History of Womens Golf
Women golfers of the 1890’s were pioneers in golf, specifically Issette Pearson a founding member and first honorary secretary of the Ladies Golf Union, the creator of one of the first equitable handicap systems, enabling women with mixed abilities from different clubs to play together, In 1910, Issettee started the Pearson Trophy, an annual intercounty trophy which is still played today by teams across, Hertfordshire, Kent, Middlesex and Surrey. Counties were selected based on their proximity to London, which made travelling to matches easier as the main mode of transport was by train. The Pearson Trophy is played by teams with WHS Handicap Index 12.5 – 34.4 across each county, with the winners meeting to play a final match play knockout in July each year.
In 1894, Issette met Mabel Stringer the captain of Littlestone Golf Club in Kent, when Issette came to inspect the course in advance of Littlestone hosting the second Womens Amateur Golf Championship in 1894. After their first game, Mabel and Issette became good friends and Mabel became an active member of the Ladies Golf Union.
Below is a paper from Sports Historians, who have given their permission to publish their paper on the origins of women’s golf up to 1914, a fascinating read full of characters and their determination to participate and develop golf for women.