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Philomena Garvey: Queen of the Irish Fairways

Philomena Garvey: Queen of the Irish Fairways

Paul Garvey

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Philomena ('Phil') Garvey, the slim, fair-haired girl from the small village of Baltray, sadly passed away this year on the doorstep of her beloved County Louth Golf Club. She lived at a time when women didn't occupy any status in sport, let alone golf, yet Phil dominated ladies Irish golf from 1946 to 1970. This journey saw her reach the top of her sport and achieve celebrity status at a time when golf was mainly a male preserve.

Upon her shoulders rested the hopes and aspirations for ladies golf in Ireland for quarter of a century. Henry Cotton described her as 'the finest woman golfer I've ever seen' and aspects of her game were compared to Ben Hogan and Walter Hagen. Renowned abilities of concentration and professionalism took her to fifteen national titles, five Ladies' British Open Amateur finals and representation on the Curtis Cup team - the ultimate accolade for ladies amateur golf - on six occasions. This was all achieved while working at Clerys department store in Dublin.

Her greatest achievement was winning the British Ladies' Open Amateur Championship at Gleneagles in 1957. The following year, as reigning champion, Phil controversially refused to wear the Union Jack as the sole emblem of the Great Britain and Ireland Curtis Cup team. The intransigence of the LGU executive council to accommodate an Irish sportswoman deprived her of a chance to rightfully compete on the world stage.

Thankfully her sacrifice was not in vain for future players, but Phil bore the brunt of their displeasure at the height of her golfing powers. This is her story.

Additional Information

Author Paul Garvey
Publisher Liffey Press
Publication date 15 Dec 2009
Format Paperback
ISBN/EAN 9781905785711

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