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. Phil dominated ladies' golf in Ireland from 1946 to 1970, achieving celebrity status at a time when golf was mainly a male preserve.
Phil's golfing odyssey saw her compete against legendary golfers in some of the most dramatic matches ever witnessed in ladies' golf. Her greatest achievement was winning the British Ladies' Amateur Championship at Gleneagles against the legendary Jessie Valentine 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 Ladies' Golfing Union executive council to accommodate an Irish sports-woman deprived her of a chance to compete on the world stage.
Henry Cotton described her as "the finest woman golfer I've ever seen" and aspects of her game were compared to Ben Hogan, Walter Hagen and Joyce Wethered. Renowned abilities of concentration and determination took her to fifteen national titles, five British Ladies' Amateur Championship finals and representation on the Curtis Cup team - the ultimate accolade for ladies' amateur golf - on six occasions. This was all achieved while working in Clerys department store in Dublin.
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Table of Contents
Introduction-A Ghost of Golfers Past 1
1 Philomena the Great 7
2 The Garveys of Baltray 16
3 Irish Ladies' Close Golf Championships 24
4 Senior Cup and Provincial Titles 63
5 A Mixed Bag 69
6 The Curtis Cup 76
7 A Badge of Honour 99
8 The Ladies' British Open Amateur Championship 109
9 Gleneagles - The Road to Victory 155
10 Fortress America 165
11 The Miller's Daughter 171
12 Vagliano, Lacoste et les Femmes de Golf 192
13 The Babe 200
14 The Shotmaster 205
15 Proette - Big Time or Purgatory" 221
16 Morior Invictus ("To Die Unconquered") 232
Epilogue-Death of a Golfing Legend 244