Fayette County

Idle Hour to consider Bowie next week

The Idle Hour Country Club board will discuss the membership application of former University of Kentucky basketball player Sam Bowie on Monday, said board chairman Phil Scott.

If accepted, Bowie would become the first African-American member at the country club on Richmond Road.

In the past, Idle Hour has been criticized for having no black members. Bowie said in an interview this week that he didn't seek membership to end the criticism.

Scott said Friday that current members at Idle Hour nominated the Bowie family, as is the club's policy in all cases.

"We have no restrictions with respect to race, color, creed, national origin," Scott said. "Membership is made up of a diverse group of folks that enjoy one another's company. That's the sum total of it."

Bowie, a former NBA player who retired from the Los Angeles Lakers in 1995, said he approached Idle Hour members because his family has friends at the club, it's close to his home and he wants to golf there. He said he was told he would know whether he had been accepted within the next week.

In 1993, Bowie became the first black member of Lexington Country Club on Paris Pike. He said he is keeping his memberships there and at Greenbrier Golf and Country Club off Winchester Road.

UK men's basketball coach John Calipari became a member of Lexington Country Club after taking the UK job this year.

Bowie, 48, said he hopes Calipari, who lives one block from Idle Hour on Richmond Road, will apply to Idle Hour, too. The two men are friends and share a love of golf.

Scott said Friday that Calipari had not applied.

"We've had a number of coaches who have been members there over the years," said Scott." If he has an interest, I know he has plenty of friends in this community."

As part of Calipari's contract, the UK Athletic Association pays for only one club membership. Under the contract, the association covered a $30,000 initiation fee and spends about $516 a month for the coach's membership at Lexington Country Club.

Meanwhile, Bowie said he has yet to come across anyone who expressed "racism, bigotry, hatred or any of those characteristics" at any of the three country clubs.

"We obviously enjoy having new members," said Scott. "Everybody gets along."

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