Frances Wood, lady captain of Purley Downs Golf Club tells us her golfing story:

“I’ve never really played much sport.  I was forced to play hockey and netball at school and I hated it!

So I never thought I would get into golf.  In fact it was only when I joined Purley Downs to play bridge that one of the ladies suggested I tried it out.

So I joined the academy there and started going to some of the group lessons. I loved them immediately.

I was also allocated a mentor. She took me out onto the course when it was quiet and explained the etiquette of the sport.

Two and a half years later I finally managed to scrape a 36 handicap!

It’s amusing to look back on the committee minutes from that time; when I had to be given six months longer to try and get my handicap. It’s mad to think that I’m now lady captain!

I then joined the ladies’ committee before serving as the ladies’ secretary for three years and then as vice captain. I’ve learnt so much about golf as I’ve gone along.

I’m having a great year. Every time I park my car in the lady captain’s parking space I have to smile to myself as I can’t believe I’ve come so far. It’s hard work, but it’s manageable as long as you’re organised. Plus I have a great committee who are incredibly supportive and fun to work with.

I’m also fortunate to have such a hard working men’s captain. We had our drive in together but only one of us got their ball on the green… it was a smug moment for me to say the least.

My biggest worry was my lady captain’s day as I wanted it to be perfect. The members helped me set up the day before but it was still a very busy day.

I was so grateful to everyone for going out in the rain in the afternoon for the greensomes after the morning stableford, it made all the hard work seem worthwhile. During afternoon tea we had a 90th birthday celebration for one of our players and a little presentation and a cake for her. The whole day was magical.

My goal for the year was simply for my ladies to enjoy their golf and have fun. I’m delighted that we’ve also won quite a few external competitions, including the Reigate Heath Windmill Trophy.

My advice to any future lady captains is just to do the job the way you feel it should be done.

Keep notes during your vice captaincy on what you should and shouldn’t do, and don’t get too far ahead of yourself in your planning.

I came to the sport too late in life so I know won’t be remembered as a great golfer.

However, I will always be remembered as the lady captain who paid for the ladies on-course toilet. What an epitaph!”

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