PING and the American Junior Golf Association named Renee Powell as the PING Junior Solheim Cup’s United States team captain for the 10th anniversary of the biennial competition.
Sylvania Country Club in Toledo, Ohio, is also announced as the official host of this September 2021 competition. The event will showcase native Ohioan Powell’s U.S. squad competing against their counterparts from Europe including team captain, and AJGA National Chairman and tournament host, Annika Sorenstam.
Modeled after the Solheim Cup, the PING Junior Solheim Cup biennially features the 12 best female junior golfers (ages 12-18) from the United States against their counterparts from Europe. The team match play event includes foursomes, four-ball and singles matches played over two days and rotates between U.S. and European host sites coinciding with the Solheim Cup. The event includes both teams watching the final days of the Solheim Cup matches at Inverness Golf Club, September 4-6, 2021.
About Sylvania Country Club
Designed by Scottish pro golfer Willie Park Jr., Sylvania Country Club boasts more than 100 years of history, including serving as the birthplace of the Golf Course Superintendents’ Association of America, founded just 10 years after the club’s opening in 1919.
Beyond its deep history in the Buckeye state, Sylvania Country Club is legendary as the host of the 1954 Ohio Amateur. It was where a 14-year-old Jack Nicklaus first laid eyes on longtime rival and friend Arnold Palmer. Nicklaus, coming in from the pouring rain after a practice round, often famously recalls seeing one man - the event’s defending champion in Palmer - alone on the driving range hitting golf balls.
Sylvania Country Club and its membership are also experienced, and charitable, AJGA hosts. Since 2019, the club partnered with title sponsor Dana Incorporated to host some of the world’s top junior golfers and through their event, raised $170,000 for local charities and the AJGA's Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant. In two years, more than $80,000 in financial reimbursement has directly benefited junior golfers who have the talent to play national junior golf but not the privilege to do so. Half of the event’s past champions – 2020’s Scotty Kennon and 2019’s Ali Khan – are ACE Grant recipients.
About Captain Powell
Renee Powell began her distinguished golf career on an East Canton, Ohio, course built by her father William, a World War II veteran, during times of racial adversity and segregation. Mr. Powell returned from service to find the war hadn’t changed where he was welcomed to play, so he built his own course: hand-seeding the first nine holes and expanding to a second nine 30 years after opening in 1946. To this day, Clearview Golf Club is the only golf course designed, constructed, owned and operated by a Black man.
Under her father’s tutelage, Powell was swinging a club by age three, won more than 30 tournaments as a teen and played college golf – and served as a captain – at both Ohio and Ohio State Universities.
In 1967, Powell became just the second African American woman to compete on the LPGA Tour during a difficult time of civil unrest and discrimination. She played in more than 250 professional tournaments and won the 1973 Kelly Springfield Open in Brisbane, Australia, where she set a final-round course record 67. Powell was selected to represent the United States in four team golf matches vs. Japan, toured with the USO to Vietnam, and was invited to play with the King of Morocco and President of Zambia.
After retiring from professional golf, Powell dedicated her life to creating more diversity in the game through her work as a golf professional. She built a career in the United Kingdom in the early 1980’s as the first woman to be named head golf professional in the U.K., hosted golf clinics in Africa more than 25 times as an International Goodwill Ambassador and was one of the first female golfers to design her own clothing line. She worked as a television analyst, commenting during numerous tournaments on CBS and ABC. Powell also began lecturing at Black colleges and hosting a clinic to expose the game to more minority communities through a youth golf camp.
Later, Powell returned home to East Canton, Ohio, to keep her father’s legacy of golf for everyone alive as head golf professional at Clearview Golf Club where she continues to focus on growing the game especially for veterans, women and juniors. In 2001, Clearview was named to the National Register of Historic Places, a tribute honoring Mr. Powell’s perseverance to overcome discrimination in golf.
In her own storied golf career, Powell’s gifts back to the game of golf compel accolades. In 2008, she became the first female golfer – and third American – to receive an honorary doctorate from The University of St. Andrews, Scotland, in its now 600-year history. It is one of two honorary degrees she owns. Ten years later, the university named a new residence after Powell, who was the first American, and golfer, immortalized on a building on campus in the home of golf. Powell was the first woman of color to be elected to membership in the PGA of America and was elected the first At-Large Director of its Board.
