Throughout history women have played golf. The earliest players of note were Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII, and Mary Queen of Scots, who was chided by the Elders of the Kirk for playing golf within days of the death of her husband, Lord Darnley.
By the end of the last century, the game of golf was small but well established in Australia and the first official record of women playing the game seriously came with the formation of what is now the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in 1892. A year later the Geelong Golf Club was formed and in 1894 women created history by arranging and contesting the first Championship of Australasia. Women also staged the first Inter-colonial match in 1897 when sides from Sydney and Victoria competed over the Sydney Golf Links in New South Wales.
The woman behind much of Australia’s early competitive golf was Miss Evelyn B. Mackenzie who won the first and three subsequent national championships. A former Victorian tennis champion she was much admired by the sportswriters of the day for her powerful serve and accurate ground strokes. Golf writers of the time also applauded her prowess, but she obviously had trouble with the handicappers for at one stage she was given a plus 9 while competing in an event at Royal Melbourne.On a trip to England in 1897 she discovered the handicapping system used by the Ladies Golf Union and wrote back to her home golf club, Geelong, pointing out the errors of the Australian way. With the increasing popularity of the game in the early part of this century, each state formed its own Ladies Golf Union with the result that Australia is one of the few countries in the world where women’s golfing activities are entirely controlled by women.
>While women had control at the state level, national events were organised by the men’s Australian Golf Union. Just prior to the First World War a former Australian champion, Mabel Trevor Jones (later Lady Halse Rogers) commenced her persistent efforts to form a women’s national organisation along the same lines as the English Ladies Golf Union which had been formed in 1893 by and due to the efforts of the irrepressible Miss Isette Pearson.
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