Renee Powell, professional golfer and longtime ambassador for the game around the world, has been chosen as the 2020 recipient of the ASGCA Donald Ross Award. The award, given annually since 1976, is presented to a person who has made a significant contribution to the game of golf and the profession of golf course architecture. It will be presented to Powell in October as part of the 2020 ASGCA Annual Meeting in Cleveland.
Powell was the second African-American woman to compete on the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour, the first African-American woman to earn a Class-A PGA of America membership, and in 2015 was one of the first women to be named Honorary Member of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews, Scotland.
The ongoing positive impact Powell is making continues from where it all began for her at Clearview Golf Club in Canton, Ohio. Powell’s father, William, remains the only African-American to design, build, own and operate his own golf course. Seventy years later, Renee and her brother, Larry, continue to operate the club and add to their father’s legacy. The course was added to the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of Interior in 2001.
“Renee and her family have improved the lives of countless people in their hometown and around the world through the game of golf,” ASGCA President Jan Bel Jan said. “She, Larry, and the Clearview Legacy Foundation are carrying on what Bill Powell first set out to do in the 1940s: be a beacon of social justice and economic empowerment.”
Larry Powell is in his fifth decade as Clearview’s superintendent, bringing innovation and sustainability to turfgrass development and care. He keeps grass growing in summer months without an automated irrigation system and keeps it healthier and greener longer by balancing traditional and advanced fertility techniques. In 2016, 20 years after his father, Larry Powell was inducted to the National Black Golf Hall of Fame.
After attending college at Ohio University and Ohio State University – where she was captain of the women’s golf team at both schools – Renee played professionally for 13 years in the U.S. and United Kingdom. A USO tour to Vietnam in 1970 started what would become a lifelong role as golf’s global ambassador. Powell has traveled in that capacity to Australia, Japan, Morocco, Spain and made more than two dozen visits to various countries in Africa. In 2018, a residence hall at the University of St. Andrews was named in her honor.
Today, Renee Powell is Clearview’s head professional. She also leads the Clearview Legacy Foundation for Education, Preservation and Turfgrass Research, whose education mission is to, “use golf as a tool to reach youngsters, minorities, seniors, troubled individuals, women military veterans, and those with mental and physical challenges.”
The Donald Ross Award is presented by the ASGCA Awards Committee, co-chaired by ASGCA Past Presidents Steve Smyers, ASGCA, and Rees Jones, ASGCA Fellow (the 2013 Donald Ross Award recipient).
Past Donald Ross Award Recipients
2019 Joe Passov, golf writer
2018 President George Herbert Walker Bush, U.S. President
2017 Alice Dye, ASGCA Fellow, golf course architect
2016 Michael Bamberger, golf writer
2015 Bradley S. Klein, golf writer
2014 Maj. Dan Rooney, founder, Folds of Honor Foundation
2013 Rees Jones, ASGCA, golf course architect
2012 Bill Kubly, golf course builder
2011 James Dodson, golf writer/editor
2010 Tim Finchem, PGA Tour Commissioner
2009 Ron Dodson, sustainable golf advocate
2008 George Peper, golf writer
2007 Dr. Michael Hurdzan, ASGCA, golf course architect
2006 Jim Awtrey, chief executive officer, PGA of America
2005 John Singleton, irrigation pioneer
2004 Thomas Cousins, philanthropist, urban golf developer
2003 Bill Campbell, president, USGA, captain, Royal & Ancient Golf Club
2002 Byron Nelson, professional golfer
2001 Jack Nicklaus, ASGCA, professional golfer, golf course architect
2000 Jaime Ortiz-Patino, owner and president, Valderrama Golf Club
1999 Arnold Palmer, professional golfer
1998 Judy Bell, president, USGA
1997 Gene Sarazen, professional golfer
1996 Ron Whitten, golf writer
1995 Pete Dye, ASGCA, golf course architect
1994 James R. Watson, agronomist
1993 Brent Wadsworth, golf course builder
1992 Paul Fullmer, ASGCA executive secretary
1991 Michael Bonallack, secretary, Royal & Ancient Golf Club
1990 John Zoller, executive director, Northern California Golf Association
1989 Dick Taylor, editor, “Golf World” magazine
1988 Frank Hannigan, executive director, USGA
1987 Charles Price, writer, “Golf World” magazine
1986 Deane Beman, commissioner, PGA Tour
1985 Peter Dobereiner, “London Observer” columnist, author
1984 Dinah Shore, sponsor of women’s golf tournaments
1983 Al Radko, director, USGA Green Section
1982 Geoffrey Cornish, ASGCA, golf course architect, historian
1981 James Rhodes, governor of Ohio
1980 Gerald Micklem, captain, Royal & Ancient
1979 Joe Dey, executive director, USGA
1978 Herb and Joe Graffis, founders, National Golf Foundation
1977 Herbert Warren Wind, “The New Yorker” columnist, author
1976 Robert Trent Jones, ASGCA, ASGCA founding memberASGCA Background
Founded in 1946 by Donald Ross, Robert Trent Jones and 12 other leading architects, the American Society of Golf Course Architects is a non-profit organization comprised of experienced golf course designers located throughout North America. Members have completed a rigorous application process that includes the peer review of representative golf courses. ASGCA members are able to counsel in all aspects of golf course design and remodeling and comprise many of the great talents throughout the golf industry.
For more information about ASGCA, including a current list of members, visit http://www.asgca.org or call (262) 786-5960.
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