Jeanne Bisgood dead: Renowned 1950s amateur golfer and three-time English Women's Champion dies aged 100

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Jeanne Bisgood, a prominent amateur golfer in the 1950s, has died aged 100

Jeanne Bisgood, a prominent amateur golfer in the 1950s died aged 100 on May 15. She won the English Women's Amateur Championship three times and represented Great Britain and Ireland in the Curtis Cup in 1951, 1953, and 1957. She also won national amateur championships in Sweden (1952), Germany, Italy, Portugal (1954), and Norway (1955).

According to The Telegraph obituary, Bisgood debuted in the Curtis Cup in 1950 at Buffalo Country Club in New York and played a significant role in Great Britain and Ireland's first victory in 1952 at Muirfield, defeating Mae Murray Jones in the singles. Her final appearance as a player was in 1954 at Merion in Pennsylvania. She later captained the team in 1970 but could not end the losing streak, which lasted until 1986.

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Bisgood's English Women’s Amateur Championship wins were at St Anne’s Old Links, Prince’s in Kent, and Queens Park in Dorset, where she lived for much of her life. She is one of only three women who have won this title more than twice. Born on August 11, 1923, in Richmond-upon-Thames, Surrey, Jeanne was the only child of Bertram Bisgood, a stockbroker, and Dorothy (née Cundall), both international badminton players. Her half-brother, Ian Harvey, from her mother's first marriage, became a Conservative MP and junior minister in the 1950s.

Jeanne attended Mayfield School in East Sussex, where she was head girl and captain of the hockey and tennis teams. During World War II, she studied history at Oxford University but left to join the Women's Royal Naval Service in 1942, working as a petty officer on code-deciphering machines. After the war, she trained as a barrister, qualifying in 1948.

Jeanne Bisgood, a prominent amateur golfer in the 1950s, has died aged 100Jeanne Bisgood, a prominent amateur golfer in the 1950s, has died aged 100
Jeanne Bisgood, a prominent amateur golfer in the 1950s, has died aged 100 | Getty Images

Her golf career took off during her teenage years at Royal-Mid Surrey and Parkstone club near Bournemouth under the guidance of Reg Whitcombe. She won the Women's National tournament at Royal Mid-Surrey in 1945 and made her mark in the English Women's Amateur Championship in 1948, reaching the quarter-finals.

Jeanne made her England debut in 1949 and played in the home internationals until 1958, contributing to multiple victories. She also played for Great Britain & Ireland in the Vagliano Trophy in 1949 and 1951. Golfing abroad was appealing to her during the 1950s due to strict currency controls in Britain. Winning international events allowed her to travel more freely.

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She won several national tournaments, including the Women’s National Tournament at Wentworth in 1951, the Roehampton Golf Cup three times from 1951 to 1953, and the Astor Salver at the Berkshire club over the same period. She was also a three-time Surrey champion.

After a brief hiatus, she adopted a croquet-style putting technique to win her last English Amateur title. By the early 1960s, she shifted focus to politics, serving as a Conservative councillor and later on Dorset County Council. She chaired the education committee for a decade and was a magistrate and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Dorset. Jeanne was honuored with a CBE in 1982 and received an honorary doctorate in education from Bournemouth University in 2018.

She managed her family’s charitable foundation and became the first female president of Parkstone golf club from 2000 to 2003. Jeanne remained active in golf well into her 90s, attending the 2016 Curtis Cup in Dublin independently. She attributed her longevity to her strong Catholic faith, stating that she adhered more closely to its rules as she aged.

Jeanne Bisgood did not marry and had no children.

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