Golf Course Management

DEC 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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Page 45 of 101

42 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 12.18 short of perfect was always unacceptable to him," Larry says. is is how fondly one of Bill Powell's classmates thought of him: Ralph Petros, valedictorian their senior year, skipped grad - uation when he learned that Powell would have to walk into the ceremony by himself instead of being paired with someone, like everybody else at a school that was 99 percent white. At Wilberforce (Ohio) University, Bill Powell played golf, in - cluding the first interracial match between colleges when histori- cally black Wilberforce faced Ohio Northern, a white college, in 1937 (Wilberforce won). Drafted into World War II, Powell was a sergeant overseeing 1,200 truck units that were deployed in England in preparation for the upcoming D-Day invasion. When he came home fol - lowing the war, Powell soon realized it was all too uncomfort- ably familiar. Stationed in the South before returning to Ohio, he witnessed German prisoners of war being treated better than American soldiers of color. e POWs were issued new outfits to wear. Powell was given salvaged clothing. He went back to the job he held before the war, working as a security guard at Timken, a bearing and steel company. Mean - while, Powell's resolve to build a golf course where everyone was welcomed never diminished. He worked nights at Timken as he A dream is born Bill Powell was no stranger to the racial divide that held sway in the country during the early part of the 20th century. From the doorstep of his home on Pennsylvania Avenue in Minerva, Ohio, where Powell was raised, he could see a patch of land where the Ku Klux Klan burned crosses. But the son of a bible-reading father and the grandson of Ala - bama slaves also grew up near what would become his future passion. Powell was just 9 when he learned that Edgewater Golf Club was being built just seven miles from his home. "Dad told me he would light up when he saw that course," Larry says. His father became a caddie when Edgewater opened. Not just an ordinary caddie, either. "He and Berry carried two bags at once to make more money (35 cents per bag)," Larry says. "e caddie master noticed them, and so they also began to work for the maintenance crew. e club saw how aggressive and hungry those boys were to work, and they cleaned up fast. Dad fell in love with the sport. All aspects of it." Bill Powell was quite an athlete. He was the only African- American on his high school football team. And, as a 5-foot-9, 200-pound sturdy force, was its captain. e squad was unde - feated in 1932 and outscored its opponents 332-0. "Anything

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