The LGBT golf group has played every public course in the DFW area
Different Strokes Golf Association begins its 20th season on March 25 with a golf tournament at Cedar Crest Golf Club in South Dallas.
The golf league organizes competitive golf events for LGBT golfers of all skill levels. More than 50 active golfers currently participate.
“We encourage people to come try us,” said current DSGA President Don Spare.
To try out Different Strokes, prospective members don’t need to join. They can sign up to play a round of golf.
“If they come out and decide that they would like to continue playing with the group, we do ask them to become a member,” Spare said.
Membership is $45 for the year. After June 30, the rate goes down to $25 for a half-year membership and students may join at any time for $25.
“We have a PGA professional that is a member of our organization that from time to time offers mini-clinics at selected events,” Spare said. “He also keeps us up-to-date on the ever changing rules.”
The Different Strokes season starts with the open invitational at Cedar Crest. Through the spring and fall, Spare said, DSGA plans to play at different courses about once every two weeks. During the hot summer, they schedule play once every three weeks, for a total of 15 or 16 events per season.
DSGA tournaments are usually held at public courses. When the league began, Spare said, they predominantly played at Stevens Park Golf Course. But members came then — as they still do — from throughout the DFW area.
As the Stevens Park golf course in North Oak Cliff became more and more popular and harder to book, DSGA began playing at courses throughout Dallas and North Texas.
Although they have played at some private courses, Spare said they usually stick to public courses to keep the fees down.
“We want to keep it very affordable,” Spare said.
On Martin Luther King Day, members were in Las Vegas for the Sin City Shootout. That event is the largest annual LGBT sporting event in the world, featuring 25 sports and about 9,000 athletes. DSGA organized the golf competition for the Sin City Shootout for the fourth year in a row.
In April, DSGA is planning an out-of-town event in Fredericksburg, west of Austin. The April 22 tournament takes place at the Lady Bird Johnson Golf Course during the height of wildflower season. The entry fee is $70.
In addition to golf, attendees are planning trips to local wineries and biking and hiking through the Hill Country. Most participants are staying at local B&Bs.
DGSA tournaments usually include a “19th hole” social event following the play and, during the summer, pool parties.
Spare said whether you are an old pro or a rank beginner, a scratch golfer or a total duffer, everyone is welcome; Different Strokes includes golfers of all ability levels.
“We have everyone from the highest handicap that can be assigned to scratch golfers,” Spare said. He said golf is a great way to get out and get some fresh air.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 24, 2017.