Birmingham: Blacks, Whites And Greens

Blacks, Whites And Greens

A wag once defined golf as a sport in which grown men brandishing sticks chase a little white ball around a big green field. He might have added that the field usually belongs to a lily-white country club. It is common knowledge that Birmingham's Shoal Creek Country Club has no black members, though the fact is not usually publicized. But last month, miffed when Birmingham politicians discussing the approaching Professional Golfers' Association championship tournament criticized his club's exclusionary practices, Hall Thompson, founder of Shoal Creek, offered a blunt defense: "We pick and choose who we want."

Thompson's declaration stirred up a...