Blackwell Ladies History
Some of Blackwell’s finest lady golfers through the ages have been notable competitors at county and national level.
Initially the backbone of the Club included Mrs A Holcroft, Hope Allesbrook, Beatrice Charles and the four Smith sisters – Ida, Nancy, Doris and Hilda – all of whom competed at county level. Frank Smith, who was a founder member of the Club and father to the Smith girls, presented a trophy in 1929 for a ladies scratch knockout. This is still played for today.
However it was during the inter-war years that Blackwell achieved ‘golden’ successes outside the Club. These included the Midland Counties Foursome Championship in 1931 and 1935 and the county team championship six times between 1928 and 1939. There were some remarkable lady golfers at that time; in particular Dorothy Bigwood, Audrey Challen, Madeleine Fyshe, Mary Peppercorn, Maggie Martyn-Smith and Miss E J Smith (no relation to the above sisters).
After the Second World War the Club won the Midland Ladies’ Team Championship in 1947 at Little Aston and in 1977 at Stratford-upon-Avon. Blackwell was also Worcestershire team champion five times between 1948 and 1977.
Other more recent achievements have included County Champions Anne Cawsey (1959), Joan Odell (1963) and Sue Crowcroft (1974) who turned professional in 1980; Elsie Allen was President of Worcestershire County and Worcestershire County Vets; Jean Stevenson and Fiona Lunt both past County Captains – the latter was also County Veterans Champion in 2000/1.
Of all the lady golfers it is perhaps Madeleine Fyshe who best deserves further mention.
She was a finalist in the English Ladies Championship at St Enodoc in 1937 and she played for England in the home internationals the following year. She was Worcestershire Champion in 1952 and 1954 and runner up in the Midlands Counties Ladies’ Championships in in 1953 and 1956.
She started the Midlands branch of the Ladies Veterans Association in 1950 with her friend and fellow Blackwell member Dorothy ‘Dos’ Smedley-Crook. She was President of the Ladies Club from 1966-69 and also President of the Worcestershire Lady County Golfers Association (WLCGA) from 1977-79.
She played remarkably good golf almost up to the day she died at the age of 81 (even in her later years she played off a handicap of 6!). Her course record remains unbroken. She gave a Cup to the Club for match play which preserves her memory.