HU’s Odom invited to John Shippen Golf Invitational

DETROIT – Intersport revealed its first round of players committed to compete in THE JOHN SHIPPEN National Invitational, presented by Rocket Mortgage, where Howard University rising senior Gregory Odom (Memphis, Tenn.) was among the golfers participating. The announcement came Tuesday.

The two-day event (June 27-28) features the nation’s top amateur and professional Black golfers, competing at the historic Detroit Golf Club. The invite is designed specifically to provide heightened opportunities and recognition to Black golfers.

“I am excited for Greg,” said Howard Director of Golf Sam Puryear, who just finished his first season at the helm. “I knew he was one of the best young African-American players in the country and there’s a lot of other people that feel the same way. He has worked really hard and it is starting to pay off because he is trusting the process.”

Odom wrapped up his first season for the Bison where he won the 2021 PGA Works Tournament title, shooting four over (+4) in three days of work.

THE JOHN SHIPPEN is named after John Shippen, Jr., who was the first American-born golf professional and the country’s first Black golf professional. In 2009, Shippen was presented PGA of America membership afterward.

The Men’s Division will compete in a 36-hole individual stroke play event with the winner receiving an exemption into the PGA TOUR’s Rocket Mortgage Classic (July 1-4).

“Intersport is proud to announce that we have been attracting highly talented Black golfers from around the country to play in our inaugural event,” said Jason Langwell, Executive Vice President of Intersport and Executive Director of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. “We believe that THE JOHN SHIPPEN provides a platform on which these deserving players will compete, in order to impact the unbalance of access, opportunities and equity for Black golfers that has long-existed in the golf industry.”

A one-hour TV special about THE JOHN SHIPPEN will air on CBS leading into final-round coverage of the Rocket Mortgage Classic (Sunday, July 4).


John Shippen, Jr. first worked in golf as a caddie at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York, and after playing in his first of six U.S. Opens in 1896, was hired as the golf professional at the Maidstone Club in East Hampton, New York later that year.

Shippen later worked as a golf professional at Aronimink Golf Club near Philadelphia and spent the majority of his working life at Shady Rest Golf Course in Scotch Plains, New Jersey – the first African-American owned and operated golf club in the United States – where he served from 1924-1960.

The John Shippen Memorial Golf Foundation was founded in 1995 by Thurman and Ruby Simmons in Scotch Plains. They began studying his legacy in 1988 and have spent more than 30 years elevating Shippen’s name and recognizing his place in American history. In addition to funding paid internship and scholarship opportunities, a portion of the proceeds from THE JOHN SHIPPEN will be donated to The John Shippen Memorial Golf Foundation.

Featured Image Caption: Howard University senior Gregory Odom has been invited to participate in the prestigious John Shippen National Golf Invitational. Photo Credit – Howard Athletics Media Relations

Story Attribution: Howard University Athletics 

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