Montgomery Golf Coach inducted into the African American Golfers Hall of Fame
Quincy Leonard has been coaching golf in Montgomery for several years. Recently, Leonard has been recognized for all his hard work through the years. In May, Leonard was inducted into the African American Golfers Hall of Fame as “Coach of the Year.” But, the journey to the Hall of Fame began back when Leonard was a young boy.
“My uncle Jimmy, my mom’s sister’s husband, they lived in New Jersey and when they would come down he would put clubs in my hand and that kind of introduced me to the game. It was around 1985, I would say, so I was probably around 12 or 13 years old at that time. That is kind of when I got involved in the game and first got started, but not really into the game at that point,” says Leonard.
Leonard then began coaching his three children and teaching them all about the game of golf. By teaching his own children, it inspired Leonard to pour into and develop other kids.
“My children were young and my son, he was a little child and just kind of messing around with my things and eventually started getting interested in the game of golf by the age of three. So, I began to kind of work with him, not trying to get him into golf, just he would be my golfing buddy. So we kind of got into golf teaching the game that way. I started teaching him some fundamentals and things, and before you know it, I started teaching my other daughters. I didn’t realize I had a knack for coaching, ” explains Leonard.
From there the Leo Golf Academy was formed. Leonard, also the golf coach at Valiant Cross Academy, and serves on the Central Alabama Sports Commission Board. In addition, Leonard is the director of the U.S. Kids Montgomery Tour, the Golf Program in Schools Hosting Golf Course Academy, and the Jim Thorpe Invitational Junior Golf Tournament.
Leonard has also had the opportunity to coach on a stage that not many have, that being Augusta National Golf Club, when his youngest daughter qualified for the Drive, Chip, and Putt Finals in 2016.
“She made it through the local qualifier, and then the sub-region, and then we went to Valhalla and she was the number one player and made it all the way to Augusta. It was just amazing,” says Leonard.
After spending 14 years coaching children in the community, Leonard was recognized in a big way, as he was named the 2023 “Coach of the Year,” and was inducted into the African American Golfers Hall of Fame.
“I never expected this, this was something that I never anticipated. I wasn’t doing this for that and to be recognized was truly humbling and an honor. I am just grateful and I can only just say gratitude, that’s the feeling that I feel and I’m just thankful for that opportunity. I learned so much while I was down there and met a lot of great people. Being inducted into that hall with people like Calvin Peete, James Black, just a number of names I can’t even name all the names. Just a great group of individuals, just to be a part of that same Hall of Fame I was truly grateful. Just a great opportunity and I’m thankful,” explains Leonard.
And while Leonard does hope that his students are able to learn a lot from him in terms of golf technique and skill, he also hopes to instill in them life lessons which will help them to become successful and strong people.
“Champions don’t quit, they finish. At Leo Golf Academy, one of our sayings is “where champions are born again.” I’m a believer, and when you’re a believer there’s certain things that you do, and just because times are tough and situations are not what you would expect them to be, you have to have the mindset to never give up. That’s kind of like the game of golf, you’ll be playing wonderful one day, and the next day it’s like I don’t know if I can hit the golf ball. In life there are situations where, you might be doing fine this one moment and the next moment there might be a situation, how do you deal with that? You never quit and you never give up. Those are the types of situations that I try to teach people. Always look at the other side, it’s not always like you started,” says Leonard.
For more information on the Leo Golf Academy, you can visit https://www.leogolfacademy.com/