Roman Solomon is Taking his Family Business into a Whole New Sport

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With Bobby Bonilla as a father, Barry Bonds as a mentor and Stephen Curry as a de facto benefactor, teenage golfer Roman Solomon is building his own legacy.

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Bobby Bonilla and Barry Bonds watching Roman on the course / C/o Christina Solomon

Roman Solomon stepped to the tee on the 16th hole at Lake Merced Country Club.

It was late August, which meant alternating NorCal winds and sunshine, and Solomon was battling atop the leaderboard.

Above the tee sits a sloping hill. Atop that hill stood former Major League Baseball star Bobby Bonilla and Bonilla's long-time friend and even bigger star—legend, really—Barry Bonds. Next to them, one cart and 20 feet away, NBA superstar Stephen Curry and his former college teammate Jason Richards looked down.  

The 18-year-old Solomon would strike a clean drive down the fairway, and while he would not go on to win his second consecutive Curry Cup, he did make his father, Bobby, and his sort-of godfather, Barry, proud. He also validated—and continues to validate—the work that Stephen and Jason are putting into the youth golf space through their Underrated Golf Tour and its mission to "increase the participation numbers amongst competitive golfers from diverse communities and have them play hand in hand with their peers who currently represent the vast majority of today’s golfers."

"I was 5 or 6 when I first started playing with my dad," Roman explains to ONE37pm. "I think it became clear when I was about 12, and I was starting to play in junior events. From that point on, I just wanted to see how good I could get."

C/o Christina Solomon

Bobby is currently known for his 16-year MLB career—and best known these days for Bonilla Day, when he continues to get paid off a long-term, deferred contract he cut with the Mets in 1999—but there's a future where he's best known as Roman's dad. See, Roman is an ascending junior golfer. Roman is a junior at IMG Academy in Florida, won Underrated Golf Tour's pinnacle event, the Curry Cup, in 2022, and has made two aces this year. He's clearly a good golfer, one at the beginning of his journey.

"When you're watching your kid play, there's nothing better," says Bobby. "When he knocks in a big putt, or a par-saving putt, there's adrenaline flowing through my body. It's a very fun thing when he comes through like that."

Roman, who shares a last name with his mother, Christina, is on a trail distinct from most other aspiring pro golfers. A large part of that is thanks to Curry's Underrated Golf Tour. UGT, as the staff (including Richards, the GM) and tour members call it, is a two year old summer tour that's meant to create access, equity, and opportunity in golf and life. To that end, Curry and a band of sponsors he has helped bring on board, underwrite four summer tournaments (and the championship Curry Cup) for 96 young golfers. They travel the country for free, playing at aspirational courses, and listen to pro athletes and golfers, business founders and Fortune 500 upper management provide gems about golf and life. When Roman won the inaugural Cup, he was awarded a year-long Callaway sponsorship. When he finished top three at the 2023 Cup, he earned a trip to UGT's inaugural event overseas, which will take place at Walton Heath in England in late May.

“There’s not really enough words to even say it," Bonilla said to Marcus Thompson in the latter's piece about Curry and the Underrated Golf Tour in The Athletic last fall. "This is just so enjoyable to see all this, these fresh young faces of color. We’re all about everybody, but we don’t really see this. What’s happening is extraordinary—and this is all because of Steph. We really can’t put into words what he’s doing.”

As for Barry Bonds, well, he still looks like he could slap a baseball 450 feet. He also seems at peace watching Roman play golf. Roman isn't actually Barry's godson, but they are exceedingly close and Roman regularly looks to the baseball legend for counsel on the course.

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Roman and Barry Bonds, Major League Baseball's All-Time Home Run Leader / C/o Christina Solomon

"BB is the most confident man I’ve ever met in my life," Roman says. Bonds constantly tells his mentee to maintain his self-belief. "The way he goes about his business and how he looks at life. I’m grateful to be around that."

Funny. Despite being surrounded by greatness, young Roman wasn't old enough to witness any of it. Bobby retired five years before Roman entered this world. Barry stepped aside when Roman was in diapers. That’s over 1,000 HRs and 3,000 RBIs missed, but not forgotten.

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Bobby Bonilla during his All-Star playing days as a Pittsburgh Pirate / Getty Images

“He’ll actually send me his highlights,” laughs Roman about Bobby.  “He’ll say ‘you see that bomb I hit?’ I still don’t believe it’s him. What we have in common the most is our love for the game. For him it was baseball, for me golf, and that there is nothing else we would rather be doing.”

It's hard to call the future of young golfers. After all, golf (and teenagers) are unpredictable. Roman played well at UGT in the summer of '23, he also didn't win any of the events. Likewise, he's had a good winter and spring, playing AJGA, Pathway to Progression and other events around the country. He's had days that turned heads and earned him paychecks; he's also had days that were disappointing and left him befuddled.  

Christina Solomon, who does not miss an event and is known to carry a camera around courses (as evidenced by most of the photos in this story!), thinks Roman is set to fully turn the corner.  

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Roman and the man behind the Underrated Tour, NBA Superstar Stephen Curry / C/o Christina Solomon

"He's found that dog in him and has taken his competitive edge to the next level," Christina says. “I’m excited to watch these next few months.”  

Roman is currently being courted by colleges across the country. There's no rush on his decision for the high school junior, though. It can at least wait until after another summer under the gaze of the ultimate mentors—Curry, Bobby and Barry—on the Underrated Golf Tour.

C/o Christina Solomon
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