by Tamara Stuchlak
Picture yourself on the first tee of the Clearview Golf Club in East Canton, Ohio having a bucket list experience. You pause to pinch yourself with glee and gratitude because you have landed on the hallowed ground of the Powell Family golf legacy of Golf for Everyone. Soon you’ll be receiving golf instruction from Renee Powell a golf professional and educator – LPGA Tour professional, Golf Digest Top 50 Best Women Teachers, and the PGA of America’s First Lady of Golf. Can it be that Dr. Renee Powell, golf royalty is really going to watch and tell me what to do to be better?
As I take a few practice swings it starts to sink in, Dr. Renee Powell is the pride of America, a golf legend, and an honorary female member of the Royal and Ancient (R&A) Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland. Along with Louise Suggs co-founder of the LPGA (1923-2015), she is one of just two American women with this international distinction. And Renee Powell’s golfing accomplishments link her with 5 other legendary Americans – Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson and George H.W. Bush who are also R&A honorary members.
Dr. Renee Powell was the second African-American after tennis legend Althea Gibson to play on the LPGA Tour competing in more than 250 events after joining in 1967. Since leaving the LPGA Tour in 1980, she has devoted her life to introducing life skills and growing the game among underprivileged children, members of the military and golfers from the United States to Great Britain to Africa.
In February 2015, Renee Powell became one of seven female members, and the first and only African-American female member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews, Scotland. Renee Powell joins several other notable women who accepted honorary membership in the Royal and Ancient Golf Club including Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Dame Laura Davies, Belle Robertson MBE, Lally Segard, Annika Sorenstam and Louise Suggs.
“This is a historic day for the Club and we could not be more proud to welcome women who have distinguished themselves in golf over many years and have been great players and champions. They are extremely worthy additions to our roll of honorary members and will become ambassadors for the Club as they have been for the sport of golf throughout their careers.”
George Macgregor OBE, Captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.
In 2003, Renée Powell received the PGA, America’s First Lady of Golf award. In 2007, she received the inaugural Rolex For the Love of the Game award. In 2008, the University of St. Andrews bestowed Renee with an honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD). And honored with a Doctor of Public Service, University of Maryland, Eastern Shore in 2010.
The Powell Family Legacy
Dr. William Powell an African American visionary designed, built, owned and operated his own golf course in East Canton, Ohio. In his autobiography, Clearview: America’s Course , Powell called Clearview a labor of love and said it felt good to have left behind something meaningful as his legacy: “I didn’t build this course for any of the recognition,” he said. “Golf is a part of society and I wanted to be included. I want you to be included, too.”
The grandson of Alabama slaves, Powell was a WWII veteran who served in the U.S. Army Air Corp. He had been a caddy as a boy and then captain and coach of his high school golf team. He played golf internationally while in the service. But when he returned home to Ohio after the war, he was denied membership to local golf courses and barred from playing on some area courses. Undeterred, Powell worked two jobs, found two business partners, and used money raised from his brother mortgaging his home to turn a 78-acre dairy farm into a 9-hole golf course.
William Powell began building the course, by hand, in 1946 and opened for business with the first nine holes in 1948. He completed the last nine holes 1978. He named the course Clearview Golf Club for the beautiful, panoramic views visible from the highest point on the property. In 1992, the Powells were honored by the National Golf Foundation as the Jack Nicklaus Golf Family of the Year. That same year, William was awarded the Cornerstone of Freedom Award from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission. Along with a trophy case of noteworthy awards, in 1996, Dr. William Powell was honored with a PGA Lifetime Membership and also inducted into the National Black Golf Hall of Fame.
Dr. Powell passed away on December 31, 2009, at the age of 93.
Clearview Golf Club is operated by the Powell Family. The course layout in East Canton, Ohio near the Pro Football Hall of Fame with gently rolling terrain and undulating greens is a challenge to experienced golfers, yet also provides an enjoyable round for players new to the game.
In 2016, Clearview Golf Club celebrates its 70th Anniversary with a number of golfing events available to golfers everywhere who can treasure the courage and commitment to Golf for Everyone and experience instruction with golf royalty. Grab your golfing buddies and make a date with history.
