USGA Honors African-American Golf Pioneers

New Exhibit at the USGA Museum Highlights the Life of William “Bill” Powell and the Historic Clearview Golf Club

By USGA
February 21, 2014

The "More Than a Game" exhibit, which shares the stories of early African-American golf clubs and their impact on the game and the community, will run for two years at the USGA Museum. (USGA/Rob Rabena)

FAR HILLS, N.J. – The United States Golf Association is honoring African-American golf pioneers as part of the USGA Museum’s newest exhibit, “More Than A Game,” which focuses on how the creation of African-American golf clubs positively impacted the community despite the pervasive prejudice and racism of the Jim Crow era. The exhibit opens on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, and will run for two years.

The centerpiece of “More Than A Game” is the story of the late William "Bill" Powell and the Clearview Golf Club. Founded in 1946 in East Canton, Ohio, Clearview is the only public golf course in the United States designed, built and owned by an African American.

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Video: More Than A Game

Curated by Susan Wasser, the USGA Museum’s assistant director, the exhibit is part of the USGA’s ongoing commitment to attracting a diverse audience to the game. This retrospective is one of the initiatives surrounding the African-American Golf History Archive, which was formed in 2010 by the USGA and The PGA of America to collect, preserve and celebrate the history of African Americans in golf. “More Than A Game” is the third exhibit in the USGA Museum since 2010 to celebrate minorities in golf.

“Our exhibition reflects on the lives of the pioneers in African-American golf history and how their courage and convictions changed the game,” said Wasser. “As the world’s leading institution for the study and celebration of golf history, the USGA Museum is a great resource to preserve and share the African-American golf experience in this way.”

To further highlight Powell’s inspirational story of passion and social justice, the exhibit will include a short film produced by Dan Levinson of Moxie Pictures, whose previous work includes the award-winning documentary “Uneven Fairways,” which premiered on Golf Channel in 2009.

As part of this exhibit, the USGA is also honoring other clubs that have made significant contributions to minority golf, including Shady Rest Golf and Country Club in Scotch Plains, N.J., the longtime home course of John Shippen, the first African American to play in a U.S. Open, in 1896; Langston Golf Course in Washington, D.C., home to the Wake-Robin and Royal Golf Clubs, the oldest African-American clubs still in existence; and Freeway Golf Course in Sicklerville, N.J., home course of National Black Golf Hall of Fame member Bill Bishop.

In conjunction with the opening of the exhibit, the USGA Museum will host a one-day symposium on Feb. 22. The symposium will feature discussions with Powell’s daughter, Renee, who played on the LPGA Tour for 14 years and is currently the head professional at Clearview; 12-time PGA Tour winner Calvin Peete; United Golfers Association champion Madelyn Turner; and Bishop.

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