NEWS and The PGA of America honor African-American golf pioneers

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Editor's Note: To commemorate Black History Month, and The PGA of America have put together this special section spotlighting some of golf's African-American heroes, focusing on those with a close connection to The PGA. Please check back frequently as we will be adding to this section throughout Black History Month.

On Feb. 17, historian and professor Dr. Jeffrey Sammons visited PGA headquarters and the PGA Museum of Golf to commemorate Black History Month. At PGA HQ, Sammons presented an in-depth look at the life and impact of Jimmie DeVoe, one of the first African-Americans to gain PGA membership, a trailblazing player and a noted instructor to many celebrities and other prominent amateurs.

WATCH: Video of Sammons' presentation on DeVoe
READ: Sammons discusses pioneer DeVoe as PGA marks Black History Month

Bill Spiller Jr., the son of the late PGA Professional Bill Spiller, joined PGA Director of Business and Community Relations Earnie Ellison for a special podcast celebrating Black History Month. In the podcast, they discuss many African-American golf pioneers, Bill Spiller's success on the golf course and the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship.

LISTEN: PGA Black History Month podcast with Spiller and Ellison
READ: Interview with the PGA's Earnie Ellison
READ: PGA post-graduate program aimed at diversifying PGA membership

Minority Report: How Innisbrook Resort is helping to change the face of golf
The famed Innisbrook Resort is well-known for four championship courses, a PGA Tour event and its elite service to guests. But it's also gaining recognition for changing the way the sport is viewed in the African-American community.

READ: The story of Rodney Green and Innisbrook Resort

From John Shippen breaking barriers at the 1896 U.S. Open to Tiger Woods shattering virtually every PGA Tour record of consequence, African-Americans have played a significant role in the development of golf down through the years. Here is a timeline of their noteworthy achievements on and off the course, and a photo gallery of prominent players:

SEE: Trailblazing African-American golfers photo gallery
READ: Timeline of African-American achievements in golf

In November of 2009, The PGA of America bestowed honorary membership on John Shippen, Bill Spiller and Ted Rhodes, three great trailblazers whose efforts ultimately led to the opening of professional golf up to all players. Boxing great Joe Louis received honorary membership at the same time.
SEE: African-American pioneers photo gallery
READ: PGA of America bestows membership on African-American pioneers

The PGA of America and the U.S. Golf Assiciation are teaming up to create a centralized repository for artifacts and documents related to the history of African-Americans in golf. The collection will be housed at the USGA Museum in New Jersey, and traveling exhibits also will be created. Here is a story about this breakthrough initiative:

READ: PGA and USGA to preserve African-American golf history

Golf Digest Senior Writer Pete McDaniel, the author of "Uneven Lies: The Heroic Stories of African-Americans in Golf," visited PGA of America Headquarters in 2010 for an in-depth discussion of the lives of African-American golf pioneers John Shippen, Ted Rhodes and Bill Spiller as part of Black History Month.

WATCH: Video of McDaniel's discussion at PGA Headquarters
SEE: Photo gallery of McDaniel's visit to PGA Headquarters
LISTEN: PGA Black History Month podcast with McDaniel

William J. Powell overcame numerous barriers to become one of American golf's most important pioneers. He is the only African-American to design, build, own and operate a golf course, and his Clearview Golf Club is in the National Register of Historic Places.

WATCH: PGA Distinguished Service Award tribute video to William Powell
SEE: William Powell photo gallery
READ: Golf pioneer and course builder Powell passes away at 93
READ: Powell named 2009 PGA Distinguished Service Award winner
READ: Ohio Course Owners honor Powell as Person of the Year
READ: Northern Ohio PGA Hall of Fame inducts pioneer Powell

Renee Powell, the daughter of 2009 PGA Distinguished Service Award winner William Powell, is a pioneer in her own right. A member of both The PGA of America and the LPGA, and named the 2003 First Lady of Golf, Powell has dedicated her career to building diversity in the game. She recently appeared on "Good Morning America" and at a New Jersey Nets game to commemorate Black History Month.

WATCH: Powell on "Good Morning America"
SEE: Renee Powell photo gallery
READ: Powell receives honorary degree from University of St. Andrews
READ: Powell named recipient of 2003 PGA First Lady of Golf Award
READ: Powell commemorates father at New Jersey Nets game


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