“Swing Like You Would Dance” Remembering Ben Davis

The weather is starting to change for the better these days, and all of us start thinking about getting outdoors.

When I think about getting outdoors, I think of golf. As you know from some prior blog posts, I do think of golf as a metaphor for many aspects of life and a window into our culture and society.

Ben Davis

Detroit Golf Legend Ben Davis

Golf also offers insights into how people respond to challenges and life events.

Just as real quality is what occurs when no one is looking, the self regulation of penalties in golf is an incredible reflection of character. If a person cheats at golf, what do you think they do in business or in other aspects of their life?

The reason for this post isn’t to convince you of the metaphysics or tangential aspects of a sport that has someone trying to hit a small ball into a cup; it is to pay tribute to a great golfer and even greater man, Ben Davis.

Mr. Davis recently passed on at the age of 101.

On May 9, he was memorialized by the naming of the street leading to Rackham Golf course in Huntington Woods. Forever, golfers will drive down Ben Davis Drive to play at a course that plays a significant role in Detroit history.

Rackham Golf Course, off the westbound I-696 service drive near the Detroit Zoo, opened in 1923 as a gift from the philanthropist Horace Rackham. Incorporated in the deed for the property, it was stipulated that the course would be open to anyone, of any color. Most golf courses in Detroit and in the Nation were restricted to African Americans and people of color. Rackham broke down this barrier .

It was only fitting that Mr. Davis, who learned the game as a caddie, became the first black person to be appointed as a head professional of a United States golf course.

People weave in and out of our lives, especially in medicine, and my relationship with Mr. Davis was just so. Continue reading

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