Black golfers find an ally in Tom Lehman

Professional golfer Tom Lehman comes to Minneapolis to discuss the future of Hiawatha Golf Club with Black community leaders, including former MN Vikings.

Black community leaders at Hiawatha Golf Club in south Minneapolis reach out to famed Minnesota professional golfer and course designer Tom Lehman in a bid to find an ally to save the historic course. On November 9, 2021, Tom Lehman arrived for an in-person meeting with Darwin Dean, president of the Bronze Golf Tournament. Dean, who reached out to Lehman via letter in late July 2021, was elated to receive a phone call and the subsequent meeting at Hiawatha Golf to explore the possibility of saving the course from overzealous environmentalists. “We’ve heard the 90-year-old course is unsustainable by certain folks at the Minneapolis Park Board. But we’d like to get a second opinion,” said Dean. “Maybe the guy who redesigned Edina Country Club would be a good choice to help here at Hiawatha Golf Club,” Dean said, referring to Tom Lehman, president of Lehman Design Group.

Lehman, in an interview with NBC Sports Golf Channel, “There’s no doubt in my mind that there’s a home here for a golf course for the next 90 years.” The Golf Channel was there making a documentary on the history of Hiawatha Golf which will debut this coming February for Black History Month. Darwin Dean also mentioned that “Every time communities of color feel comfortable in a place, it always ends up being tampered with, changed.” In January 2022, a new Minneapolis Park Board will be seated and will have only one member of color out of 9 commissioners. It’s recognized that the intersection points of the individual park districts south of downtown divide up a large community of color in a classic gerrymandering style.