Sports Illustrated and Empower Onyx are putting the spotlight on the diverse journeys of Black women across sports—from the veteran athletes, to up-and-coming stars, coaches, executives and more—in the series, Elle-evate: 100 Influential Black Women in Sports.
Have one conversation with Andia Winslow, and the first thing you’ll understand is that she’s someone who finds monotony torturous. Ask her to define herself and the response is a long list, rather than just one word: an athlete, an activist, an artist, a creator, a filmmaker and an actor who doesn’t believe in limiting herself to one noun because she legitimately is all of those nouns. But, if you pin her down, she’ll tell you a secret: She’s an adventurer. “If I had a six-word memoir, it’d read: ‘The adventure will be worth it!’ ”
In 2000 while attending Yale University, Winslow made history when she became the first Black woman to compete in varsity golf in the Ivy League. From there, she went on to play at the national level and later, she became just the fourth Black woman to play in LPGA tour events.
Winslow didn’t perform well on tour, and she describes some of her experiences playing golf as “unsavory.” But she also confides that those encounters made her stronger and fearless. Some may say Winslow’s golf career was a failure, but she feels fortunate for the opportunity to play professionally because the game helped her identify her superpower: insatiable curiosity.
Her confidence and curiosity have always kept Winslow chasing new goals. After playing on tour, she transitioned to track and field and trained as a sprinter, and later as a developmental skeleton racer ahead of the 2014 Sochi Games. She’s also a certified trainer and has served as a golf instructor. As a voice-over actor, she was commissioned to voice Nike’s commercial celebrating the U.S. women’s national team’s World Cup title in ’19. As an on-camera actor, she is starring in the upcoming TV series reboot of the classic baseball movie, A League of Their Own.
Friends and family say she’s always been this way. Winslow spent her youth vaulting from sport to sport: swimming, running, hiking, kayaking and golfing. The activity didn’t matter, as long as she was moving. She says even as a kid she was intrigued by golf. For her, it was the eternal challenge, the game that can never be conquered.
"As a pro athlete and filmmaker, I’ve always been inspired by movement,” she says. Her parents often teased her about her constant adventures but also encouraged her to explore and change the game, somehow knowing it would lead her to one day make her mark on the world.
As a sports and fitness professional, Winslow has won an Emmy, a Telly Award and a Society of Voice Arts award for her viral fitness films and voice acting work. But she says she’s especially proud of her activism in changing the game of golf to become more inclusive.
Winslow takes her responsibility as an ambassador of the game seriously and works every day to grow the game in diverse communities. She’s partnered with youth organizations such as the Bill Dickey Scholarship Association, which has provided more than $5.4 million in college scholarships to golfers of color, and The First Tee, which introduces golf and life lessons to youth, among others. She’s also worked with the Executive Women’s Golf Association, which introduces businesswomen to the game for professional development and networking opportunities.
As for women who’d like to compete professionally, Winslow says it’s definitely not easy, but the journey is character building. She advises any woman who wants to pursue a pro golf career to first identify what about the game sparks her curiosity. What makes it intriguing or challenging? The rest is as simple: Study the game, train like you mean it, exhaust all possible resources and play one shot at a time.
Madelyne Woods is a contributor for Empower Onyx, a diverse multi-channel platform celebrating the stories and transformative power of sports for Black women and girls.