In 2015, Powell was one of two American women bestowed honorary membership into the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews. She has been named the PGA’s First Lady of Golf (2002) and received these awards for her service to the game: LPGA / Rolex’s For the Love of the Game; PGA TOUR Card Walker; USGA Ike Grainger; and LPGA Pioneer. In February 2020, Powell received the Golf Writers Association of America’s Charlie Bartlett Award given to a playing professional for their unselfish contributions for the betterment of society.
In August 2020, Powell received the Donald Ross Award from the American Society of Golf Course Architects; she is just the fifth golf professional to receive this award (with Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus), the only female golf professional and just the fourth woman (Dinah Shore, Judy Bell, and Alice Dye).
Powell is passionate about giving back because of the sacrifices of her family made – namely her father who was active in the game for 84 years.
I am honored John Solheim asked me to be a captain because I grew up playing junior golf. I think everyone should play golf because of all of the life lessons in this great game. This is a special honor. When you play the game as long as I have, you need to give back.
“I can’t wait to see the growth from when I first meet each player to when the last ball is picked up from the last hole in the PING Junior Solheim Cup," Powell said. "I’m excited to be able to see the excitement on [the girls’] faces when they are doing what the love and representing the United States. I am proud that my state of Ohio is the host state for both the PING Junior Solheim Cup and the Solheim Cup.”
The United States leads the all-time PING Junior Solheim Cup series 7-2-1 and has won six consecutive matches. Team Europe last won, 14-10, when the event was hosted in Sweden in 2007.
“We’re honored Renee has accepted our offer to captain the U.S. PING Junior Solheim Cup team in 2021,” said John A. Solheim, PING Chairman & CEO. “She’s a true pioneer in the game of golf whose accomplishments speak for themselves and contributions to the sport around the world are long and ever-lasting. Her support of girl’s golf throughout her hall-of-fame career makes her the perfect choice for the captain’s role. She’ll draw on her experience as far back as captaining her college golf teams to her career on the LPGA Tour to inspire and motivate her team. I know she’ll leave a positive and life-long impression on every girl who earns their way onto the team. On top of all that, she’s a native of Ohio which brings a wonderful connection for all those who have benefited from her numerous efforts within the state’s golf community.”
PING Junior Solheim Cup history
Powell joins United States PING Junior Solheim Cup past captains:
- 2019: Mary Bea Porter-King
- 2017: Alice Miller
- 2015: JoAnne Carner
- 2013: Kathy Whitworth
- 2011: Meg Mallon
- 2009: Nancy Lopez
- 2007: Donna Andrews
- 2005: Colleen Walker
- 2003: Val Skinner
- 2002: Sherri Steinhauer
American AJGA alumnae who have graduated from the PING Junior Solheim Cup to the Solheim Cup include Brittany Lang, Paula Creamer, Alison Lee, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel, Angel Yin and Lexi Thompson. Team Europe AJGA alumnae to make the same move include Carlota Ciganda, Georgia Hall, Caroline Hedwall, Charley Hull, Caroline Masson, Azahara Munoz, Anna Nordqvist, Florentyna Parker, Emily Kristine Pedersen, Beatriz Recari and Melissa Reid.
The Solheim Cup, the most prestigious team event in women’s professional golf, is named in honor of PING’s Karsten and Louise Solheim and their family. Played biennially, the teams feature the top American-born LPGA players versus the top European-born Ladies European Tour players. The 2021 contest will be played at Inverness Club, August 31-September 6, 2021.
About the PING Junior Solheim Cup
The PING Junior Solheim Cup is owned and hosted by PING and will be operated by the American Junior Golf Association with assistance from the Ladies Professional Golf Association and the Ladies European Tour.
Founded by Karsten and Louise Solheim, the Karsten Manufacturing Corporation is a long-time sponsor of the LPGA and AJGA. As the makers of PING golf equipment, the Solheim family continues to ensure the same superior workmanship today that they built into their original clubs more than 46 years ago. Now under the direction of John Solheim, Karsten and Louise’s youngest son, the company continues in its efforts to manufacture the highest quality golf equipment. The PING name is known world over. Besides its presence in the United States, PING markets custom-fit and custom-built equipment to more than 70 countries.
The tournament owner and title partner, PING, designs, manufactures and markets a complete line of golf equipment including metal woods, irons, putters and golf bags. The family-owned company was founded in 1959 by the late Karsten Solheim. Solheim is the only person to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame as a golf club manufacturer. Today, the Phoenix-based company is under the direction of Solheim's youngest son, John A. Solheim. PING game-improvement products can be found in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit ping.com.