As the nation celebrates Black History Month, KPMG Brand Ambassador and LPGA Tour Professional Mariah Stackhouse has been reflecting on those who have inspired change. As one of few African-Americans on the LPGA Tour, Stackhouse has great appreciation for the individuals who laid the foundation for her and other African-Americans to flourish in the game of golf.
“Looking at golf, the history of it, you’ve got Althea Gibson, Charlie Sifford, people who kind of paved the way for me and the other peers I have who are all trying to make a space for ourselves in the golf world,” Stackhouse said. “There are a lot of black athletes that I looked up to growing up, and I recognize the battle they’ve put forth and I appreciate the windows they’ve opened for me.”
Now in the early stages of her fourth season as a professional, it’s Stackhouse who is establishing herself as a role model for young girls who want to follow a similar path. Mariah recently starred in the LPGA’s Drive On national TV campaign, one of only five golfers to be profiled thus far, and she is relishing her opportunity to pay it forward.
“When someone sees a person that reminds them of themselves, it kind of opens a new window,” Stackhouse said. "Not to say that wouldn’t happen ordinarily—if someone picks up a golf club and they love it, they’re going to play. But if you just happen to be scrolling on TV and you see an LPGA tournament, and a young black girl says ‘Wow, I’ve never seen that before’, that’s incredibly inspiring. So I think I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be an inspiration in the same way that I had inspirations for myself.”
Having already established herself as a role model off the course, Stackhouse hopes to have her on-course performance grab the headlines in 2020. The former Stanford 4-time All-American is looking to build on some impressive performances at the end of last year and determined to reach even greater heights on the LPGA Tour this season.
“I think I have something to prove to myself (in 2020), not to anyone else,” Stackhouse said. “I know what my capabilities are and the potential that I have to be competitive on Tour. I’ve hung around. I’ve put myself in contention a couple times, but I think I want to change that ‘couple’ to a ‘few’ and give myself more opportunities to be in that moment and get the experience that it takes to hang around and eventually come up with a victory.”
To learn more about Mariah and follow her progress throughout the season, follow on Twitter and Instagram @KPMGGolf.