History of the New Hampshire Women’s Golf Association

August 8, 1948 issue of the New Hampshire Sunday News
New Hampshire Women’s Golf Association Marks Silver Anniversary This Year

MANCHESTER, August 7 – A quarter of a century of golfing activities for women in the Granite State will be climaxed on Tuesday when the annual New Hampshire State Golf championship tournament opens at Nashua Country Club.

It was back in 1923 that the women members of the Cochecho Country Club in Dover invited women from clubs in other parts of New Hampshire to a tournament. “We were entertained royally,” reminisces Mrs. A. B. Jenks, who still can be seen out on the links of the Manchester Country Club every day, “and decided to form the New Hampshire Women’s Golf association” which is sponsoring the State tournament this coming week.

Founders: Primary inspiration for the association had come from a prominent member of the Dover club, Mrs. Joseph Sheppard. She served as the first president of the group. Among the charter members were Mrs. Philip Lockwood of Manchester, the late Mrs. William Speare of Manchester, Mrs. Erlon Neal of Rochester, Mrs. John Childs of Manchester, and Mrs. Robert Chalmers of Tilton. With the help of Richard McDonough, secretary-treasurer of the New Hampshire Golf Association, the women organized weekly tournaments throughout the State and a championship tourney once a year. The women’s golfing groups at the Dover, Franklin, Intervale, Exeter, Nashua, Concord, and Rochester clubs joined immediately and through the years, the Keene, Manchester Country club, Concord Country, Newport, Laconia, and Derryfield clubs also became members of the association. It is hoped that next year Berlin may be added to the list.

Gets Trophy: Mrs. Sheppard during her term in office convinced E. A. Rollins, prominent Dover banker, to donate a trophy to the association which was retired several years later by Miss Helen Coffey of Nashua who won five straight tournaments.

After the death of Mrs. Sheppard, her husband presented a trophy in her memory which becomes the possession of the second division winner for a year.

In 1930, the association decided to go it alone and broke its connection with the State golf association. Their yearly series of golfing meets at members’ courses and annual tournaments continued until the war years, when all activities were suspended because of gasoline rationing and the women’s work in civilian defense and allied war services.

Coming back stronger than ever, the association today reflects the nation-wide upsurge of interest in the sport among women. An average of 50 women turn out each week for the tournaments. The 1948 season will continue through September 28 with contests scheduled August 24 at the Derryfield Country club in Manchester, a mixed foursome on August 20 at Keene, August 31 at Dover, September 7 at Newport, a mixed foursome at Manchester on September 12, and September 14 at Laconia.

Prizes: Golf balls are awarded as prizes to the high scorers after each of the 18 hole sessions. The members also accumulate points based on their rating each week and at the annual meeting and the election of officers, to be held at Manchester Country club on August 28, the ten highest scorers in the association will be awarded prizes. The club, whose members accumulate the most points, also will receive a trophy which it keeps for the coming year.

But the association means a great deal more to its members that their weekly round of golfing. “We wouldn’t have to travel all over the state for that,” Miss Gertrude Gadbois, 1947 State champion, explains. “We look on our weekly get-togethers as real social occasions, when we see our friends from all over and make new friends.” When the members went up to Keene last month, Mrs. Howard Peart, the secretary-treasurer of the association, entertained at the buffet supper following the golfing meet and a swimming party which she arranged. On September 14, the members are looking forward to an outing at the Camp of Mrs. Tilly Small on Governor’s Island after their 18 hole round.

The contention that golf brings all people together is well brought out in the association’s roster. School teachers, working girls, housewives, mothers and grandmothers join in the Tuesday tournaments. Novices at the game join with women who have been playing for decades but each contestant is handicapped according to her average score, so that everyone has a chance to win.

The members take their games very seriously and though they look forward to socializing once they complete the 18 holes, it’s strictly business with them while they’re on the course.

Social Activities: Of course, the tension will be even greater during the state tournament this week. Unlike the weekly contests, it is open to any women golfer in the State whether her club belongs to the association or not.

The women have also planned a number of social activities for the tournament week. A cocktail party will be held on Tuesday evening after the qualifying round and a buffet supper and informal dance will be held at the Nashua clubhouse after the mixed foursomes match on Wednesday.

Friday evening the State Champion will be honored at the party which will also see the presentation of prizes to the winners in all divisions. Mrs. Ann O’Brien of Keene, State president, Mrs. Nemo Peart, Mrs. Lovina Anders of Nashua, Miss Jean Labombarde of Nashua, and Miss Connie Garvin, Miss Carol Crafts and Mrs. Polly Merritt are members of the tournament committee. Mrs. Anders is handling all the social arrangements.

Handicaps and rules for the State tournament and the weekly meets are being handled this year by Marian Morse of Manchester, Margaret Schmidt of Keene and Mrs. Crafts. Marion Finnegan of Manchester, Mrs. Small and Mrs. Anders are members of the publicity committee.

Other officers and executive board members of the association include Sigred Pritchard of Portsmouth, first vice-president; Mrs. Harold O’Neil of Concord, second vice-president; Louise Kelly of Newport, Priscilla Hammond of Concord, Shirley Johnson of Portsmouth, Polly MacMichael of Tilton, Anna Morrill of Concord and Hannah Chadbourne of Dover.