Bill Powell: First African American To Launch His Own Inclusive Golf Course For All People

Bill Powell: First African American To Launch His Own Inclusive Golf Course For All People

For this Black entrepreneur, taking a few swings at his passion landed him right in the hole to heading his own establishment.

The late Bill Powell was an African American businessman who designed Clearview Golf Club, the first integrated golf course to cater to African Americans.

The pioneering golf course owner found his passion in golf at the early age of nine. When he returned from serving in World War II, the army veteran set out to play golf on a public course, but was denied because he was Black.


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Being turned away from exercising his passion for golf, due to racial segregation, inspired the pioneer to create his own golf course where golfers of all colors would be welcomed to play.

In an interview with The New York Times in 2010, Powell discussed his ventures towards creating the golf course.

“It’s distasteful when you get turned down,” Powell said. “You have a little pride. You say the hell with them. You say I’m not going to badger. I’m not going to beg them. So I said I’ll just build a golf course.”

Reportedly, the entrepreneur was denied in his first attempt to get a bank loan to launch his plans for the golf course. However, the racial segregation was not going to keep him from accomplishing his goal, ands he solidified financial support from two Black physicians in addition to a loan from a brother.

“I did not want other people who wanted to play the game of golf to have to suffer the indignities that I had,” Powell said in an acceptance speech, according to The New York Times.

Powell was able to purchase 78 acres of land and he went to work alongside his wife, Marcella, building the course by hand.

Clearview Golf Course, which officially opened in April 1948, included nine holes and multiple fence posts.

Despite vandalism and encountering people who were angry about the establishment, the golf course remained open, eventually expanded to 130 acres with 18 holes by 1978, becoming a national landmark in 2001.

In 2009, Powell was awarded the PGA Distinguished Service Award by the Professional Golfers Association.

Powell passed away at the age of 93, and the golf course remains in full service, managed by Larry and Renee Powell.