HOUSTON (Feb. 11, 2020) – GHS member Renee Powell, a pioneering player known for her passion toward opening the game to all, is the recipient of the Golf Writers Association of America’s 2020 Charlie Bartlett Award, given to a playing professional for his/her unselfish contributions to the betterment of society.
Powell, 73, learned the game at Clearview Golf Club in East Canton, Ohio, a course her father, William, built with his own hands after he returned from World War II and struggled to find a place to play in the throes of racism.
Powell grew up to become the second African American to compete on the LPGA, persevering through prejudice, including death threats, to help blaze a trail. After her playing career, Powell remained one of golf’s great ambassadors, making more than 25 trips to Africa to host clinics.
Nine years ago, she launched Clearview H.O.P.E. (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere), a cost-free, year-round therapeutic and recreational golf program for female veterans. Most of the women in Powell’s program suffer from PTSD. She called Clearview H.O.P.E. the most rewarding program she’s ever done.
“All my women are new to golf,” she said. “I’m loving it basically because they are loving it, and they feel safe and they feel a sense of freedom.”
Powell was among the first women given honorary membership into the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland. In 2008, she was given an honorary doctorate from the University of St. Andrews and two years ago, the school named a residence hall after her.
A member of the PGA of America’s Hall of Fame, Powell was honored as the PGA’s First Lady of Golf in 2003. She has also been active on several boards, including the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Northern Ohio PGA, Mercy Medical Center and Pathway Caring for Children. She remains the head pro at Clearview, which in 2001 was named a National Historic Site by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
“My life has been one that I never dreamed of,” said Powell. “I look back on my life, when I was 8 years old and discovered racism in school, from teachers and kids in my little community … now I have a building named after me in St. Andrews. It’s all because of golf.”
Powell will be honored on April 8 at the 48th ISPS HANDA GWAA Annual Awards Dinner in Augusta, Ga.
Others being honored include Players of the Year Brooks Koepka, Jin Young Ko and Scott McCarron, Ben Hogan Award winner Patrick Cantlay, William D. Richardson Award winner Mike Whan, ASAP Sports/Jim Murray Award winner Adam Scott and PGA of America Lifetime Achievement Award winner Bill Fields (also a GHS member).
Past winners of the Bartlett award, named for the former Chicago Tribune writer and first secretary of the GWAA, include Tiger Woods, Tom Watson, Gene Sarazen, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Betsy King, Lorena Ochoa, Ben Crane, Peter Jacobsen, Cristie Kerr, Morgan Pressel, Ernie Els, Greg Norman, Billy Casper, Lee Trevino and Patty Sheehan.
Contact: Melanie Hauser
Golf Writers Association of America