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Sat, 05.04.1946

Renee Powell, Golfer, Businesswoman born

Renee Powell

*Renee Powell was born on born on this date in 1946. She is a Black professional golfer and Businesswoman.

Renee Powell was born in East Canton, Ohio. She began playing golf at the age of three. Her father, Bill Powell, was the first Black person to create and build his golf course in America. He made miniature golf clubs for her as a child and was her golf teacher. Her early life was quiet, and Powell played various sports, including archery, ballet, and basketball. She helped maintain the Clearview golf course, driving a tractor.

Powell entered her first amateur tournament at 12 and won her division. By 1961, she had 50 trophies and played golf daily on her father's golf course. In 1962, Powell was the first African American to enter the U.S. Girls' Junior. In the junior championship, she caused an upset by winning the first round. She was considered a favorite in the 1964 United Golf Association (UGA) National Open and went on to take the amateur title that year. Powell graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1964, attended Ohio University (O.U.), and then transferred to Ohio State University. There she was majoring in speech and hearing therapy but changed her major to sociology.

Powell captained the women's golf team at both universities, and at OSU, her role as the captain made her the first black person to lead a major university golf team. When she wanted to play in the Ohio State Golf Association tournament, OSU backed her decision and stated that they would leave the organization if Powell were not allowed to play. Powell and her family were awarded the Jack Nicklaus Golf Family Award from the National Golf Foundation (NGF) in 1992. She was a member of the PGA of America in 1996 and received a Service Award from the LPGA in 1999. In 2003, she received the First Lady of Golf Award from the PGA. In 2013, Powell entered the Stark County Amateur Hall of Fame.

She earned a Black Enterprise Women of Power award in 2016. Powell entered the PGA America Hall of Fame in 2017. Her father was also an inductee, making the pair the only father/daughter combination to receive this award. Powell earned an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of St Andrews in 2008. In 2015, she became a member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. At the formal luncheon at the club, she brought her friend, Franco Harris. At the university in 2016, the women's team named their tournament after Powell.

In 2018, Powell returned to St Andrew's for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the university's new student residence halls, named after her. Powell is a member of the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame. She is also a member of the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority. In 2017, she entered the PGA America Hall of Fame. She and her family were honored with the Old Tom Morris Award by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America at the 2019 Golf Industry Show.

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