Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dorothy Campbell, North
Berwick's first famous
golfing daughter
Until Catriona (Lambert) Matthew came along in the last two decades, there was no doubt that North Berwick’s most famous golfing daughter was Dorothy Campbell (1883-1945), winner of 11 major amateur championships in her lifetime, 10 of them between 1905 and 1912 and six of them in the United States and Canada.
She was the first British-born player to win the United States women’s amateur championship and also the first to achieve the coveted double of the British and American titles in the same year, 1909, when the venues were Royal Birkdale and Merion. In all she won the American title three times, her third triumph coming in 1924, 14 years after the second, and the British women’s title twice, in a three-year span.
A short but very straight hitter with an unorthodox hooker's grip, she had a short-game that was out of this world.
Dorothy was the first truly international women’s golf star. She achieved more in her amateur career than did Catriona Matthew – which takes some doing – but, of course, Dorothy played all her golf as an amateur.
Had there been a Ladies European Tour or LPGA Tour in the States in the first half of the 20th Century, I like to think that a player of Dorothy Campbell’s golfing talent and competitive nature, would also have made a successful transfer to the professional ranks. Who knows what she would have achieved in those circumstances.
One of the minor problems researching Dorothy Campbell’s life is that she was married twice and divorced twice so from Miss Campbell she became Mrs J V Hurd, then later Mrs Edward Howe.
Dorothy Iona Campbell was born at 1 Carlton Terrace, Edinburgh on March 24, 1883. Her parents were William Campbell, a metal merchant, and Emily Mary Campbell. Dorothy had six sisters and two brothers – all of whom played golf at a time when the game was not as popular as it is now.
By all accounts, Dorothy swung her first toy club when she was just 18 months, shades of Tiger Woods.
Her father died in 1899 when she was 16 and by 1904, Dorothy was living with her mother at Inchgarry House, Links Road, North Berwick where the Campbell family had enjoyed a number of summer holidays.
In 1896, Dorothy, age 13, joined North Berwick Ladies Golf Club and soon reduced her handicap of nine. She had no problem holding her own against the adult members. She was a pupil of famed golf professional Ben Sayers and learned to play the game over the North Berwick West Links.
Miss Campbell became the outstanding woman player in Scotland, reaching five Scottish Ladies’ (Close) Championship finals in a row from 1905 to 1909 inclusive, winning three of them in 1905-06-08.
The Scottish championship had only been instituted in 1903 (Alexa Glover beat Dorothy Campbell 3 and 2 in the semi-finals over the Old Course, St Andrews on her way to becoming the first title-holder) and the Scottish Ladies Golfing Association, founded in 1904, organised the national tournament for the first time in 1905 when North Berwick was the venue.
It was too good an opportunity for Dorothy Campbell to miss and she won the title over her home links, beating Molly Graham at the 19th in the final.
Dorothy, it should be said, was no stranger to the big occasion. Two weeks before the “Scottish” at North Berwick, she had made her debut in the British women’s open amateur championship at Royal Cromer and reached the last four and at the same venue, either immediately before or after the “British,” she appeared for a winning team playing under the England banner against the United States in a forerunner of the Curtis Cup match.
In the 1906 Scottish championship at Cruden Bay, Miss Campbell defended her title successfully, avenging that 1903 semi-finals defeat by Alexa Glover whom she beat by 3 and 1 in the final.
In 1907 Dorothy was pipped in her bid to complete a hat-trick of Scottish title wins. The final at Royal Troon went to the 21st hole before Miss F C Teacher took Miss Campbell’s measure on the day.
Dorothy bounced back to win her third and last Scottish title in 1908 at Gullane, where she beat Miss M Cairns 7 and 6 and she disappeared off the championship’s roll of honour after losing by 3 and 1 to Miss E Kyle in the 1909 final at Machrihanish.
In the British championship at Birkdale in 1909, Miss Campbell forgot to report the result of her third-round match (she had won on the 11th green) to the LGU officials who met to discuss whether this rendered her subject to disqualification.
Dorothy was allowed to continue in the championship which she won, beating Ireland’s Miss Florence Hezlet 4 and 3. That victory earned her an invitation to play in America and changed the course of her life. Subsequently, she returned to Britain only as a visitor.
By 1910 Dorothy Campbell was living in Canada and that year she pulled off a remarkable North American double, winning both the United States and Canadian women’s open championships.
She moved to the United States in 1913 when she married Jack V Hurd, a steel magnate, living in Pittsburg and a member of Oakmont Country Club.
The following year she re-crossed the Atlantic to win the British title for a second time, beating in the final at Royal Portrush Violet Hezlet whose sister Florence, Dorothy had beaten in the 1909 final of the tournament.
After giving birth to a son, Sigourney, Dorothy, by now an American citizen, went into semi-retirement from golf. But she made a comeback in a major championship, the 1920 United States women’s championship – and did astonishingly well. She reached the final before going down to Alexa Stirling.
Dorothy had won all her previous titles with a sweeping swing ..“square to square with a shut clubface” … in which she held the club two-handed in the palms of her hands, the wrists stiff and a hooker’s right thumb which was almost under the club. A classic example of “It’s not how, it’s how many!”
Mabel Stringer wrote of her short-game prowess: “Dorothy’s best stroke was a run-up shot that she used from distances of up to 50 feet. She used her goose-neck mashie, closing the small clubface and hitting the ball on the downswing. At Augusta Country Club in 1926, she holed two chip shots and ended up having a record low of 19 putts for 18 holes, lowering Walter Travis’s record by two strokes for putts in one round. In the final of the (US) North and South championship, she beat her opponent by twice holing out from 40 yards.”
At the height of her fame, one Mabel S Hoskins, writing in “Golf for Women,” said:
“Had Mrs Hurd (Dorothy Campbell) lengthened her swing, there is the bare possibility that she could have added distance but, with that short backwing and not exaggerated follow through, she kept the ball near to the middle of the course, far from trouble.”
But Dorothy realised in her 30s, that as she and her muscles aged, she had to adopt a more orthodox technique. George Sayers, son of her original swing coach, Ben, was by now professional at Merion Golf Club, Philadelphia and it was he who gave Dorothy the conventional Harry Vardon overlapping grip and changed her swing.

