Born in Pensacola, Florida, Davis moved to Detroit in 1925 and graduated from Northern High School. He began his golf journey in 1936 by giving lessons at Pine Crest Driving Range in Ferndale.
In 1952, Davis taught golf at Rackham Golf Course, in Huntington Woods, where he would become a Class A Head Professional. Two years later as the head pro at Rackham, he became the first African American to hold that position at the municipal facility in the U.S. In 1966, Davis was the first African American member of the Michigan PGA.
He won the Michigan Senior PGA Championship in 1974 and the U.S. National Senior Tournament in 1979 in Las Vegas. In 2000, the Ben Davis Youth Golf Tournament was established by the Detroit Recreation Department.
In 2012, he was inducted into the African American Golfers Hall of Fame. Over Davis’s expansive career, his countless students included boxing legend Joe Louis and Detroit Piston’s Hall of Famer Bob Lanier.
Year inducted: 1992