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The Power of Musket Ridge’s & Josh Jackson’s Message of Diversity

Okay, let’s say you stand 6 feet, 1 inch and weigh in around 235 pounds and possess a club-head speed of more than 150 miles per hour and a ball speed similar to Indy 500 velocity.

Your combination of strength and technique means a low-spin rate and a high-launch angle that together optimize distance. Throw in some proper weight distribution, foot positioning, a pinch of timing and – depending on the wind and how firm the fairways are under your feet at Musket Ridge Golf Club in Myersville, Maryland – you just may have a swing that can carry greens beyond the lovely par threes. That’s a lot of power most golfers would love to have. But World Long Drive professional Josh Jackson is not stopping there. After a year when more people played golf than at any time in recent memory, Jackson is partnering with Musket Ridge to build on that growth by putting out a welcome mat for a broader audience. To promote more diversity in the game of golf, Jackson has taken it upon himself to get the message out to minorities all across the Middle Atlantic that golf is a game everyone can get excited about.

“I do think we need to create more of an inclusive environment in golf,” Northern Virginia resident Jackson says. “For instance, often the Black community just thinks of Tiger Woods, but there are a lot of Black golfers that are trying to work their way up the ladder.”

Since he took up the game at age 12, Jackson has been working his way up the ladder. As the son of an NFL lineman (John Jackson), he enrolled at Eastern Kentucky University where he played fullback before transferring to Kentucky State University where he earned a dual scholarship for football and golf. After foregoing professional football, Jackson prioritized golf and took up long-drive competitions. His mission now is a blending of teaching, playing, driving the ball farther and being a role model for golfers of all races, genders, shapes and sizes. A regular instructor at the Eisman Golf Academy at Twin Lakes Golf Course, he has found a partner in Musket Ridge to advance his dreams across state lines into one of Maryland’s top layouts overlooking the majestic Catoctin Mountain range.

“I am working with Musket Ridge to bring more people to the game of golf,” says Jackson. “They are great on how they do business, on how involved they are with the community.”

For starters, that’s taking shape as a monthly long drive series among Musket Ridge’s customers that will result in social media encouragement from Jackson and ultimately a chance to challenge him in the finals. Along the way, Musket Ridge and Jackson will also be hitting the airwaves with wide ranging interviews to make the game accessible, fun, and get beyond the run-of-the-mill golf chatter. Musket Ridge is run by Affinity Management, which has always been a pioneer in the golf space. Affinity co-founder Damon DeVito comments, “We have some things we 100 percent want to do with Josh. But that’s probably five percent of what we hope it will eventually become.

Josh has tremendous positive energy and a ton of ideas. We’ve worked for months to identify first steps offering the best chance for making an impact. Some go-to ideas like clinics would be a struggle to do well for us. But raising money for scholarships by teaming up with Josh and building on what (legendary sportscaster) Johnny Holliday is already doing is a no-brainer. Bringing in our friends at (apparel company) Rhoback to also sponsor Josh with Musket? Done. Raising awareness, opening doors, elevating a positive role model – these are things we can absolutely do.”

DeVito’s innovative streak stems in part from his work with technology startups including as a Techstars mentor and adjunct professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. Affinity clubs regularly become early customers of those startups DeVito mentors or teaches, and one of those is going to tie into Musket Ridge’s partnership with Jackson.

InColorStock is building a platform of high quality, authentic stock images for underrepresented minorities and they’re planning a photo shoot at Musket Ridge in April with professional photographers and models of color, paired with Josh. ICS founder Claritza Jiménez says, “Damon and Musket want to get this right. They are letting us run with it. Damon’s talked about his frustration finding decent photos of Black golfers as one example. We’re going to fix that. not only for him, but also for everyone else.” [END]