She sacrificed one whole golf season to work on her new grip and swing until it became second nature to her. It was to pay a last major dividend.
As her marriage to Jack Hurd came to an end – they were divorced in 1921, Dorothy began to compete once more and with considerable success.
Dorothy once calculated that she had won between 700 and 800 prizes in her golfing career, and we are not talking about monthly medals.
By now 41, Dorothy made her last championship appearance anywhere in 1924. It was in the US women’s amateur championship and she entered from Merion Cricket Club. Dorothy beat Mary K Browne, a former American singles tennis champion, in the final. Browne, in the semi-finals, had upset the hot title favourite, Glenna Collett, the 1922 champion and now playing over her home course, at Rhode Island Country Club.
As Rhonda Glenn summed up the final … “while Browne was a long hitter, she couldn’t upset the veteran with the hot putter.”
Dorothy virtually retired from competitive golf after that but she had such a good eye for the game and she never seemed to lose her rhythm and timing. She was persuaded to “come home” and play for Scotland in the women’s home internationals of 1928 – 17 years after her last appearance.
In story-book style, Dorothy won all three of her singles ties, including a memorable win over England’s Cecil Leitch at the 20th (it would have been a halved match nowadays). Cecil, in her vintage years, won the British title four times and lost twice in the final. Cecil also won the English closed title twice and lost in the final once.
By then aged 47, Dorothy came back again to play for Scotland in the 1930 home internationals. Dorothy’s new swing enabled her to continue playing competitively through the 1930s – and she won the United States seniors women’s title at the age of 54-55 in 1938
In 1936, Dorothy married Edward L Howes, chairman of the Princeton, New Jersey Bank and Trust Company. She was to divorce her second husband in 1943.
Apart from being a very accomplished golfer, Dorothy Campbell could have made a living as a professional writer. Ghost writing was not for her. She penned highly readable golf columns for such publications as The Golfer, and others for national circulation. She was one talented lady.
As Liz Pook writes: "In her twilight golfing years, she was a frequent visitor to many a tournament and a guest of the famous. Indeed she is mentioned with the greatest respect and admiration no fewer than 15 times within Glenna Collett’s “Ladies in the Rough.”
All good things come to an end and for Dorothy Campbell the end came in tragic circumstances when she was only 61.
On March 20, 1945 – four days before her 62nd birthday - she was visiting friends at Beaufort, South Carolina when she fell from the railway station platform in front of a train at the very small town of Yemassee (population in 2000 was only 807).

