Golf Professional Powell Blazes Another Trail

Golf Professional Powell Blazes Another Trail

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Original Story from the Canton Repository

It is possible to blaze trails with passion, purpose and a set of golf clubs.

The Powell family has proved that for the better part of 70 years.

On Thursday evening in Austin, Texas, another chapter in the rich family history will be written when Renee Powell is inducted into the PGA of America Hall of Fame.

Of the millions of people to play golf in the United States, she joins a mere 170 others as PGA of America Hall of Fame members. One of those is her father, William "Bill" Powell.

"In thinking of all the professional golfers there have been over the many years, and then to think that I am one of only 170 honored in the PGA Hall of Fame," she said in a statement when the honor was announced. "It is such an incredible honor, but also very humbling."

And also well-deserved.

Powell has dedicated her life to teaching the game to anyone - regardless of the player's age, race or gender. No one has been excluded from Clearview Golf Course since the days Bill Powell and his wife, Marcella, first carved its fairways and greens out of rolling landscape in Osnaburg Township in 1948.

"To be inducted into the PGA Hall of Fame alongside my father is extremely special, as he was my only instructor over these many years," Renee Powell said. "He and my mother would be so proud. I think of all the barriers I have been able to break, not only as an African-American, but also as a woman, and the doors I have been able to open because of what my family has taught me about perseverance and believing that anything is possible with a positive attitude and belief in oneself."

By the late 1950s, Powell was competing in her first tournaments, and a long list of notable accomplishments has followed over her career.

Powell, only the second black woman on the LPGA Tour when she joined in 1967, competed in more than 250 events. She won the Kelly Springfield Open in Brisbane, Australia, and tied for fourth at the Lady Errol Classic in 1972 as her top finishes. Success on the course tells only part of her story.

In 1996, she became the first black woman elected to membership in the PGA of America. When Scotland's Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews - considered the world's "home of golf" - lifted a 260-year ban on women in 2015, Powell was invited as one of the first seven female members.

As an "ambassador of the game," her experiences included a USO Tour to Vietnam in the 1970s; clinics in Japan, Australia, Morocco, Spain and England; and 25 trips to Africa to educate both heads of state and the general public about the life values of golf.

Other trailblazing endeavors: She was the first woman to be named Head Professional at a golf course in the United Kingdom (1979) and was the first woman in the U.K. to compete with men in a professional event from the same tees.

"I know I have been referred to as a trailblazer in golf, but really, this is what I have done all my life," Powell said in one interview. "I didn't have to play the piano three hours a day growing up. Instead, I played golf. I thank God and my father for my talent."

And we say: Thank you, Renee, for sharing your talent and love of golf with countless girls and boys, men and women over many continents and many decades.

We join in celebrating your induction into the PGA of America Hall of Fame.

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