Dr. Powell who insists on being called Renee, shared with us her golf philosophy as a PGA Top-ranked instructor. “I don’t set out to completely change an individual, I work with their positive qualities with a positive approach physically and mentally.” One of Renee’s effective coaching tips is to “keep a club in your hand so it does not become a foreign object. Repetition makes us all feel more comfortable. You can complicate the game and you can complicate life.”
Both Renee and Catherine Duggan a 10-year LPGA Tour veteran shared on-course golf instruction that was already giving me more confidence and producing good results from their Tour tips delivered in a way that especially made sense to me as a woman golfer. A full day of golf school ended with a tasty meal for the participants followed by a video spanning the 70 years of history-making accomplishments of the Powell family – William, Marcella, Larry and Renee.
I was truly in awe as I began to step back into the not so distant past, and grasp the courage and grace an American golfing family presented in the face of discrimination and worse. While the enormity of all of the awards and honorary degrees would fill a museum, they do not begin to tell the overlooked impact of the CLEARVIEW historic golf legacy. One day, Renee and the entire Powell family will be rightfully acknowledged by our nation as historic Americans who changed American history through golf.
A video segment on CLEARVIEW HOPE, launched by Renee in conjunction with the PGA, also sparked my personal interest in military healthcare using holistic non-pharmaceutical approaches for effective trauma healing. CLEARVIEW HOPE is a cost-free rehabilitative and therapeutic golf program for military and veteran women in northern Ohio. “Helping Our Patriots Everywhere,” Every major national media outlets has featured CLEARVIEW HOPE since its launching in 2011. Renee told us “Clearview HOPE gives hope to women veterans who might feel as though they have been transparent. It is one way of thanking our women veterans for their service to our country through the game of golf with programs such as this.” As a model for supporting our military and veterans in every community, it would be fitting for organizations inside and outside of the golf world to support expanding CLEARVIEW HOPE.
I was also surprised to learn Clearview Legacy Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit to preserve Clearview Golf Club for future generations. The CLEARVIEW vision is to educate and train while welcoming diversity in golf. CLEARVIEW empowers and inspires youth, and military and veteran women especially those dealing with PTSD.
The “pinch me I can’t believe this is real” part of attending the Dr. Renee Powell Golf School was the on-course instruction and play. What a treat to mix it up with an internationally recognized golf legend and Goodwill Ambassador who brought the joy of golf to African with dozens of missions and even to Vietnam as part of a USO tour. You can’t put a price tag on the personalized learning, loads of laughing, and treasured memories golfing with American’s Golf Royalty. But you know what the absolute best part of being at America’s Course – Clearview Golf for Everyone is? Walking the hallowed grounds of American history-making and feeling a reverence for a family of American social change Patriots.
For more information on CLEARVIEW Golf Course, CLEARVIEW LEGACY Foundation 70th Anniversary events “CELEBRATE CLEARVIEW 2016 – Preserving a National Treasure: The Next 70 Years”, and CLEARVIEW HOPE visit their website: www.clearview-gc.com.
Tamara Stuchlak is a student of the game of golf who loves to learn, delighting in the paradox of the discipline of golf that also applies to life.
With a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree and 25 years healthcare executive management, Tamara is an integrative health and medicine consultant. She is passionate about creating whole-person whole-systems consumer access to “what works”. This is all about underutilized preventive, self-care and state licensed professionals who are experts in optimizing and personalizing methods combining nutrition, brain-gut health, bio-energetic medicine, and psycho-social behavioral health for thriving body, mind and life’s meaning and purpose. . As an advocate for non-surgery non-drugs and a Health Educator & Well-being Coach, she is also the Founder and President of the National Integrative Health Congress a 501(c) 3 charitable educational organization dedicated to serving the health and well-being of humanity.
Tamara has been a television host for two shows Russia Today and Your Source TV for Health and Wellness for over 15 years at a local community cable access station in the suburbs of Northern Virginia near Washington, DC. As an African drummer and percussionist, and member of the Positive Musician Association, she performs with several musical groups rhythm and blues, reggae, folk, devotional participatory experiences, and Kirtan. Tamara makes a joyful beat for Unity churches in Virginia, Maryland and DC and an African American Baptist church.
You can follow Tamara Stucklak on Twitter at @TamaraStuchlak