(Portions of this write-up were provided by the Milwaukee Times)
The Wisconsin PGA was excited to learn recently that long-time PGA member, Henry “Hanc” Spivey will be honored as an ‘Unsung Milwaukee Hero’ at the upcoming 33rd Annual Black Excellence Awards.
For the past 33 years, The Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper Printing and Publishing Co. has presented the Black Excellence Awards as a way of paying tribute to some of the countless individuals, organizations and businesses who have contributed to the betterment of Milwaukee. During more than three decades of its existence, the Black Excellence Awards has celebrated the lives of close to 1,000 individual honorees.
On February 23rd Spivey will be joined by a group of 38 other prominent individuals that will be recognized across fifteen different segments that range into areas such as the arts, minority business ownership, military service, and sports.
A relative late bloomer to the game, Spivey’s love affair with golf started as a 27-year old back in 1976. As a young man he focused on his career at a computer department of a major health insurance company, but a chance invitation to play a round of golf with his supervisor would change his life forever. That day and introduction to the game would soon turn into a passion.
Just one year later that passion would lead him into the golf business, as he was hired to work at the newly built Missing Links Practice Range. Over the course of the next eleven years Spivey would continue learning about the business at Missing Links, while also honing his own game. Eventually his efforts would lead him to being hired at Dretzka Park GC as an assistant golf professional.
As he started his new position at Dretzka Park GC he embarked on his mission to become a PGA member. Four years later in March of 1992 that mission would become an accomplishment. For Spivey he had become a PGA member and also the first African American to do so in the state of Wisconsin. His election to membership would also coincide with a new title as he was named Head PGA Professional at Dretzka Park GC.
His new role and the fact that he was the first African American PGA member in Wisconsin didn’t come without challenges though. In the biography that was submitted on his behalf, Spivey recalled that the first few years at Dretzka were a little difficult. He was forced to confront racial tension on both sides of the divide, explaining that many Black players shunned him as a sell out to Whites, when he would not grant their requests for extra privileges. While White players assumed he was giving African American golfers a better deal and was also unfriendly. Things improved after the majority of players realized that they were all receiving equally courteous assistance.
That assistance, laugh and friendly persona of Spivey would become synonymous with the facility over the next 24 years until Spivey retired in 2015.
His dedication to the Wisconsin PGA and the game of golf was evident throughout his time at Dretzka Park GC. Whether it was being a participant in Wisconsin PGA tournaments, attending an education seminar, or volunteering to teach the game of golf at a clinic, Spivey has always been very active within the Section. For Spivey one his proudest accolades within the game would come in 2000 when he was recognized by the Wisconsin PGA with the “Junior Golf Leader” award of the year.
Spivey and the rest of the honorees will be celebrated at an awards dinner on Friday, February 23, 2018 from 6-9:30 p.m., at the Italian Conference Center. For more information and ticket sales please contact the Milwaukee Times at (414) 263-5088.
A complete list of honorees may found at https://miltimesnews.wixsite.com/blackexcellence/copy-of-honorees