Renee Powell to accept dad's honor and make appearance on "Good Morning America"
EAST CANTON, OHIO – Feb. 8, 2011 – In this the 65th anniversary year of Clearview Golf Club, the accomplishments and legacy of the late William Powell continue to resonate not just locally but around the country.
Powell, or Mr. P. as he was affectionately known, was the only African-American to design, build, own and operate a public golf course. Before his death on Dec. 31, 2009, Mr. P was scheduled to be recognized by the National Basketball Association's New Jersey NETS. His daughter Renee, who along with her brother Larry is carrying on the family tradition at Clearview, will travel in Mr. P's stead to accept the honor for her dad during the Feb. 12, 2011, NBA game between the NETS and the New York Knicks.
"This is our second year having honorees at each of our home games during Black History Month," explained Mike Wisniewski, community relations assistant, NETS Basketball. "The program is called 'Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things.'"
According to Wisniewski, the goal of the program is to raise awareness of individuals who have had a positive impact in the African-American culture, either in the past or the present.
"We saw William Powell's story and we thought it was wonderful," Wisniewski added. "Not many people from this area were aware of what he had done so we wanted to put a spotlight on his accomplishments."
"I was amazed that a team that is not even in our state is aware of my father's significant contributions to the country and wants to recognize him in this manner," said Renee Powell, LPGA/PGA Head Golf Professional at Clearview. "I am thrilled, and my dad would have been very humbled by the honor."
In addition to attending the NBA game on Saturday, Renee Powell is scheduled to appear on ABC's "Good Morning America," with Robin Roberts on Friday, Feb. 11, sometime after 8:30 a.m.
"Robin is a great fan of Mr. P.'s, and she did a story on him for 'Good Morning America' when he received the PGA of America Distinguished Service Award in 2009," said Renee. "As this is the 65th anniversary of Clearview, Robin thought it would be a wonderful time to do an update on Clearview, to talk about its history and the legacy of my dad.
"It is an incredible opportunity to be able to get this much national publicity on one weekend trip," added Renee Powell, adding that "It is a bittersweet time for us as we go into our 65th milestone year but without Bill Powell."
In addition to a full season of teaching, public appearances and special events at Clearview, Renee Powell is embarking on a national fund-raising capital campaign to ensure the heritage of William Powell and the legacy of education and research at Clearview. Among the future plans at Clearview are construction of an educational/teaching facility to grow the game of golf, especially for young people and to showcase 65 years of historic memorabilia; the comprehensive development of an upgraded maintenance program and course capital improvements project; and creation of an endowment to secure the lasting support of the mission and legacy of Mr. P.'s dream.
Photo: William Powell, who designed, built, owned and operated Clearview Golf Club from 1946 to 2009. Photo courtesy of The PGA of America
Clearview Golf Club, known as "America's Course," is the only golf course designed, built, owned and operated by an African-American, the late William Powell. Buying 130 acres of farmland in 1946 after returning from World War II, Mr. Powell began work clearing the land and building his course. The first nine holes opened to the public in 1948, and the course was expanded by Mr. Powell to 18 holes 30 years later. In 2001, Clearview, located on U.S. Route 30, The Lincoln Highway, was named a National Historic Site by the U.S. Department of the Interior and an Ohio Historic Site. Powell, a PGA Life Member and the 2009 PGA of America Distinguished Service Award recipient, passed away at age 93 on Dec. 31, 2009. His daughter Renee, LPGA/PGA, is the Head Golf Professional at Clearview, and son Larry is Clearview's Course Superintendent.