The mystery is why Dorothy fell from the platform. It is hardly likely it was as busy as a London Tube station and she had got too close to the front of the throng. There was no indication in the newspapers of the day that Dorothy had been taken ill and fainted on to the track. We shall never know now.
She had just bought a ticket for the New York-bound train that would take her to the home of her daughter-in-law, Mrs Sigourney V Hurd of Plainsville, New York. Sigourney, her only child, was away serving his country in the Philippines in World War II.
Dorothy’s name was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1978.
Liz Pook sums up Dorothy’s career thus:
“There is no disputing the fact that Dorothy Campbell remains one of the finest lady golf champions of all time and certainly in contention as the best chip-and-run player that the British Isles has ever produced. And to think that her long and fascinating journey began with a little sixpenny club purchased in a toy shop in the High Street in North Berwick.”

Acknowledgements: Douglas Seaton (North Berwick Hall of Fame researcher & author), Liz Pook, Women Golfers’ Museum.

British ladies amateur champion: 1909 & 1911. Beaten finalist: 1908. Semi-finalist: 1904, 1905, 1906
United States ladies amateur champion: 1909, 1910, 1924. Beaten finalist: 1920. Semi-finalist: 1911.

United States senior ladies amateur champion: 1938.
Scottish ladies amateur champion: 1905, 1906, 1908. Beaten finalist: 1907, 1909.
Canadian ladies amateur champion: 1910, 1911, 1912.
Western Pennsylvania ladies amateur champion: 1914, 1915, 1916.
US North & South ladies amateur champion: 1918, 1920, 1921.
Boston District ladies champion: 1922.
Florida West Coast champion: 1923 & 1925.
Philadelphia ladies amateur champion: 1925, 1926, 1927, 1929 1931, 1934.
Bermuda ladies amateur champion: 1931 & 19034.
Pennsylvania State ladies champion: 1934.
Women’s Home Internationals: Scotland – up to 1909, and again in 1911, 1928 & 1930.
Representative matches: England/Great Britain v United States: 1905 & 1909.

Any comments? E-mail them to Colin@scottishgolfview.com


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dorothy Campbell, North Berwick's

first lady superstar

Until Catriona (Lambert) Matthew came along, North Berwick's most famous golfing daughter was Dorothy Campbell, writes Colin Farquharson.
Scottish titles, British titles, American titles, Canadian titles: 14 of them in all ... Dorothy was the first truly international lady amateur golf star.
Her long and so successful golfing career was over by then but she still died tragically in an unexplained railway accident in the Unites States in March 1945 when she was in her 60s.
Kirkwoodgolf will be recalling the life and times of Dorothy Campbell in the coming week.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Georgina and Willie Campbell, husband and wife golf "team" from Musselburgh, pictured after they emigrated to the United States.

