Golf pioneer Bill Powell (1916-2009) was born in Greenville, the grandson of slaves, before later moving with his family to Ohio.
He served in the U.S. Army Air Force in World War II and after returning to Ohio opened the Clearview Golf Club in Canton.
It was the first golf course in America, designed, owned, and operated by an African American.
Not only was it integrated but was also the first to cater to African American golfers.
Before his death in 2009, the Professional Golf Association bestowed on Powell it Distinguished Services Award, the PGA’s highest honor, and he received congratulations from Presidents George Bush and Barrack Obama, as wells as four standing ovations from the 600 people in attendance.
Powell closed the ceremony with a creed: “Stand firm. Never give up. Never give in. Believe in yourself, even when others don’t.”
Powell’s daughter Renee became only the second African American women to play on the LGPA tour.
Powell’s family owns and operates the Clearview Golf Club to this Day.
It is noted that one of his favorite sayings is “The only color that matters is the colors of the greens.”
Excerpted from the publication “Six Facts about Black History in Butler County” by the Greenville-Butler County Public Library.