The LGBTQ community finds its way onto the golf course

Greg Fitzgerald loved sports growing up in New Jersey. He played football, basketball and baseball but eventually quit them all, dismayed by the homophobic locker-room atmosphere.

Fitzgerald, who is gay, gravitated to golf because of its solitary nature. He moved to the Bay Area and became head pro at The Institute, an ultra-private club in Morgan Hill, only to find few others in the LGBTQ community who openly shared his passion for sports.

He would attend parties, sometimes with more than 100 people, and inevitably end up chatting with the same football-consumed friend.

“Everyone is on the dance floor and we’re off to the side talking about the Niners,” Fitzgerald recalled, chuckling.

Hailey Davidson understands the dilemma. Davidson is a transgender woman who excels at golf, and for years she feared having to choose between being herself and playing the game she cared about deeply.

“I thought it was one or the other when I first came out,” Davidson said. “I didn’t see them going together.”

She since has learned she doesn’t have to make that choice. Events such as Saturday’s at Harding Park, where Davidson joined 129 other golfers at the fourth annual San Francisco Pride Pro-Am Tournament, offer an encouraging reminder.