I have just come back from a weekend in UK, following in the golfing footsteps of my Granny.
The very first set of golf clubs I had were an old set of Slazenger irons with leather grips that had been my Granny’s, much to the amusement of the Pro who was giving me lessons at Delapre Abbey.
Recently I have become very intrigued about the sporting history of my granny and her 2 sisters. My Great Aunts both played cricket for England in the 1920’s and my Granny was Warwickshire County Champion in 1921 and played in the Amatuer Girls Golf Tournament at Stoke Poges that year.
I knew my granny had been a long time member of Royal St David’s , and was the Lady Captain in 1951. I then found out that as a family Granny , her sisters and their father were all members at Ladbrook Park in Birmingham in the 1920s, my great grandfather being club secretary for a while.
I decided to go on a golf trip to play the courses she was a member with , and along with my golfing bestie Gill we set off on this trip.
Ladbrook Park is a fabulous golf course and we enjoyed and perfect English summers day, blue skies, birdies singing , beautiful greens and a stunning parkland course. When we arrived at the club, everyone knew who we were. Mandy the club secretary gave me a copy of their Centenary Book which mentioned my Granny, her sisters and my great grandfather. After playing we had the most fascinating conversation with Elisabeth Earnshaw who had been a member there for 50 years and had helped to compile the book. As well as telling us more about the history she also told us about her amazing golfing life , being the first women to referee at The Open, refereeing and then playing on the Monday at The Masters as well her roles with the R&A , LGU amongst others.
We then drove up to North Wales , which for me was a wonderful trip down memory lane, as I have not been back there in 20 years. We arrived in Harlech in time to have drink beneath the castle and to look out over Royal St David’s, whilst constantly checking forecasts in the hope the rain wouldn’t appear.
We were blessed on Saturday with a dry, and relatively wind free day, it was cloudy , but warm so a perfect day to play.
On arriving at the club, we went into the Ladies locker room to find the boards my Granny’s name were on , there was so much history on the walls it was wonderful to see.
My dad had also been a member there, but he never quite made a board , he did however play for the seniors !
The course was stunning , I played it once with dad back in ‘97 when my handicap was 30+ so all I remember is losing a lot of balls in the rough ! This time was different as I played with the same ball ( in fact the same ball I played Ladbrook Park with the day before) . I have not really played a links course so it was a fabulous experience. At times I felt quite emotional , as that part of Wales holds so many fond family memories , spending part of every school holiday (winter & summer) as a child in Llanbedr. It was such a nostalgic trip , and recreating a photo I have of Granny in 1939 on the 15th green felt quite magical.
My golf wasn’t as magical as I wanted it to be, but it was a day when the actually score was irrelevant, being able to walk in her footsteps was the goal. Doing it with the sun coming out on the last few holes added to the experience and it is definitely something I will be repeating again in the not too distant future.
For now I am very grateful for the likes of my Granny and her sisters to be such sporting pioneers. To have 3 sisters who were so sporty , and especially my Great Aunt Muriel who was quite a trail blazer in women’s cricket and fitness education. I am going to continue to research their lives and who knows maybe one day a book will be written , but for now I am just grateful that I could make this golfing pilgrimage and for the kindness and generosity of the 2 Clubs with their time and help in finding out more history, and for Gill who accompanied me on my journey , it truly was a wonderful weekend.