Little Known Black History Fact: Renee Powell

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  • Renee Powell was the second black woman to play on the LPGA tour behind Althea Gibson. Powell played on the tour from 1967 to 1980. The East Canton, Ohio native started playing golf at three years old. Her father, William Powell, is the only African American to design, build, own and operate a golf course in the U.S.- the Clearview Golf Club. Bill Powell wanted blacks to have a chance to golf without discrimination. He formed the first golf team at Wilberforce University in 1937 and is a life member of the PGA.

    Being a professional black golfer in 1967, Powell was subjected to the racist attitudes of those in resistance of integration. She had to share rooms with the white players so that she would have lodging and travel with a number of people in order to be safe on tour.

    In 2003, Powell won the First Lady of Golf Award from the PGA. She is the only Professional female Class A member of both the PGA and LPGA combined. After completing her LPGA tour, Powell served as a golf teacher in Africa and Europe. She has taught some of the world’s leaders to play golf and competed in over 250 tournaments.

    Powell recently received an honorary Doctorate of Laws Degree from the University of St. Andrews. She is the first professional female golfer to receive this honor and third American golfer.

    Powell’s title wins include: Four-time Midwest Junior Champion; the 1959, 1960 and 1961 UGA National Junior champion. She is a five-time winner of the Cleveland Sixth City title and has captured the Northeastern Ohio Junior title twice. Powell was also 1967 NCAA Collegiate Consolation winner at Ohio State.

    She founded the Youth Golf Camp Program, a member of the Ohio golf Hall of Fame and an honorary member of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Division.

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