August 11, 2009

Pioneer black golfer Powell to be honored

The PGA is honoring 92-year-old William Powell, whose Ohio golf course is the only one in the United States designed, built and owned by an African-American.

Powell will be given the PGA of America's 2009 distinguished service award Wednesday, the day before the PGA Championship gets started at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn.

Powell, who has spent decades passing on his knowledge, love and respect for the game to others, embarked on his effort to have a course open to blacks in the 1940s after coming back to a segregated America from World War II.

He built his own course -- Clearview Golf Club -- in East Canton, Ohio, in 1948.

I just got tired of the -- all the garbage, he told ABC. Because a fellow's skin was white, he could play at a golf course and I had to wonder whether I could play.

But, he added: I didn't do it for black people. I built it for everybody.

Larry Powell, who is now the superintendent at the family-run course while his sister Renee, a former women's tour player, is its head pro, says his father was just obsessed, to be frank with it.

It was something that he wanted to do and he put all his effort mentally, emotionally, physically into accomplishing his goal, the younger Powell told ABC.