To celebrate #InternationalWomensDay, Manors golf recognises one of the most important women to ever pick up a club – Patty Berg (1918-2006). Nicknamed Dynamite by one of her sponsors; she was, and still remains, a key part of golf’s heritage and the ever growing success of the women’s game.
A self-proclaimed tomboy, Patty picked up American Football when she was young; you guess it – she played quarterback. But the sport’s physicality worried her parents and they persuaded her to take up Golf aged 13. It took only three years before she was winning championships and in 1935 there was a media frenzy when the 17 year old narrowly missed out on victory in the final round. Nevertheless – a protege was born and it was the start of a special career.
With her career in full swing – Patty was involved in a car crash whilst attending a sponsor event – suffering a serious injury to her knee. Doctors were sure it would mean the end of her career but against all the odds, Patty recovered and returned to the game she loved.
Patty dedicated much of her career to teaching and hosting golf clinics but by time she was back to playing golf, war had broken out. During this time she would entertain servicemen with her skills – and was even commissioned a second lieutenant where she served as a reserve Marine for over three years. In addition to this, she claims to have taught over 16,000 clinics. If accurate, it means her dedication played a part in inducting hundreds of thousands of golfers into the game.
A key part of her legacy will be around her involvement in establishing and growing the women’s professional game. In 1948 she was part of the team behind the LPGA and the Women’s Professional Golf Association. When the LPGA was officially started in 1950, Berg was one of the 13 founding members which also involved being part of the leadership team – securing a role as the association’s first president.
Patty went on to win 60 tournaments and 15 major titles – which is still a women’s record. Her success saw her inducted into the Golf Hall of Fame and there is even an award named in her honour. Patty Berg was a true legend of our game and today we celebrate her legacy.
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