to connecting with executives compared to other methods you’ve tried in the past?
TC: “Yes. I love that question. When you play golf, you’re spending four to five hours with these people. You put in foursomes and most of the athletic activity is a very small part of the total round. When you’re riding a cart or you’re walking your ball, so you’re a family. , talking about vacations, business, etc. And that’s how quality relationships are built when you’re not in a conference room or at dinner. Maybe get 10 minutes with someone. Even though it’s a long round, it’s a very effective way to build deeper relationships.”
YS: I want to pivot to your foundation. Did you know what you wanted to install when you first started City Swing?
TC: “Yes, I did. City Swing was born in 2018 and the Foundation two years later. But we have always been a social impact company from the beginning. My mission has always been to create spaces where women and people of color feel truly comfortable and connected to sports. The Foundation is really our way of being able to go to those groups, provide a really fun and free first golfing experience and hopefully give them the tools they need to learn the game. My philosophy is that as you learn golf, other attributes like leadership and team building will develop.”
YS: What is a common misconception people have when you first interact with them about their golfing experience and how is City Swing working to dispel those misconceptions?
TC: “I think the biggest misconception is that you need to be good at golf to start playing. A lot of people, especially women, feel that they’re really ready to play on the course long before they actually start. That really just comes down to it. Time and practice.Especially for women, we tend to wait a little longer than necessary to learn the game.
“At City Swing, we’ll teach you the vocabulary, how to use the equipment and, of course, etiquette. There are golfing techniques that make for a seamless game. Once you nail them, the focus can be on nurturing. Healthy relationships. It’s just going at your own pace. We Everyone remembers the first time we learned to do something, right?
“Women of color are generally an underrepresented group, and they haven’t played golf because they haven’t been invited to the game. Not because of a lack of interest. We’re making it inviting and welcoming, which in turn sees an increase in curiosity.”
YS: Looking ahead, what other objectives do you want to take on not just City Swing, but Jag as well?
TC: “City Swing has three components. We’ve got our brick-and-mortar, the golf trucks and the foundation. Those three really work together to make golf more accessible and welcoming. The trucks and the studios are huge opportunities. For us to scale and develop the foundation Also. What we’re going to do is focus on mobilizing the golf truck for both events and our foundation. Eventually we’ll open more studios nationwide and overseas. The goal is to become a global brand, and I believe we’ll get there in time.”