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Golf Pioneers | Renee Powell

Golf Pioneers | Renee Powell

Golf Pioneers | Renee Powell

February 21, 2024

Our next featured Golf Pioneer is Renee Powell, who became the second African-American woman to ever play on the LPGA Tour in 1967. In addition to her playing career, Powell’s impact on the sport of golf goes into apparel design, broadcasting and teaching. 

After a successful junior career, Powell would play golf for Ohio University, and then later at Ohio State University. While playing for the Buckeyes, Powell was named a team captain, becoming the first African-American to lead a major university golf team. 

Following her collegiate career, Powell would turn professional, competing in more than 250 tournaments over the course of her career. In 1967, she became the second African-American woman to play on the LPGA Tour, joining fellow Golf Pioneer Althea Gibson. Much like Gibson, Powell received death threats, simply for being a black woman playing golf. At times she would have to stay away from the official tournament hotels, and was even refused service at restaurants while traveling on Tour. Despite all that hatred directed towards her, Powell kept pushing on and continued to play the sport she loved. In 1973, Powell would collect her only professional win at the Kelly-Springfield Tournament in Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia, and doing so by shooting a course-record 67 in the final round. After moving to the United Kingdom in the 1970’s Powell would continue to break down barriers in golf. She was the first female head professional at Silvermere Golf Club, and even joined the British PGA, becoming the first woman to compete in a British Men’s tournament at the 1977 Surrey PGA Championship.

In 1980 Powell would retire from the LPGA, but would continue to stay involved in the sport she loved by going into broadcasting, working for both ABC and CBS as a commentator. Then in 1995, Powell would return to her family’s golf club, serving as the head professional at the Clearview Golf Club in East Canton Ohio, which was started by her father, and that’s where she still can be found working today, continuing to make a difference in this sport we all love.

Here at 2nd Swing Golf we are celebrating Black History Month with sales of our African-American Golf Pioneers posters, which feature the likes of Renee Powell and many more pioneers of the sport. These posters are for sale on our website, with all proceeds going towards PGA Hope. We will also match 100% of all orders through the month of February.