Renee Powell, PGA among first seven female members of Royal & Ancient Golf Club

The Northern Ohio PGA would like to congratulate Renee Powell, PGA on being among the first seven female members of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club.

Posted February 10, 2015 – Courtesy PGA.Com

PGA of America members Renee Powell and Annika Sorenstam are among the first seven women to be granted membership into the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, the R&A announced Tuesday.

The club decided in September to end 260 years of male-only exclusivity by voting in favor of inviting women to join. Seven women were announced as honorary members on Tuesday in what R&A Captain George Macgregor called “an historic day for the club.”

“PGA/LPGA Members Renee Powell and Annika Sorenstam have always been trailblazers in the game of golf. Their historic honorary membership into the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews further exemplifies their commitment to changing the game for the better,” said PGA of America President Derek Sprague. “Renee and her family are pioneers in diversity and inclusion, while Annika has opened doors for young people to join our sport by emulating her Hall of Fame career and accomplishments. The PGA of America is proud to celebrate their achievements today as they join a most distinguished list of honorees at the Home of Golf.”

Powell was the second African-American to play on the LPGA Tour, competing in more than 250 events after joining in 1967. After leaving the LPGA Tour in 1980, she devoted her life to introducing life skills and growing the game among underprivileged children, members of the military and golfers from the United States to Great Britain to Africa.

In 1995, she became the first African-American female Class A member of The PGA of America and the LPGA. In 2003, she was named the PGA of America’s First Lady of Golf, and in 2008, she was made an honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) by the University of St Andrews.

Her father, William Powell – who in 1948 opened Clearview Golf Course, the first course completely designed and built by an African-American, in East Canton, Ohio – introduced her to golf at age three. She began her competitive career at age 12, and later played at Ohio University for two years before transferring to Ohio State, where she served as captain of the women’s golf team.

She competed on the LPGA Tour from 1967 to 1980, then began contacting embassies and companies to get involved in programs where she could travel to Africa and teach golf to indigenous citizens of all ages in Africa. She gained government contacts through African embassies in the U.S. and began her mission to teach golf in Africa. She returned to the U.S. in 1988, working to build inner-city youth programs in Cleveland and to establish a network of celebrity and pro-am charity events, and to tour historically black colleges where she helped attract new players to the game.

Powell was elected to PGA membership in 1996, a year after she established the Renee Powell Youth Golf Camp Cadre Program, designed to provide inner-city youth with an opportunity to learn and play the game of golf. In 1999, she was named an honorary member of the LPGA Teaching & Club Professional Division. She also has served as development and programming consultant for The First Tee Program and in 2000, began the LPGA Girls Golf Club in East Canton. In 2001, Clearview Golf Course was listed among the National Register of Historic Places…More