Ohio is home to many beautiful golf courses, some of which are recognized nationally for their difficulty, landscape and competitions. It is also in Ohio that great African-American golf achievements occurred. I recently had the great pleasure of visiting the groundbreaking course, Clearview Golf Club near Canton, built by William “Bill” Powell, the first African-American to build, own and operate a golf course in the nation.
It was there where I met Renee Powell, Bill’s daughter, and pro golfer, who now runs Clearview. She gave me a breathtaking tour of their rolling terrain and helped me improve my golf swing. If you are a novice golfer, like me, Renee offers personal lessons and clinics. Thanks to her, I was able to hit a shot halfway down the fairway (that is if the fairway were all the way to my right – but it went really far nonetheless).
Noted as “America’s Golf Course," Clearview Golf Club was constructed and operated by Powell, a U.S. Air Force Veteran, who, after serving, returned to Canton and faced discrimination at various golf courses. He then decided to build a golf course of his own after receiving funding from two African-American physicians, and his brother, who took out a second mortgage on his home. Powell constructed Clearview Golf Club in 1946, one of a handful of golf courses listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
On June 23 and 24, golfers will arrive from around the country to compete in the 10th Annual Pioneer Golf Tournament. At the end of the summer, Clearview will host its 2012 William Powell Clearview Celebrity Golf Tournament.
Other notable achievements and great courses include Highland Park Golf Course in Cleveland where, the first PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship was held in 1987. And before there was Tiger Woods, Charlie Sifford, crossed racial barriers when he became the first African-American to win a PGA Tour Event. He would later go on to be Head Pro at Sleepy Hollow Golf Course in Cleveland.
If you are a professional in the making or don’t know your pitching wedge from your putter, Ohio has many great places to practice your swing. For a complete listing of Ohio’s best courses, visit http://www.ohiogolfguide.com. Where are some of your favorite Ohio courses?