Georgina and Willie Campbell from Musselburgh

were golfing trail-blazers in United States

By Jim McCabe, Globe Staff
Hickory is but a memory lost beneath decades of dust. So, too, the beloved gutta-perchas that took shape within her skilful hands. The sheep? They no longer graze the rolling terrain to keep playable the grass for the avid golfers.But the spirit?
Now that is something Georgina Campbell would recognise if she were to stand on the first tee and personally welcome her golfing ancestors to Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy (in the United States).
Campbell envisioned a day when public golf would be what it has become; more passionately, she believed the game was good for women and women were good for the game.
The BJ's Charity Championship has proven her correct, and this Women's Senior Golf Tour event and its $400,000 purse would make Campbell proud. Legends of the LPGA Tour -- from Kathy Whitworth and Sandra Haynie, to Pat Bradley and Patty Sheehan, to Amy Alcott and Jan Stephenson, to Jane Blalock and Sandra Palmer -- will display for three days starting tomorrow the talents that have aged gracefully and the dignities that have remained unspoiled.
In competition they will be walking the velvet green fairways of a brilliant modern golf course; in truth, they will be following a trail that was blazed more than 100 years ago right here in Boston by ''the first lady of American golf."
History is our most precious commodity and it sits like a buried treasure until someone with a passion unearths it. So it is that we thank an unassuming gentleman from Jamaica Plain, Brian DeLacey, and a proud grandson from New Hampshire, Bob Lamprey, for shedding light on the grand story that centers around Willie and Georgina Campbell.
The game of golf has taken many twists and turns and various roads to ultra riches since the couple emigrated from their native Scotland, and while it would be wrong to give this husband-wife team from Musselburgh full credit for inventing golf in the United States, they most certainly deserve some recognition.
Through DeLacey's research, we have learned that Willie Campbell earns praise for perhaps being the golf professional who was the true catalyst for public golf in the new world. A renowned match-play competitor who learned the game under the tutelage of three-time British Open champion Bob Ferguson, Campbell was lured to the United States in 1894 by influential members of The Country Club in Brookline.
The salary of $300 a year too good to turn down. He left his young wife, Georgina Stewart Campbell, and daughter, Mary, in Musselburgh while he embarked upon a trip that would eventually be copied by many of his fellow Scottish golf pros.
Assigned the task of building a golf course at The Country Club, Campbell achieved so much more.
''He believed that if golf were to be successful in the United States, it had to go to the people," said Lamprey, Mary's son and grandson of Willie and Georgina. ''That became his mission, and he succeeded."
DeLacey's interest in the history of Franklin Park Golf Course led him to Campbell, which in turn led him to Lamprey, and together they have brought forth the story of a couple who were years ahead of their time.
Indeed, the Willie Campbell tale is intriguing, from his duties at TCC, Essex County Club, and the Myopia Hunt Club, to his competitive exploits (he was sixth out of 11 entrants in the first US Open, in 1895), to his becoming the first greenskeeper and head pro when Franklin Park opened in 1896, to his death at age 38 in 1900.
''As best we can tell, it was cancer," said DeLacey, whose painstaking research offers plenty of evidence to support the notion that Willie Campbell was the first great club professional in the United States. He not only played it well, he loved to teach, and he also served as club-maker, ball-maker, and greenkeeper.
But in his void, it didn't take long for there to be a second great club professional. That's because Georgina Campbell took over from her husband.
Consider the year, 1900, and how it was well before women had achieved the right to vote and decades before political fights such as the Equal Rights Amendment or social causes such as women's liberation. Georgina Campbell herself, in a 1927 article in the Boston Post, one of the gems uncovered by DeLacey, conceded how far things had come for women in golf.
Recalling that in her early years in Scotland it had been considered bad taste for women to take a full swing with a golf club, ''now you can't get anywhere in the game unless you do."
So imagine the joy Georgina Campbell would have felt regarding the growth of the LPGA Tour, which began more than 50 years ago. It wasn't always so successful, but thanks to the determination of many of the women who'll be at Granite Links, the LPGA Tour is the oldest women's professional sports league.
Blalock, for one, has come to appreciate Georgina Campbell's role.
''To think what she accomplished in the era that she did it," said Blalock, who won 27 tournaments in her LPGA Tour career and is the guiding force behind the WSGT. ''She should be a hero to a lot of us."
Georgina had been involved in the golf business back in Scotland, but it wasn't until Willie called upon her to follow him to America, two years after he had arrived, that it became her passion, too. By then, Willie Campbell had left behind his duties at TCC, Essex, and Myopia to settle into his commitment at Franklin Park. Willie and Georgina lived in Dorchester, but they spent most of their time at the golf course, often working from 6 a.m. to sunset. After his death, she continued such a trend.
There was very little competition for women golfers at that time, though DeLacey's research seems to indicate that Georgina Campbell would score in the low 40s for the nine holes at Franklin Park, two of them being par 5s that stretched more than 500 yards.
She made clubs, made balls, ran the golf club, but, even more than her husband, she taught the game. From 1900-09 Georgina was the club professional, then she served as club matron from 1909 to 1926, when she retired at age 62.
During her days at Franklin Park, Campbell continued her husband's legacy -- teaching the game to all who wanted a part of it, so many of them women.
''It is not necessary to make any great effort when using the golf clubs," Georgina Campbell once explained when asked why so many women could play it. ''Hence, it is a grand exercise with the exact amount of effort used which suits the golfer's physique."
Georgina settled in Moultonboro, New Hampshire, and there are plans to turn that family home into a museum -- not specifically as a testament to her golf career, but more as a tribute to her life in the game and to celebrate that small, but proud town near Lake Winnipesaukee.
Though she never played the game passionately after settling in New Hampshire, Georgina remained a source of great joy, her storytelling bringing much pleasure to her grandson, Bob Lamprey.
''Her prophecy was her husband's prophecy," said Lamprey, who has made it his life's quest to research and study everything he can about his grandparents, even to the point of visiting ancestors in Scotland a few years ago.
''She believed passionately in bringing golf to the people, just like Willie."
Georgina Campbell lived a quiet, but fruitful life in New Hampshire before her death in 1953, which was three years after the LPGA Tour had been founded. Her grandson doesn't have any doubt that Georgina would be proud to be connected to the growth of golf in some small way.
''I have always been considered the first teacher in America and my friends consider me so, until real proof is offered that another preceded me," Georgina Campbell said in that 1927 article.
No substantial proof has ever appeared to dispute her claim, and the LPGA Tour legends who'll be taking part in this weekend's BJ's Charity Championship would perhaps echo the words that Georgina Campbell spoke nearly 80 years ago.
''I could play the game forever," she said. ''It keeps the physical system in excellent state, brightens the cheeks, gives luster to the eyes, invigorates the lungs, and also stimulates the mental qualities."
Spoken like a true ambassador.

