Irish golf legend Philomena Garvey- 'fantastic competitor' - dies at 83
NEWS RELEASE ISSUE BY THE IRISH LADIES GOLF UNION
It is with deep regret that the ILGU has learned of the death of Philomena Garvey (83), Ireland’s most successful female amateur golfer to date and Life Vice-President of the ILGU.
She was Ireland’s greatest golfing legend, winning 15 Irish close championships from 1946 through 1970 and boasting never to have lost an Irish close final.
She reached the final of the British Ladies Amateur Championship five times, beating Jessie Valentine for her only victory at Gleneagles in 1957. She represented her country at Home Internationals from 1947 through to 1969, played in six Curtis Cup matches between 1948 and 1960 and also played her part on winning Vagliano Teams.
A fine and powerful striker of the ball with both woods and irons, she was one of the few class women golfers of her time to use the inter-lock grip. In 1951, she was selected as part of a six-person European team to compete for the Weathervane international trophy against a U.S. professional side at Sunningdale during which Babe Zaharias narrowly defeated her.In 1964, she became Ireland’s first female golf professional and as a sweet swan song to her golfing career, in 1970 at Royal Portrush she won her fifteenth Irish title after her re-instatement to amateur ranks.
She won many domestic titles, including six Leinster and two Munster titles.
What adds to her legendary status was her refusal to wear the Union Jack as the team emblem in the 1958 Curtis Cup matches and offered to her previous badge with the four country emblems. Her position was supported by team captain Daisy Ferguson (Royal Co.Down) and the ILGU but an LGU emergency meeting decided to keep the Union Jack emblem and so Philomena declined to play - the Curtis Cup team badge was altered thereafter.
In the LGU’s History, “One Hundred years of Women’s Golf”, Lewine Mair wrote “perhaps the strongest club in her bag was a concentration so intense that she would not even be aware of low-flying aircraft”.
ILGU Chief Executive Sinead Heraty commented: “Philomena was a fantastic competitor whose magnificent golf record has left a marvellous legacy in our sport. A very gifted player, she raised Irish women’s golf to a new level and inspired many talented players to achieve their potential. Her contribution to the game was immeasurable.”
A native of Baltray in Co. Louth, she will be fondly remembered by the golfing public as one of the number of post-war players of distinction who have rightfully carved a niche in the history of the game.
Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis.ACHIEVEMENTS:Ladies Irish Close Champion
1946, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1970Leitrim Cup
1951, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1962, 1969Ladies British Amateur Open Champion
1957Curtis Cup Team
1948, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1956, 1960Vagliano Trophy Team
1959, 1963Ladies Home International Team
1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954 (Captain), 1956, 1957 (Captain), 1958, 1959 (Captain), 1960 (Captain), 1961, 1962, 1963, 1969Senior Cup Champions (Co. Louth)
1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1953, 1962