Monty Duncan of Brentwood Golf Course in Jacksonville, Florida was honored with the 2021 Indigo Future National Award recently. Monty earned this honor for being an integral part of shaping young golfer’s lives with his superior coaching and ability to foster an environment for growth.
From the Swamp to the Fairway
For years Monty heard the roars of the fans after scoring touchdowns as a wide-receiver and kick-returner for the University of Florida Gators in the early 1990s, which still gives him chills. He holds the Gator Bowl record for the most punt returns in one game-nine in the Gators win over N.C. State in1992. But these days he is just as satisfied when a kid he works with at the First Tee comes and tells him what he learned in school.
The Indigo Future National Award is a new honor that was introduced at the Indigo Awards ceremony last year. The award goes to the individual that has embraced their role and responsibility of introducing golf to everyone based on encouraging new participation, to player development instruction for existing members and guests to increase retention.
“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,” Duncan said. “Seeing a kid get it is special!”
After a neck injury ended his career, Monty turned to golf, starting at St. Johns Golf Club near St. Augustine where he did everything for fourteen years from working in the bag room, washing carts, bartending to becoming an integral part of the local First Tee chapter. In 2015 he became the general manager of Brentwood, a nine-hole golf course near downtown Jacksonville, as the only African-American to be a GM on the First Coast of Florida.
Brentwood is owned by the city of Jacksonville and is the site of a former 18-hole facility, Brentwood Country Club, that was also owned by the city. Ironically it was sold in the 1960s after the Supreme Court refused to stay a lower court ruling that the city had to make Brentwood and Hyde Park, the 2 municipal courses, accessible to all rather than select days for African-Americans. The land was eventually purchased by the school board to build the A. Philip Randolph Careers Academy, a college and skills preparatory school.
When The First Tee was formed by the World Golf Foundation, the nine-hole course was built and re-opened in 2000 under the direction of The First Tee. Indigo Golf Partners manages the golf course facility.
Duncan is currently working towards his Class A PGA of America certification that brings with it an important stamp of approval from the sports organization that governs club and teaching professionals.
” Being a Class A Professional means everything to me,” said Monty. “Being a PGA Pro gives you instant credibility.” Boots Farley, the retired director of the First Tee of North Florida says Duncan’s special talent lies in reaching children and youth. “He’s a great guy, a hard worker and has a personality suited for the golf business,” says Farley. “Certainly, kids on the northside are going to feel comfortable with Monty. He was a good football player who became a good golfer and they’re going to identify with him.”
A big congratulations to Monty Duncan from eSouthernGOLF.