A professional golf match was played today at St Andrews between Tom Morris, St Andrews, and Wm. Campbell, Musselburgh. Two previous matches resulted in each player winning a match. Campbell played a good long game in the decider, and stood one up at the turn. At the end of the first round he was two up. The scores were: Campbell. 90; Morris, 92. In the second round Morris had the better of the play, and pulled one hole off Campbell. Morris squared the match at the second last hole, but Campbell won the last hole and the match.

Regret will be felt in golfing circles generally at the announcement of the death of Willie Campbell, which took place on Sunday at Dor­chester, Maryland, USA. A native of Musselburgh, Willie for a time occupied a foremost place among Scottish professionals and, for that matter, among English players also.
Like several other well-known professional golfers, Willie in vain strove for Championship honours. But though those were denied to him, he made for himself a great name as a match player.
To see Willie at his best was to see him engaged in a match for a big money stake, playing be­fore a large crowd of spectators. Then he was in his very element. He was a most interesting golfer to watch, because he played a bold, dashing game, characterised often by great brilliancy of execution.
His very style - the marked rapidity of his swing, and the exceptionally fine work which he performed with the mashie - had in itself an attraction for the onlookers. Like Bob Ferguson, under whom he learned the game, Willie, when at his best, some ten or eleven years ago, was a really great match player. He was always eager for the fray, and so conspicuously successful was his record that he experienced no difficulty in those days in finding "backers."
Among the many important games in which Campbell took part was one over four greens against Archie Simpson , then of Carnoustie, in which he displayed magnificent form. and gained a decisive victory.
Willie excelled in all parts of the game. He was a powerful driver; and through the green when he had the ill-luck to get a bad lie, he played a very effective forcing stroke. It was, however, in the approach game that. he most excelled, for he used the mashie in truly masterly style. On the putting greens he was again very deadly, and he had a way. of running down long puts, which was very discon­certing to an opponent.
About six years ago he went out to America where he was first engaged in connection with the Boston Club.


Monday, December 10, 2007

The way we were ... May 1950

Aberdeenshire's team pictured on May 16, 1950 at Carnoustie during or prior to a county match against Angus.
Colin Farquharson writes: The picture was given to me by the late Charlotte Lyon (Aberdeen Ladies), pictured on the extreme left of the front row. She had written the following names on the back of the black and white photograph:
Back Row: Stella West, J Davidson, J Sellar.
Front Row: C Lyon, Ted Stephen, Betty Davidson, Jan Williams, Daisy Kennaway.

Does the picture bring back memories for any viewers of www.kirkwoodgolf.co.uk?
It would be nice if you could share them with us. E-mail colin@scottishgolfview.com