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.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 47 of 101

44 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 12.18 it. He was just determined. at's all I can say," Mathews says. Family matters When Norm Hill looks at Larry Powell, it is almost like seeing double. "Larry is very much like his dad. Self- made. Dedicated to what he's doing. e degree of pride he takes in Clearview. It isn't superficial. It's very deep. Larry knows every inch of ground there," says Hill, a Powell family cousin who laughs after he says that family vacations as a youth meant driving 30 minutes from Akron, Ohio, to Clear - view to mow grass and pick up rocks. "If you're looking at that course, you're looking at Larry. If you're looking at Larry, you're looking at Bill." Undoubtedly, Bill Powell was a role model for Larry, 66, who is devoutly com - mitted to continuing what his father started. "I was born into it. At 8, I learned how to mow a green. ey were getting me in shape," Larry says. "Dad got upset when someone said the word 'can't.' It was one of his driving forces. e whole family put blood, sweat and tears into this. Our parents taught us to fight for what you believe." Two of those family members are no lon - ger here. Larry's older brother, Billy, was 26 when he was murdered more than 40 years ago in California, yet his efforts remain vis - ible at Clearview. "He worked side-by-side dad as a youngster," Larry says. "I played football in seventh grade. Billy said he'd take care of the course while I was in school. If it wasn't for him, this course wouldn't be here. Take any of these people away, and this course wouldn't be here." Marcella, perhaps the unsung star, passed away in 1996. Not only did she run the golf shop — she also oversaw club finances, was a Girl Scout leader and launched a women's league in the 1950s. "When I was little, she made my clothes," says daughter Renee, one of Bill and Marcella's three children born at the hospital where Marcella had been re - fused admittance when she attempted to en- roll in nursing school. Larry, meanwhile, logs enormous hours. Not as many as he used to, however, when he had a second job with the U.S. Postal Ser - vice. "One time I was up 80 hours straight," says Larry, who has taken a pass on back surgery but did have replacement surgeries on both knees. "You learn to just keep push - ing through. Since we're a small operation, it's a lot of work (Larry has a staff of two, sometimes three, helping him). You're never done." His fiancée, assistant superintendent/ horticulturist Teresa Cole, has been at Clearview since 1988. She mows greens, is a master with flowers, was instrumental in converting the greens to their current cul - tivars and was involved in clearing of the land and grow-in for improvements done in 2002, including bunkers, tees, greens Above: In 1971, flooding destroyed 12 bridges at Clearview GC, but it didn't prevent Bill Powell from assessing the damage. The bridges were replaced and are better fortified today, including being two feet higher than the ones that were damaged. Photo courtesy of the USGA Right: Fifty-six years after he mowed his first green at Clearview GC, Larry Powell is still going strong. Clearview historian Jeff Brown calls Powell "a machine." as "Mr. P." "He didn't have hate or display anger and bitterness. But there was a deep hurt there," Brown says about the racial ob - stacles Powell endured. "He said, 'e only color that matters to me is the color of the greens.' He still inspires people after he's gone." And his family is an ideal match for this award. "e Powells stand for what Old Tom Morris embodied," says GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans, noting that Morris was a four-time British Open champion and Scottish greenkeeper for four decades years at the Old Course at St. Andrews. "ey built the golf course, operate it, maintain it, play the game and work every day to help others enjoy it." After reading a blurb about Powell in Reader's Digest, golf course architect Mike Hurdzan, Ph.D., was inspired to write a let - ter to him, telling Powell he appreciated his contributions. Later, Hurdzan was in the region and paid a visit to Clearview. "He treated me like a son," says Hurdzan, the Old Tom Morris Award recipient in 2013 whose company constructed the master plan for restorations at Clearview several years ago. "Everyone recognizes what the Powells have done for the game of golf. Ev - erything they have, they gave to the game. ey don't have a mercenary bone in their bodies." Bill Powell's twin sisters, Mary Walker and Rose Mathews, are still alive and in their 90s. Mathews mows her own lawn. She also still lives in that house on Pennsyl - vania Avenue. She marvels at her brother's accomplishments. "I don't know how he did

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Golf Course Management - DEC 2018