Friday, March 7

USGA Exhibit Highlights William Powell and First African-American Golf Club

By USGA

(The following edited content was supplied by the USGA in a news release.)

William "Bill" Powell
THE UNITED STATES GOLF ASSOCIATION (USGA) is honoring African-American golf pioneers as part of the USGA Museum's newest exhibit, "More Than A Game," which focuses on how the creation of African-American golf clubs positively impacted the community despite the prejudice and racism of the Jim Crow era. The exhibit opened on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, and will run for two years.

The centerpiece of "More Than A Game" is the story of the late William "Bill" Powell and the Clearview Golf Club. Founded in 1946 in East Canton, Ohio, Clearview is the only public golf course in the United States designed, built and owned by an African American.

Curated by Susan Wasser, the USGA Museum's assistant director, the exhibit is one of the initiatives surrounding the African-American Golf History Archive, which was formed in 2010 by the USGA and the PGA of America to collect, preserve and celebrate the history of African Americans in golf. "More Than A Game" is the third exhibit in the USGA Museum since 2010 to celebrate minorities in golf.

"Our exhibition reflects on the lives of the pioneers in African-American golf history and how their courage and convictions changed the game," said Wasser.

A former LPGA Tour player and the head professional at Clearview, Renee Powell explained how her father was able to buy and build a golf course nearly seven decades ago.

"He taught two black doctors the game of golf and they each put in one third to purchase the first 78 acres of property," Powell said. "He borrowed his third from his older brother who mortgaged his house for my dad's share. He then began to build the first nine holes himself."

To further highlight Bill Powell's inspirational story of passion and social justice, the exhibit includes a short film produced by Dan Levinson of Moxie Pictures, whose previous work includes the award-winning documentary "Uneven Fairways," which premiered on Golf Channel in 2009.

As part of the exhibit, the USGA is also honoring other clubs that have made significant contributions to minority golf, including Shady Rest Golf and Country Club in Scotch Plains, N.J., the longtime home course of John Shippen, the first African American to play in a U.S. Open, in 1896; Langston Golf Course in Washington, D.C., home to the Wake-Robin and Royal Golf Clubs, the oldest African-American clubs still in existence; and Freeway Golf Course in Sicklerville, N.J., home course of National Black Golf Hall of Fame member Bill Bishop.

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