The Pendleton Panther

Golf Pioneer Bill Powell Passes Away

Posted on: January 6, 2010

Bill Powell

Bill Powell was the first and only African-American man to build, own, and operate his own golf course in the United States.  He passed away on December 31st, 2009 with complications from a stroke.  He was 93 years old.  Last summer, Mr. Powell was honored as a racial pioneer in American golf, more than 60 years after he had been running his own golf course.   Bill Powell reached his goal by building a golf course with the financial help of two black physicians and a loan from his brother.  He purchased 78 acres of land on a dairy farm in East Canton.  Bill and his wife did most of the work by hand, seeding the pastures, and pulling up fence posts.  By April of 1948, his crazy dream came true and he had built an initial nine-hole course that welcomed all players.  In 1978 the course expanded to 18 holes and increased to a total of 130 acres.  Mr. Powell made history by being determined to accomplish his dream and that is exactly what he did.


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