Seizing the opportunity

Mariah Stackhouse continues to lead by example on LPGA Tour

She’s only been an LPGA Tour professional for four years, but KPMG ambassador Mariah Stackhouse has wasted no time in establishing herself as one of the Tour’s most influential figures.

The only Black player with full-time status on Tour, Mariah is an outspoken advocate for expanding opportunities for diversity in the game. From starring in national television commercials to her poise and talent that shines through on the golf course, Mariah’s position as an agent of change, a position she relishes, continues to come into focus.

“As one of only a few Black players on Tour, it’s not difficult for me to uphold that responsibility or ‘being a role model’ as a lot of people like to put it,” Mariah said. “For me, it’s not a responsibility, but an opportunity that comes along with my presence on the LPGA. By showing up and performing to the best of my abilities every day, and taking the time to interact with the young girls that come out to watch me play, encouraging their dreams and being that friendly figure to look up to, it’s an opportunity I welcome with open arms, and something I’ll continue to do for the rest of my career and beyond.”

Last summer, during an exceptionally difficult period of racially motivated violence and hatred across the country, Mariah experienced allyship and support through her sport.

“To see how some of my peers on the LPGA took the time to embrace the movement themselves and make those public stances for commitment to justice and change when they didn’t necessarily have to, it meant a lot to me,” Mariah said. “I specifically had quite a few people, some close friends and some not, reach out to me directly and acknowledge my experience as a Black golfer on Tour. I was going through a lot, and expressing that solidarity and acknowledgement of my humanity and what I was feeling at that time, it touched me. It meant a lot to know that I have those people on Tour who not only value my friendship but also value me for who I am as an American.”

Celebrating Black History Month and preparing for the start of the 2021 LPGA season, which begins this week at the Gainbridge LPGA in Orlando, Mariah has been reflecting on others who have inspired change. A student of the game and its history from an early age, Mariah has great appreciation for those who laid the foundation for her and other Black women to pursue professional golf careers.

“My parents took the time to educate me on golf’s history, specifically the Black history within the game,” Mariah said. “Althea Gibson, Renee Powell, other women like them who fought at a time where they weren't necessarily welcomed with ease on Tour or traveling that road life, but were so committed to their love and passion for the game, they persevered through all that and remained dedicated and determined to play the sport they loved. It’s their fearlessness and their ability to stick to their desire to play professional golf that opened the doors for people like me to come down the line.”

Best of luck to Mariah and fellow KPMG ambassadors Stacy Lewis and Leona Maguire as the 2021 LPGA season resumes this week in Florida!