Wake-Robin Golf Club, Inc. (WRGC)
The Wake-Robin Golf Club, Inc. (WRGC), a minority women’s golf club founded in 1937 by Helen Webb Harris. It is the oldest registered Afro-American woman’s golf club in the United States. Wake-Robin Golf Club was registered as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation in July 2004. The overall mission of WRGC is to introduce women to the game of golf and provide them with the abilities and skills to participate in amateur competitive golf events.
Helen Webb Harris organized the Wake-Robin Golf Club on August 6, 1936. The first meeting was held at Mrs. Harris’ home with 13 ladies in attendance. The founding members, several of whom were wives of Washington’s all-Black, all-male Royal Golf Club, Inc., were tired of staying home weekends while their husbands played golf. Named after the purplish Wake-Robin wild flower plentiful in the Mid-Atlantic region, the club blossomed almost from the start. The Club was officially named Wake-Robin Golf Club and dedicated on April 22, 1937.
In 1938, WRGC pushed the process of desegregating the public courses of the District of Columbia by drafting and sending a petition to Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes. To mollify the petitioners the Secretary approved the construction of a nine-hole course on the site of an abandoned trash dump. In 1939, Langston Golf Course was built in Washington, DC. Finally, Black golfers had a golf course to call their own. After continued pressure from WRGC and the Royal Golf Club, Inc. on Secretary Ickes, he issued an order in 1941 opening public courses to all.
The activities and functions today administered by WRGC allow it to continue the legacy started in 1937, to foster, perpetuate and advance women’s interest in golf. Wake-Robin has contributed to many charitable organizations over its seventy-three year history.
As a means to give back, WRGC not only helps women advance in golf, WRGC supports and participates in a variety of community and charitable activities. Proceeds from most of their activities help to provide scholarships to graduating high school female students, who are college bound, junior golfers, women’s shelters, breast cancer and other charitable organizations.
Today, they are 53 women strong with women who have been active members for over 50 years to those who have been members for less than a year, all working together to keep the legacy alive.