Cheshire’s Ruth Whitehead, who has played a prominent role in unifying men’s and women’s golf, has been recognised for her outstanding contribution to the amateur game with England Golf’s Gerald Micklem Award.
Ruth is the first woman to receive the award which was presented by England Golf’s outgoing President, Marian Rae, at the organisation’s annual meeting last week.
Ruth was a key figure in national women’s golf for many years and was closely involved with the merger of the English Golf Union and the English Women’s Golf Association (EWGA) which created England Golf.
She has been a member at Delamere Forest Golf Club for almost 40 years, becoming its first woman director and is now is its first female chairman.
Alongside Ruth’s club and national roles she has been a staunch supporter of her county, both as a player and an official, most recently as President in 2015/16.
Ruth’s motivation has always been her pleasure in the game and she said of her award: “I’m overwhelmed, this is absolutely unbelievable. I have had such fun and enjoyment from golf, I’ve worked with wonderful people and made lovely friends. You don’t think of getting honours, you do it because you love the game.”
Ruth started golf as a 14-year-old at Sandbach, Cheshire, and, during a membership which spanned 45 years, she was ladies’ captain in the club’s golden jubilee celebrations. She was also a member at a third Cheshire club, Sandiway, for more than 35 years and has been ladies’ captain at Royal St David’s, Harlech.
Ruth’s active involvement with county, regional and national golf flourished when she retired as deputy head teacher of a large, successful comprehensive school in Nantwich.
After joining the executive of the former English Ladies’ Golf Association she helped to modernise the organisation and transform it into EWGA. Ruth was the first chairman of the new operational board, looking after the association’s golfing activities.
She was always hands-on, as busy on the course as in the committee room. Ruth ran many championships – with a particular soft spot for the English U13 and U15 girls – and officiated as an R&A-qualified referee.
As a player, Ruth held a single figure handicap for over 40 years and still plays off 11. She was a Cheshire county player and was county senior champion in 1999. She has been county captain, senior captain and the captain of the Northern vets.
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