Keith Pearman Starts as Golf Professional
In 1978, Keith Pearman, a true trailblazer, graced the lush fairways of the Mid Ocean Club, marking the inception of an extraordinary journey that would forever be etched into the tapestry of Bermuda's golfing history. Yet, Keith was more than just a Golf Professional; he embodied the essence of a gentle giant, a bridge builder, and a visionary who transformed his island's golf landscape.
Keith's story began long before he arrived at MOC. Born and raised on the island, he unearthed his love for golf in the early 1960s while working in his brother's grocery store. During his lunch breaks, Keith found his passion on the Ocean View Golf Course, the sole Bermuda facility welcoming black golfers at the time.
Keith's golfing odyssey achieved a watershed moment in 1967 when the Governor's Cup finally opened its doors to black golfers, allowing Keith to compete. It was a significant stride toward inclusivity and in 1969, Keith etched his name in the annals of Bermuda history by becoming the first black golfer to win the Belmont Invitation.
His journey soon expanded to a global stage, representing Bermuda in the World Men's Amateur Team Championship in Madrid and Buenos Aires in 1970 and 1972, respectively.
In 1978, the Mid Ocean Club beckoned, and Keith heeded the call, becoming the Club's first black and first Bermudian Golf Professional. His talent, magnetism, and genuine affinity for helping others quickly endeared him to a devoted following.
After attending the PGA of America Business School, Pearman ascended to Head Golf Professional in 1981, again making history as the first black and Bermudian to hold this pivotal role. Amid Bermuda's relentless winds, he mastered the enigmatic "wind shot" and developed a profound interest and skill for club repair—a testament to his deep-seated comprehension of the game.
During his time as Head Pro, he developed a vast network of students and friends around the globe, sharing some incredible experiences with well-known figures, including two former U.S. Presidents: Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush. A heartfelt note from the latter encapsulated Keith's allure, with President Bush expressing,
"What a pleasure to play a round with a champ like you during my visit to beautiful Bermuda."
In 2008, after three decades of devoted service, Keith retired as Head Golf Professional, yet his legacy lived on. Bestowed with the esteemed title of Golf Pro Emeritus, he continued to share his wisdom and ardour with aspiring golfers until his passing in 2021 at the age of 77.
To many at Mid Ocean Club, Keith was more than an instructor; he was a cherished mentor, confidant, and friend, embodying the soul of the sport and the Club itself. His life epitomised an unwavering commitment to dismantling barriers, fostering inclusivity, and leaving an indelible mark on the sport he cherished.
In commemoration of his immeasurable contributions, the Keith Pearman Memorial Tournament was established in 2022—an annual testament to his enduring influence. The tournament consists of mixed teams of four people from three Bermuda clubs (2 MOC Members, 1 Port Royal Member, and 1 Ocean View Member), as Keith was such an essential figure to so many across the island.