Series focuses on people of color in golf
Alexis Belton, a long-drive winner, is profiled in a new docuseries, “Step Forward,” featuring golfers of color.
In addition to Alexis Belton, the docuseries also follows last year’s Advocates Professional Golf Association Tour Player of the Year Kamaiu Johnson and content creator and host of Group Golf Therapy, Drew Westphal. The APGA is a tour devoted to increasing diversity to golf.
“Step Forward” is not just a docuseries; it’s a call to action, demonstrating the new course of golf and its transformation through real and hard hitting stories so far. according to a news release about the series.
“The ‘Step Forward’ project celebrates the hard-won resilience of individuals who, in spite of systemic obstacles, choose to make a life and seek joy around the game of golf,” said Purvi Patel,president of Claima, a podcast and content creation company that has partnered with Foot Joy to present the series.
The Alexis Belton episode of the docuseries can be seen here.
Belton, who just turned 30, entered golf through the encouragement of a high school coach. She earned her first World Long Drive Tour event victory at the 2018 Clash in the Canyon (Nevada), and also finished runner-up at the Tennessee Big Shots, which both aired live on Golf Channel. In 2017, Belton reached the semifinals at the Volvik World Long Drive Championship (Oklahoma) in her first-ever competition.
In 2018, Belton competed in four WLD events and placed no lower than the quarterfinals, with one runner-up finish and one title. That title – at the Clash in the Canyon – came in just her second-ever WLD competition.
Alexis Belton: ‘ There’s going to be space for you’
“Golf was created for everyone. Bringing back that key point to the game is what I’m passionate about because golf has provided so many things for me,” Belton says in the documentary.
“I grew up in North Louisiana. I discovered golf through a high school teacher slash Coach. I Said, no, no way I don’t want to play golf. It’s not meant for me. He said, ‘Well, you get out of school all day, free food and you get to pick your outfit.’ And so I think that’s what sold me,” she says.
“Long drive really helped me bring my full personality to the game while being able to still have an aspect of the game that I love just in a shorter explosive form. When I first joined Long Drive, everyone was like, “Oh, she’s really shy and she’s meek and she’s quiet”. By the end, it was, “Oh, she’s got a personality. She’s going to be fun. This is going to be great!” Sport is such a universal language. I think about the opportunity to use that language to do good and connect and bring communities together. Two of the highest demographics that are growing in golf are women and minorities,” she says.
“First thing that I learned early was go where you’re celebrated and not tolerated. Golf was created for everyone. There’s going to be space for you. And if there’s not, create it.”
Before competing in World Long Drive, Belton competed for three years on the women’s golf team at Texas Wesleyan University, where she also won the PGA Minority Tournament during her sophomore year. She earned All-America status at Texas Wesleyan in 2015, the first player in the three-year history of the program to claim that honor, according to her Wikipedia page.
Featured image of Aleix Belton courtesy of Footjoy