Game Changers

Paul Millsap PGA WORKS Fellow Destany Hall is Dedicated to Diversifying the Game

By Matt Adams
Published on
Paul Millsap PGA WORKS fellow Destany Hall poses on the golf course.

Paul Millsap PGA WORKS fellow Destany Hall poses on the golf course.

For Destany Hall, 2022 Paul Millsap PGA WORKS fellow, golf isn’t just a hobby — it’s a family legacy.
It all started with her grandfather, the late James Hall, Sr. He passed his love for the sport onto Destany’s dad, James, Jr., who shared that passion with his wife, Destany’s mom, Bonita. Naturally, they handed their daughter a club as soon as she could walk.
Paul Millsap PGA WORKS fellow Destany Hall & her family out on the course.
Paul Millsap PGA WORKS fellow Destany Hall & her family out on the course.
“When I was born, it was set in stone that I was going to be a golfer,” the younger Hall jokes.
And if ever there was a kid born to play, it was Destany. Her talent manifested itself early, and by the time she reached high school at Denton (TX) Guyer, in the Dallas suburbs, she was drawing the attention of college coaches. 
From the outside looking in, you’d never guess that she felt anything but at home on a golf course. But you’d be surprised. 
For years, Destany played with a cloud hanging over her, an unshakable feeling that she didn’t belong. That’s not uncommon, she says, among African-American golfers, especially females.
Paul Millsap PGA WORKS fellow Destany Hall his a shot on the range.
Paul Millsap PGA WORKS fellow Destany Hall his a shot on the range.
Recent figures show that only about three percent of American golfers are black. The reasons why are too many to enumerate here, though the decades of discrimination at golf courses across the country likely played an outsized role in discouraging participation.
Growing up, Destany didn’t know as much about that shameful history as she does now. All she knew was what she saw, and she saw very few golfers who resembled her. Because of that, there were many times when she wanted to throw in the towel.
To help keep that from happening, Destany’s parents would drive 40 miles each way to Cedar Crest Golf Course in Dallas just so Destany could take lessons from Maulana Dotch, the second ever African-American woman to earn a Class A PGA membership and the first to become the general manager of a golf course in this country. 
“My parents were adamant about finding a role model for me who would really push me to keep going,” says Destany.
With Dotch’s guidance, Destany became more and more comfortable playing in her own skin. She quieted that voice in her head that told her she was in the wrong sport, and she began thinking seriously about her golfing future. 
Her senior year of high school, Destany accepted a scholarship offer from Texas Southern University, one of the largest HBCUs (Historically Black College and University) in the United States. Though she had other offers, the appeal of playing alongside other minority women made the decision to attend TSU an easy one.
Paul Millsap PGA WORKS fellow Destany Hall and her team at TSU posing as SWAC 2017 Women's Golf Champions.
Paul Millsap PGA WORKS fellow Destany Hall and her team at TSU posing as SWAC 2017 Women's Golf Champions.

“Joining a team that looked like me definitely made golf a lot more enjoyable, and I felt more included,” Destany says.
Four years later, she graduated with little idea of what to do next. Destany worked for a while under Dotch, who by that time was managing Hermann Park Golf Course in Houston, and she interned for the PGA of America in its Career Services division. There, Destany’s eyes were opened to jobs in golf that didn’t necessarily require her to swing a club, which led to her applying to the Paul Millsap PGA WORKS fellowship program.
Named in honor of its patron, four-time NBA all-star Paul Millsap, the PGA WORKS fellowship gives people from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to work for the PGA of America in the organization’s Georgia Section.
As part of her duties, Destany helps lead the section’s inclusion initiatives. This means she spends a lot of time talking with young minority  golfers and their parents. In many cases, she hears stories of bullying that remind her of what she experienced as a youngster, when she was ostracized for playing golf by both black and white peers. Nevertheless, like Dotch did for her, Destany encourages those players to persevere. 
Paul Millsap PGA WORKS fellow Destany Hall at a Georgia PGA Section Event.
Paul Millsap PGA WORKS fellow Destany Hall at a Georgia PGA Section Event.
“I tell them, I know this sport isn’t popular right now [in the black community], but as a minority, there are so many opportunities, like scholarships, available to you,” Destany says. “It would be a real shame if there was nobody to take them. Not to mention the people you’ll meet along the way. I have never met anyone in golf who steered me wrong.”
The PGA WORKS fellowship has been a rewarding experience for Destany, and it has convinced her that a career in golf is in her future. Finally, after all this time, there’s no doubt in her mind that she belongs. The challenge now is to convince others that they do, too.
“Representation does matter, especially in golf,” says Destany. “I want to make sure I’m doing my part to be that mentor and coach for that little girl like me, so that she doesn’t have to seek so hard to find someone who looks like her in the game.”

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