We are the Nomads, a brotherhood of 70 African American men who share a singular passion for golf. We meet once a year to tee it up while renewing friendships, exchanging ideas, pondering the joys of our past and the wonders of our futures. Our members come from all walks of life, leaders in communities from coast to coast – doctors, lawyers, educators, bankers, business executives, entrepreneurs – men of faith and family who, as black men in America, have traveled a similar path to excellence. We know that our success in life and the strength of our bond as an association of men is the by-product of several generations of struggle and triumph. We take time each year to remember and celebrate.
“All the folks in the club have had to break barriers and this is what binds us,” according to Walt Bowers, the president of the Nomads. “Knowing we have all been involved in the struggle, this is a reminder that we are not alone.” Bowers, a retired obstetrician from Cincinnati, Ohio, has a streak of 21 years without an absence.
Today, in the final days of July, when the grass grows thick and the sun’s heat gives the golf ball a little extra loft the Nomads gather in the rich tradition of the founders. The annual meeting begins on a Sunday night. The members reconnect over cocktails as club officers provide details of the activities for five days. We play four official rounds of golf – Monday through Thursday – including two tournament rounds, and many members play additional rounds into the late afternoon or spend time practicing. Each evening we reconvene for a business meeting – another club tradition – when the members share a beverage, talk some trash and enjoy fellowship. The business includes an initiation of new members, a report from the site committee with details of the next year’s meeting location, election of officers, and a daily report from the golf committee which reports about course conditions, local rules and pairings for each day’s play.
The annual tournament, played on Wednesday and Thursday, is a flighted competition featuring some of the best amateur golf in America. The club champion often shoots par or better. After the tournament ends, the members gather for the official club photograph and the Nomad Awards Banquet on Thursday evening, as planned by the founders. We are welcomed at the finest golf resorts in the country, recently playing Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin, La Costa in San Diego, California, and Turning Stone in Upstate New York.
“For 51 weeks of the year you can do whatever you like,” Walt Bowers likes to tell the club members, “but that 52nd week – the last week of July – that’s Nomad week.”
And wherever the Nomads meet that week, we will be there…ready to play, while remembering the foursomes who played before us.
Membership in the Nomads is by invitation only….but occasionally we have special guests, as we did in 2016 when CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Armen Keteyian, and producer Alan Goldberg joined us at La Costa with several camera crews. Their story aired on 60 Minutes Sports on Showtime in March 2017. (See link below)