Renee Powell wins inaugural Charlie Sifford Award
Renee Powell struck a powerful chord with her acceptance speech as winner of the first Charlie Sifford Award - a tribute to black pioneers of the game who fought injustice and racism in the 20th century.
Powell played on the LPGA Tour from 1967-80 and competed in more than 250 events, serving as head pro at Clearview Golf Club in Ohio since 1995, the club built by the hands of her father William Powell.
Clearview is the first course designed, built, owned and operated by an African American.
Sifford, who died in 2015, turned pro in 1948 but was barred from playing on the PGA Tour until 1961, in doing so becoming the first African American to compete. He went on to win twice.
Speaking at the World Golf Hall of Fame Awards at the PGA Tour headquarters in Florida, the 75-year-old Powell paid tribute to her parents and brother for lifelong support.
“The Charlie Sifford Award here, and what I believe is so important to our game, is a continuation of diversifying our sport and the sport that we all love,” she told an audience including Hall of Fame Class of 2022 Tiger Woods, Susie Maxwell Berning, Tim Finchem and Marion Hollins.
“To that end at Clearview, we are currently in the process of building a small educational building. And the lessons that people can learn will make such a positive difference in the world of golf.
“I am sure that some of you had never heard of Clearview or Bill Powell or even me this evening. So I did want to share with you why this award here is far more about my family and lessons than about me alone.
“Charlie Sifford and Bill Powell loved this game so very much that they were willing to make incredible sacrifices to create opportunities for all to play our sport. Our sport really can only remain healthy when we are indeed diverse and inclusive of all people.”
You can read her full speech here and watch below.