The roars he heard after scoring touchdowns as a wide receiver and kick returner for the University of Florida in the early 1990s still give Monty Duncan chills. But these days he’s just as satisfied when a kid he worked with years ago at The First Tee chapter in St. Johns County, Florida, comes to his office and tells him what they learned at college.
“The thrill of seeing a light bulb moment go off in a kid’s head, when they’re able to put that bit of knowledge about golf or life away for the future, yeah, that’s better than 95,000 people roaring,” he said. “Seeing a kid get it is pretty special.”
After a neck injury ended his football career prior to his senior year Duncan turned to golf, starting at St. Johns Golf Club in northeast Florida, where he did everything from working in the bag room to becoming an integral part of the local First Tee chapter. In 2015 he became general manager of the Brentwood Golf Course, a 9-hole facility managed by Indigo Golf Partners that’s located near downtown Jacksonville.
“I think there’s still a question of when a person of color works in the golf shop, how will guests deal with that person behind the register?” he said. “To a certain extent, the biggest obstacle is getting people of color working inside the golf shop instead of working outside on the maintenance crew or doing the carts. I drive an hour to and from home every day because the opportunity to be a general manager was here. I couldn’t wait for that opportunity, I had to take it when it became available.”
Duncan believes that the goal of everyone being equal starts with treating everyone equally. “If someone I mentor or who looks up to me doesn’t look like me, but still feels comfortable talking to me, then I’m really doing my job,” he said.
“What I want to do is go to work every day and try to do the best job I can do,” he added. “If people see that I’m trying to do things the right way and they notice that, then it’s a good thing. But it doesn’t mean I’m out trying to do something different than what I do every day. That’s when you get into trouble. All we can do is to do the best we can every day. If someone notices, then that means we’ve done something well.”
Read the full story by Troon here.