Northern Ohio PGA Hall of Fame inducts pioneer William Powell

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PGA.com

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Published: Friday, February 04, 2011 | 7:51 p.m.

Editor's Note: This story was originally published on Nov. 11, 2009

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLA. -- PGA Life Member William Powell, recipient of the 2009 PGA Distinguished Service Award for pioneering efforts in developing diversity in golf, is concluding the year with two additional honors -- from his home PGA Section and his hometown.

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Powell, who turns 93 on Nov. 22, became the 55th inductee into the Northern Ohio PGA Hall of Fame on Oct. 26, in a ceremony conducted in Westfield Center, Ohio.

On Nov. 4, Powell, his daughter, Renee, and son, Larry, were honored by the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce with its annual Community Salute Award.

The honors come on the heels of Powell receiving The PGA of America's highest honor -- the PGA Distinguished Service Award -- in August during the 91st PGA Championship.

"As I said in Minneapolis back in August, you have to pinch me to see if it is all real," Powell said Tuesday. "The honor by The PGA of America, and now the Section and here in Canton have, I hope, created more awareness about what Clearview is all about. We have had many people come to visit us, including some from Canada. They now know who we are.

"Last weekend, I watched golf being played in Shanghai, China , and I do believe that the game of golf is the best vehicle to rid hate in the world."

Powell was joined in this year's Northern Ohio Hall of Fame class by PGA Professionals Gary Robison of Akron and Bob Barto of Avon.

In 1946, Powell built Clearview Golf Club in East Canton, Ohio, and remains the only African-American to own, operate and build a golf course in the country.

He joins his daughter, Renee, the 2003 PGA First Lady of Golf, who was inducted that same season into the Northern Ohio PGA Hall of Fame. They are the first parent-child inductees in that Hall of Fame.

"The members of the Northern Ohio PGA Section are proud of the accomplishments of Dr. William Powell becoming a Section Hall of Fame member and receiving the PGA Distinguished Service Award," said Northern Ohio PGA Executive Director Dominic Antenucci. "The accomplishments of Dr. Powell are guided by his lifelong vision of 'the only color that matters in golf is the color of green,' and the inclusion of every golfer, enjoying the life skills that we all learn from golf."

During the induction ceremony, Powell said how learning golf as a junior had such a positive impact upon his life. He urged all in the audience to support junior golfers "if they cannot afford to pay for lessons, give them chores to do at the golf course," he said. "Give them responsibility and the opportunity to learn the game."

The Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce honored Clearview and the Powell family for outstanding performance in their profession. Renee Powell is the PGA head professional at Clearview, and her brother, Larry, is a member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

Coincidentally, the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce also honored Ambassador William R. Timken Jr. and Ward Timken with its Award or Merit for continuous civic activity going beyond their business and professional responsibilities at the Timken Company.

Following World War II, Powell worked for 23 years at the Timken Company in Canton, after first being denied a job due to his race.

He split time between his job and returning home to clear the land and build Clearview Golf Club, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.