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Golfing pioneer honored

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Minerva High School girls golf coach Renee Powell has been selected to receive the Charlie Bartlett Award by the Golf Writers Association of America.

The award has been given since 1971 to a playing professional for unselfish contributions to the betterment of society.

It’s the latest honor for the 73-year-old Powell, who also is in the PGA of America Hall of Fame and was honored in 2003 by the PGA as its “First Lady of Golf.”

She is still the club pro at the East Canton, Ohio, course where she learned the game — Clearview Golf Club, the course her father, William, built after returning from World War II and struggled to find a place where African Americans could play.

Powell became the second African-American player on the LPGA Tour and contributed even more to the game after she stopped competing. She launched Clearview H.O.P.E. (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere), which offered a recreational golf program free for female veterans. She has made 25 trips to Africa to host clinics.

She was among the first women to become members of the R&A, and she received an honorary doctorate at St. Andrews. The university even named a residence hall in her honor.

“My life has been one that I never dreamed of,” Powell said. “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.”

She will be honored at the GWAA’s dinner on the eve of the Masters April 8.

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