written by Olivia Pennybaker

Born on May 4th, 1946, Renee Powell started playing golf when she was just three years old in East Canton, Ohio. Her father was the first black American to build his own golf course in the United States, named Clearview Golf Course. He taught her the game and even made her golf clubs himself. Powell wasn’t just a golfer, as she played many other sports including basketball, ballet, and archery. Her first amateur tournament was when she was just twelve years old, and she even won her division. In 1962 she was the first black American to ever enter the U.S. Girls. Junior Golf Championship. Powell attended Ohio University then transferred to Ohio State University, where she captained both teams. In 1967 she joined the LPGA Tour and was the second black American to do so. Despite overcoming barriers, Powell still faced a tough road ahead as she received death threats from those who thought black Americans shouldn’t be on the Tour. There were even times when she was not allowed to get a room in the official tournament hotel. In the 1970’s Powell moved to the U.K. To work on her golf game and was the first woman to compete in a British men’s tournament when she competed in the 1977 Surrey PGA Championship. She retired from the LPGA Tour in 1980 but she continued her run in the golf industry, working as a TV commentator, an instructor, and currently serves as the Head Golf Professional at Clearview Golf Course in her hometown. Despite her setbacks over the years, Powell never gave up on her dream and currently uses her platform to inspire others to play the game she loves. She advocates for diversity in golf. The LPGA Renee Powell Fund was created to help increase the number of black girls participating in golf programs. In 1999 the LPGA honored Powell with a Service Award and in 2017 was inducted into the PGA America Hall of Fame. Her father is also in it, making them the only father-daughter duo in that Hall of Fame. Renee Powell might have only been the second black female to play on the LPGA Tour but she is making sure she will not be the last.