Golf News for Wednesday, August 15, 2007 | Awards

Ohio Golf Hall of Fame reports induction of four new members

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- PGA Life Member William Powell, his daughter Renee, both of East Canton, Ohio, and the late Rod Myers, a PGA Master Professional and 34-year Duke University men's coach, formed the 2007 class of inductees into the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame. The ceremony was conducted Aug. 6, at Plum Brook Country Club in Sandusky, Ohio.

William Powell, 90, is the only African-American to design, build, own and operate a golf course in the United States. His daughter, Renee, a PGA Golf Professional and the second African-American to compete on the LPGA Tour, is the head professional at the family's Clearview Golf Club in East Canton. In 2003, Renee was recipient of the PGA First Lady of Golf Award.
PGA Golf Professional Renee Powell and PGA Life Member William Powell.

The Powells are the first Ohio Golf Hall of Fame inductees from the same family.

"The Powells have deserved this honor for many years, having given so much to the game of golf," said Ohio Golf Hall of Fame Board Chairman Jack Waldock. "They are joined in the Hall by the late Rod Myers, who was a tremendous professional and coach. It is with great pleasure that we welcome this outstanding trio into the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame."

Renee Powell said that she and her father were "extremely honored" to be the first family members in the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame.

"My father continues to be amazing in his passion and energy for the game of golf," said Renee. "He continues to be someone who can inspire."

"Golf is a great sport for young people and it doesn't matter what equipment they use," said William. "They just need to get out and play. It will keep them out of trouble and on the right path in life."

In 1946, William Powell began his family's amazing journey into golf. After being denied a G.I. Loan, despite having served in the U.S. Army, Powell found the financial support of two black doctors as partners, and his brother, who mortgaged his house.

Powell purchased a dilapidated 78-acre dairy farm and single-handedly designed and began to construct Clearview – named for the panoramic views of woodlands and farms from the highest point on the property.

Working until sunset and then for eight hours as a watchman at a local factory, Powell took two years to complete Clearview's front nine. A second nine holes would be added 30 years later, in 1978. Today, Clearview Golf Club is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1992, the National Golf Foundation selected the Powell family to receive "The Jack Nicklaus Golf Family of the Year Award". That same year, William was awarded the "Cornerstone of Freedom Award" from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission.

Powell was awarded an honorary membership into The PGA of America in March 1997 by the Northern Ohio PGA Section. In 1999, his membership was made retroactive to January 1962, thus making him a PGA Life Member.

In 1998, the Tiger Woods Foundation established two scholarships in the names of William and Marcella Powell, his wife of 56 years. Also in 1998, Baldwin-Wallace College bestowed Powell with an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. In 2001, he received a second honorary doctorate degree from is alma mater, Wilberforce University.

Renee Powell began her golfing career at Clearview Golf Club, and after a productive junior career, she enrolled at Ohio State University, where she became captain of the women's team and was recognized as the top female amateur golfer in Ohio. She made history as the first African American to play in the USGA Girl's Junior Championship where she advanced to the quarterfinals.

She turned professional in 1967 and competed in more than 250 tournaments in her 13 years on the tour. She won the Kelly Springfield open in Brisbane, Australia, and competed successfully in four USA Japan matches during the 1970's.

In 1979, Renee made history by becoming the first woman to be named head professional at a golf course in the United Kingdom. She hosted several tournaments that benefited the United Negro College Fund, the Special Olympics, and the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

In 1989, Renee was inducted into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame and in 1991 she received the Dr. Martin Luther King Drum Major for Justice Award in the world of sports.

Renee also marked another first in 1995, becoming the first and so far, the only African American female Class A member of The PGA of America and the LPGA.

Powell established the Renee Powell Youth Camp Cadre Program, supported by The PGA and designed to introduce inner city youth to the game of golf. In 2003, she became the first and only woman to be inducted into the Northern Ohio PGA Hall of Fame and was named recipient of the First Lady of Golf Award by The PGA of America.

Though Powell departed the LPGA tour in 1980, she only accelerated her impact in golf. This past March, she received perhaps her greatest honor when she received the inaugural Rolex For the Love of the Game Award. This award was created to recognize the major contributions of an individual in promoting and popularizing women's golf.

Rod Myers passed away March 30, after a long battle with leukemia. A native of Springfield, Ohio, Myers graduated in 1961 from Ohio Wesleyan University and began his coaching career at Ohio State University. He spent seven seasons with the Buckeyes before assuming head coaching duties in 1973 at Duke University.

Myers, a prominent member of The PGA of America Rules Committee, led Duke to 30 tournament victories and seven NCAA Championship appearances. During his tenure, Myers coached 16 All-Americans, nine Academic All-Americans, 24 All-Atlantic Coast Conference selections, and three ACC individual champions.

In 2005, Myers guided the Blue Devils to the ACC Championship and an eighth-place finish in the NCAA Championship. That season, Myers was named the ACC Coach of the Year and Golfweek's National Coach of the Year.

The Ohio Golf Hall of Fame was created in 1992 to honor those people who have helped make Ohio a leader in the sport. In its brief existence, the Hall of Fame has inducted many golfers who have not only excelled in state competition, but who have achieved national and worldwide acclaim.

The PGA of America is the world's largest working sports organization, comprised of 28,000 men and women golf Professionals who are the recognized experts in growing, teaching and managing the game of golf while serving millions of people throughout its 41 PGA Sections nationwide. Since its founding in 1916, The PGA of America has enhanced its leadership position in a $62 billion-a-year industry by growing the game of golf through its premier spectator events, world-class education and training programs, significant philanthropic outreach initiatives, and award-winning golf promotions. Today's PGA Golf Professional is the public's link to the game, serving an essential role in the operation of golf facilities throughout the country.