Trentham Golf Club

Trentham Ladies Club

Ladies playing golf in the 1890s were a challenge to convention. "Constitutionally and physically women are unfitted for golf', wrote one leading male amateur in 1893. "A damsel with even one modest putter in her hand was labelled a fast and almost disreputable person", mused a female commentator. The fact that the Club at Trentham had ladies in from the beginning is significant, therefore, and it is another reason why there is thought to have been the close connection with the unconventional Duchess Millicent. Apart from the acknowledgement that Miss Pigott was the ladies' secretary in 1896, and the names of a few women who paid subscriptions in their own right 1899-1906 little is known about the activities of the ladies in the earliest days. From 1906 to 1914, Ladies' Golf Union Handbooks listed by name numerous players with handicaps, and some without, and reported those on the Ladies' Committee. In 1906, for example thirty five names were listed, fifteen without handicaps and two - the Misses Meakin from Darlaston Hall, Stone - with single figures.

In total they grew from 35 to 50 and their stayed at that figure so that, before 1914, this almost looks like a ceiling. Their monthly medal day changed every year, and they had only interclub matches recorded in the Ladies' Golf Union Handbook for 1906 Someone carefully copied into a Match Register in 1922, however, teams and results from nine interclub games for the three years 1898 to 1900. These included games at Cannock, South Staffordshire and Nottinghamshire Clubs, and prominent in the lists of players were Mrs Guy Knight and Miss Knight. The gap in the register is not proof that such events were not held, but there must be a strong suspicion that these friendly games were very intermittent.

One or other of the Misses Llewellyn of Seabridge succeeded Miss Pigott as Secretary before 1906 and the entrance fee and annual subscription had both by then been raised to one guinea [£1.05]. The ladies' principal annual competition was for the Stipendiary Cup, given in unknown circumstances in 1902 and won on four occasions, starting in 1906, by Miss Llewellyn and in 1911 by Miss Hatton. The ladies were overwhelmingly either wives or daughters of men members to judge from their, names, which made the two Llewellyn sisters somewhat exceptional.

The degree of enthusiasm engendered by ladies for golf as a game as distinct from feeling a need to share someone else's pastime, is impossible to judge. The Club did host the Ladies' County Championship meeting in 1908, the second such competition. Results are not known, but the very existence of the event points to a competitive spirit among some ladies at least. This was sufficiently strong to carry the Club into Midland Counties competitions - the team in the 1911 Championship was Miss H Clive, Mrs Clive and Miss Llewellyn. They played the Arden Club. In early reports of inter-county games, Miss Llewellyn stands out as the dominant Trentham player for Staffordshire, although she did not have an unblemished record. In 1912 she played against Surrey, Cheshire and Devonshire and lost all three. However, her selection for the county suggests that Trentham teams regularly entered the county championship, though without ever winning it.

FINE GOLFING AND OUTSTANDING HOSPITALITY






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