PING and the American Junior Golf Association appointed Renee Powell as captain of the United States PING Junior Solheim Cup team for the 10th anniversary of the biennial competition.
Renee Powell started her famous golf career on the golf course East Canton, Ohio, which was built by her father William, a World War II veteran, during times of trouble and racial segregation. Mr. Powell returned from service to find an unchanging war in which he was welcomed to play, so he built his own path: seeding the first nine holes and progressing to the second nine holes 30 years after opening in 1946. To this day, Clearview Golf Club is the only golf course designed, built, owned and operated by black people.
Under his father’s tutelage, Powell rocked the club at the age of three, winning more than 30 tournaments as a teenager and playing college golf – and serving as captain – at Ohio and Ohio State Universities. In 1967, Powell became the second African. American women compete on the LPGA Tour during a difficult time of civil unrest and discrimination. He played in more than 250 professional tournaments and won the 1973 Kelly Springfield Open in Brisbane, Australia, where he set a field record 67 finals. Powell was selected to represent the United States in four team vs. Japan, toured with USO to Vietnam, and was invited to play with the King of Morocco and the President of Zambia.
After retiring from professional golf, Powell has dedicated his life to creating more diversity in the game through his work as a golf professional. She built a career in England in the early 1980s as the first woman to be named head of professional golf in the UK, hosted a golf clinic in Africa more than 25 times as an International Goodwill Ambassador and was one of the first female golfers to design her own clothing line. He works as a television analyst, commenting during various tournaments on CBS and ABC. Powell also began teaching at Black college and hosted a clinic to expose the game to minority communities through youth golf camps.
Later, Powell returned home to East Canton, Ohio, to keep his father’s legacy of golf for everyone to live on as the chief golf professional at Clearview Golf Club where he continued to focus on developing the game especially for veterans, women and juniors. In 2001, Clearview was added to the National Register of Historic Places, a tribute to honor Mr. Powell’s persistence in overcoming discrimination in golf.
In his storied golf career, Powell’s return to the game of golf attracted accolades. In 2008, she became the first female golfer – and the third American – to receive an honorary doctorate from The University of St. Andrews, Scotland, in the present 600 year history. It is one of two honorary titles he has. Ten years later, the university named the new residence after Powell, who was the first American, and golfer, immortalized in a building on campus in the golf house. Powell is the first woman of color to be elected to America’s PGA and elected as the first At-Large Director on its Board.
In 2015, Powell was one of two American women to be awarded honorary membership to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews. She has been named PGA’s First Lady of Golf (2002) and received this award for her services to the game: LPGA / Rolex’s For the Love of the Game; PGA TOUR Card Walker; USGA Ike Grainger; and the Pioneer LPGA. In February 2020, Powell received the Charlie Bartlett Award from the American Golf Writers’ Association awarded to a professional player for their selfless contribution to the betterment of society.
In August 2020, Powell received the Donald Ross Award from the American Society of Golf Course Architects; she is only the fifth professional golfer to receive this award (along with Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus), the only female professional golfer and only the fourth female (Dinah Shore, Judy Bell, and Alice Dye).
Powell is excited to give back because of the sacrifices his family has made – namely his father who was active in the game for 84 years.
“I can’t wait to see growth from the first time I meet each player to the time the last ball is taken from the last hole in the PING Junior Solheim Cup,” said Powell. “I’m happy to see the excitement continue [the girls’] faces as they do what the United States loves and represents. I am proud that my state of Ohio is the host country for the PING Junior Solheim Cup and the Solheim Cup. “
As exemplified by the Solheim Cup, the biennial PING Junior Solheim Cup features the 12 best female junior golfers (ages 12-18) from the United States against their European counterparts. Team fixtures include foursomes, four-ball and singles matches which are played over two days and alternate between the US and European home sites to coincide with the Solheim Cup. The event included both teams watching the final days of the Solheim Cup match at Inverness Golf Club, 4-6 September 2021.
“We are honored that Renee has accepted our offer to captain the US PING Junior Solheim Cup team in 2021,” said John A. Solheim, Chairman & CEO of PING. “He is a true pioneer in the game of golf whose achievements speak for themselves and their contributions to sports around the world are long and lasting. Her endorsement of girl golf throughout her hall-of-fame career made her the perfect choice for the captain role. He will use his experiences ranging from being the captain of the college golf team to his career on the LPGA Tour to inspire and motivate his team. I know she will leave a positive and lifelong impression on every girl who makes it onto the team. On top of that, he is from Ohio who brings great relationships to everyone who has benefited from his various endeavors in the state golf community. “
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