By Fred Altvater
The PGA of America announced in August that Ohio golfing legend, Renee’ Powell will receive yet another high honor this month. The University of St. Andrews is naming a residence hall in her honor. She is being recognized for her inspiration in diversity in golf and the advancement of women’s social causes.
The University of St. Andrews sits in the middle of the famed golfing mecca, the “Home of Golf.” Founded in 1413 it has honored other golfers over the years, but Powell is the first American to have a building named for her.
Powell’s father was the first African American to build and operate a golf course in the United States. When funding couldn’t be arranged via normal channels, William Powell, a WW II veteran, was able to secure funding from friends and built the first nine holes of Clearview Golf Course, which opened for play in 1948, just east of Canton, on old US Highway 30.
A second nine holes was added a few years later and Renee’ learned the game from her father, while chasing balls around Clearview. She went on to become a heralded amateur and played at Ohio State University before joining the LPGA Tour.
She spent several years teaching golf in the United Kingdom and still has ties to golf in Great Britain. She enjoys taking junior golfers on international treks to experience the game around the globe.
Powell is humbled by the honor,
“To receive such an unbelievable honor and forever be a part of one of the most prestigious universities in the United Kingdom is too difficult to express in words. I have always considered myself as a citizen of the world and I guess now I will forever be remembered as such. I feel this is truly an historic and awesome occasion for a renowned university to recognize a black American female golfer in such a manner. It says so much about the vision and heart of the leadership.”
Over the years the awards have continued to roll in. William was inducted into the PGA of America Hall of Fame in 2013 and Renee’ joined her father as the only father/daughter tandem to be so honored, four years later.
When The R&A voted to include women into membership for the first time in 260 years, Renee’ was one of the first seven women awarded a membership.
She is the only female golfer to receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of St. Andrews. In addition, the Renee Powell Cup is presented annually at the University of St. Andrews Schoolgirls Championship.