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Twice as Good: The Story of William Powell and Clearview, the Only Golf Course Designed, Built, and Owned by an African American

Overview

To nine-year-old Willie Powell, there was no prettier sight than the smooth grass lawns of Edgewater Golf Cource. He had been so eager to see them that he'd run seven miles to where the course was situated outside of town. But his elation didn't last. When he asked two golfers if they'd teach him the game, one man responded by saying, 'Son, didn't anyone ever tell you that your kind is not welcome here?' In the 1920's there was no place for Willie, or any black person, on a golf cource. It was a game for white ...
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Twice as Good: The Story of William Powell and Clearview, the Only Golf Course Designed, Built, and Owned by an African American

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Overview

To nine-year-old Willie Powell, there was no prettier sight than the smooth grass lawns of Edgewater Golf Cource. He had been so eager to see them that he'd run seven miles to where the course was situated outside of town. But his elation didn't last. When he asked two golfers if they'd teach him the game, one man responded by saying, 'Son, didn't anyone ever tell you that your kind is not welcome here?' In the 1920's there was no place for Willie, or any black person, on a golf cource. It was a game for white people only, at least in America. But his enthusiasm for golf and his belief in what he knew to be right drove Willie Powell to change that, and to change minds.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jean Boreen
I love the opportunity to learn something new, and I certainly did in this wonderful picture book about William Powell and his determination to not only make golf a reality in his own life but to also provide opportunities for others to access golf, a sport too often confined to the white upper classes. The book starts with Willie Powell as a youngster who first becomes a caddy—after he is told that "his kind" are not welcome at the Edgewater Golf Course—and eventually learns to play golf before being drafted into the U.S. Army during WWII. When Powell returns from the war, he is stunned again with the realization that while he can fight a war for his country, he is still considered a second class citizen when it comes to bank loans, joining the PGA, and so forth. Powell works hard, buys land, and designs Clearview, a public course open to all. Powell's daughter Renee is the focus in the final pages of the book, as William supports her own love of golf, and her eventual status as the first African American to play in the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship. This text is a great way to highlight one aspect of the history of golf in this country and two of the people who helped open the sport to all. Reviewer: Jean Boreen, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—For third-grader Willie Powell, the new golf course was a beautiful sight. One day, he approached two white golfers and asked the kinder looking of the men to teach him to play. His reply was, "Son, didn't anyone ever tell you that your kind is not welcome here?" "Of course, Willie knew he was different. He was the only Negro in his class." Awhile later he returned to the course and ran into one of the men he'd met earlier. This time he agreed to let Willie carry his clubs. The youngster remembered the words of his principal, "If you are going to get ahead in this world, Willie, you can't be as good as the white children; you have to be twice as good." As he caddied and earned a little money, he also studied the game. Later, while in the army, he was stationed in England where "no one seemed to think golf was a game for whites only." Three years later, he returned to the United States and noticed that his daughter had "the grip of a champion golfer," and he was determined that one day there would be a course where she could play. In 1948, he opened the Clearview Golf Club in Ohio. Velasquez's large illustrations, often full spreads, capture the sense of time in soft, pastel shades of green, blue, brown, yellow, and pink. An inspirational story, suitable for Black History Month and for children interested in the game of golf.—Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews
Despite growing up in a community that was racially segregated, William Powell persisted in playing the game he loved, golf. Young Willie could only caddy on the golf course near his Ohio home, although one white man did let him play. Returning home after World War II from England, where he golfed as much as possible, William was barred from the local greens, denied membership in the whites-only (until 1961) PGA and turned down for financing from the GI loan program. Nonetheless, he found a piece of land where, with private financing, he designed and built the first integrated golf course in the United States. Clearview opened in 1948 and is now a National Historic Site. When his daughter was born, he designed a golf club just for her. Michelson, the author of As Good As Anybody (illustrated by Raul Colón, 2008), has written a straight-forward narrative spiced throughout with inspirational thoughts. At one point, Willie's principal tells him that in order to succeed he must be "twice as good" as the white children. Velasquez, the award-winning illustrator, paints his figures in linear poses that are unfortunately more static than active. A useful title in which young readers can gain an appreciation of a ground-breaking African-American sports figure. (author's note) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585364664
  • Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
  • Publication date: 1/15/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 562,276
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 8, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    An inspiring true story

    William Powell was a young man who liked golf. No, actually he absolutely LOVED golf and would do anything to play. But Willie, an African American born in 1916, grew up in an era when discrimination was common. If he was going to realize his dream of playing golf, he would have to be twice as good as the other players. In elementary school, Willie loved going to the nearby golf course to watch the adults play golf. But when he asked to be taught how to play, he was told, “your kind is not welcome here.” Willie was heartbroken but he didn’t let that stop him. He kept going to the golf course and watching. His persistence paid off and young Willie was eventually offered a caddy position. Every summer he worked as a caddy and studied how the players hit the ball. Maybe someday he would get to play the game. When the doctor who employed Willie’s mother offered to teach him how to play, Willie was overjoyed. He practiced and practiced and by high school was playing on the school team. While he was the best golfer on his high school team, he continued to be met with prejudice against African Americans at every turn. The young golfer, however, never let that stop him. He met each challenge and continued to reach for his dream. Returning from World War II, Willie dreamed of building a golf course where the only color that mattered, “was the color of the greens.” Would he be able to achieve his dream of designing and building a golf course where everybody, of every color, was welcome to play? Twice as Good recalls the amazing story of one incredibly talented and determined man who fought against the odds to realize his dream. In author Michelson’s capable hands, the narrative is never preachy or gloomy, instead it is upbeat and positive. Powell’s never-give-up attitude is shown repeatedly and it offers an excellent lesson to children in dealing with adversity in their own lives. The chalk drawings, with their subtle hues and tones capture the mood and times of Powell’s youth perfectly. Quill says: The inspiring true story of a golf pioneer who faced discrimination at every turn but never let it stop him from realizing his dream. This book should be in every classroom!

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