Doughtie Sr. on Golf (May 2012)

During the first days of June the Deloitte Ladies Open will be held here at Broekpolder for the 3rd consecutive year,as part of the Ladies European Tour(LET) and will be defended by England's Melissa Reid.The international field will have about 10 Dutch representatives competing,including Christel Boeljon,fresh of her success at the Turkis open.
.....a far cry from the restricted Women's golf of a hundred years ago.Professional Ladies golf only got off the ground in the mid 20th century.
However,Ladies were seen on the links of Scotland almost 500 years earlier.Mary Queen of Scots,was probably the first to indulge in the sport.There is evidence that she played in the 1560's and it is well known that she was seen on the course in 1567 a few days after her husband Lord Darnley was brutally murdered.

She was brought up in France and is responsible for introducing the term"caddy".She used military cadets to carry her clubs......
After she was imprisoned and beheaded by her cousin Quenn Elizabeth(of England)in 1587,Ladies golf had a barren period.
Fisherwives from Musselburgh(near Edinburgh) had a thriving club, providing a welcome diversion from gutting(cleaning) fish and in 1819 the Minutes of Royal Musselburgh GC recorded that their Ladies held matches and that prizes of Spanish silk and fishing material were presented to the winners.
Early Ladies Golf Societies were normally separate sections of Men's clubs and the male facilities were used.Dressed in long skirts,tight blouses and jackets under a large bonnet,tied down by a scarf,didn't give them the perfect freedom to attack the ball,but competion thrived.
By 1893 over 50 Ladies clubs existed in the UK and in the same year the LGU was established.That  year saw the introduction of the first Ladies Amateur Championship won by Lady Margaret Scott.
In 1897 the event was contested over Gullane links and in the final Edith Orr defeated her elder sister Theodora.
The following championship attracted 220 entrants.It became more difficult to organise such matches as the LGU fought hard to find locations and acquire could say they were the suffragetes of their time struggling to establish Ladies golf and recognition in the sport.
American female golfers got up and running in 1894 with a tournament in New Jersey. They then were fortunate enough to have the USGA hold a National event one year later,which was won by Miss C Brown.
North Berwick lass,Dorothy Campbell,who participated in many events,was the first winner on both sides of the Atlantic,collecting the 2 titles in 1909.She emigrated to Canada and then the US in 1910 after representing Scotland between 1905 and 1909 in International matches.She then donned the colours of America in a period streching till 1924.She claimed 11 National titles and won over 700 first prizes,the last major one being the 1924 US Ladies,when 41 years old.
After a tragic car accident,causing her death in 1945,she was inducted to Hall of Fame of Women's Golf in 1978.
But there can be no doubt as to who was the greatest Lady Golfer------------Babe Didrikson-Zaharias.
She gained Worldwide fame at the Los Angeles Olympics of 1932 winning gold medals at 80meters hurdles and javelin as well as silver at the high jump.Her sporting attributes brought her further accolades as an All-American basketball star,before golf caught her full attention in 1938.Her amateur status was removed that same year after she became the first lady to compete in a male PGA event at Los Angeles,where she missed the cut.
She was the leading lady of the 1940-1950 period and would no doubt have achieved more titles,had not the War years interfered .Her Amateur status was regained in 1942 and she went on to win the US Ladies in '46 and '47.The British title was secured in 1947,making her the first US victor.
In 1947 she officially turned Pro and dominated the WPGA and LPGA,of which she was a founder member.By 1950 Babe  had won every Ladies tournament available on the circuit.,amassing a total of 82 Amateur and Professional titles.She won the US Ladies Open in 1948,50,and 54.After her disastrous attempt at the PGA tournament in 1938,she made the cut at every other match she entered.
Illness curtailed her activities as from 1952 and in 1953 she was diagnosed with colon cancer,but not before her last US title,her 10th Major and lowest winning score at that time.She died at 45 in 1956 and was inducted to Hall of Fame .
In many ways the Lady Golfers of today have a lot to thank those early pioneers of the Ladies game,establishing Unions,Associations,Societies,Championships  and gaining respect and acceptance in the golfing world.This helped to bring the Tour to where it is today. should not be forgotten ,that in Scotland there are least 2 Ladies-only clubs!!!!!!!!!
We wish all participants,officials and spectators a pleasant stay at Broekpolder.
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