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Golf Pioneers | Calvin Peete

Golf Pioneers | Calvin Peete

Golf Pioneers | Calvin Peete

February 28, 2024

Our next Golf Pioneer is Calvin Peete, who was the most successful African-American golfer on the PGA Tour prior to Tiger Woods’ emergence, as Peete collected 12 wins in his career, including the 1985 Player Championship. 

Peete’s route to golf is quite different than most, with the Detroit native not picking up the sport until he was in his 20’s. But it didn’t take long for Peete to excel at the sport, graduating onto the PGA Tour in 1975, when he was nearly 32 years old . His first victory on Tour came at the 1979 Greater Milwaukee Open, beating the field by 5 strokes. He’d have to wait another 3 years before claiming his next victory, doing so once again at the Greater Milwaukee Open in 1982. That year was one to remember for Peete, with him winning four times that season, with all four of those victories coming within 3 months of each other. Peete would continue to win titles over the next couple years, headlined by his marquee victory at the Players Championship in 1985. His final PGA Tour win came in 1986 at the USF&G Classic. 

Peete played on two Ryder Cup Teams and had multiple Top 10 finishes at Majors, and was ranked within the Official World Golf Rankings Top 10 when it debuted in 1986. His calling card on the golf course was his accuracy, and there isn't a more accurate player off the tee than Peete in PGA Tour history. Peete led the PGA Tour in driving accuracy for 10 consecutive years, from 1981 to 1990. It was nearly 11 straight years as he finished 2nd in driving accuracy in 1980, hitting nearly 79% of fairways that season. Over the course of those 10 straight seasons, Peete hit 81.9 percent of the fairways on average, an incredible number, especially when you consider the 2022-23 PGA Tour leader Russell Henley led the Tour by hitting 71.74 percent of fairways during the season. Peete’s average over a 10 year period was 10 percent better than last season’s Tour leader. His all-time record of 84.55 percent of fairways hit in a season is still the all-time mark across every PGA tour season.


While others may have opened doors for Peete on the PGA Tour, he paved the way for others to find sustained success on Tour. He leaves a legacy of being one of the greatest African-American golfers of all-time in addition to being perhaps the most accurate driver in golf.

Here at 2nd Swing Golf we are celebrating Black History Month with sales of our African-American Golf Pioneers posters, which feature the likes of Calvin Peete and many more pioneers of the sport. These posters are for sale on our website, with all proceeds going towards PGA Hope. We will also match 100% of all orders through the month of February.