Since I wrote my first article for your magazine, about my trip to Australia and New Zealand in 1955, I have been lucky enough to make five more trips abroad. I have been to Germany and France twice, Belgium and America.
My visits to Germany were to play in the German Ladies' Open Championship at Frankfurt in 1956, and at Cologne in 1957. These Continental Championships are great fun as you meet many people from different countries. Both times I stayed with members of the Clubs, and in Frankfurt I stayed with a charming American family at the Rhein-Main Air Base. My host was a great enthusiast and he would practice in the evenings by hitting plastic practice balls into the curtains. There were several dents on the apartment ceiling.
One of my visits to France and the one to Belgium were with a British Team in 1957. We played Belgium at the Royal Zoute Golf Club; a long but pleasant course. Whilst we were there we went over the border into Holland, one more opportunity to have my passport stamped! The Club-House was our temporary home and, after each meal, two of the young newly-weds would disappear into the kitchens to get recipes of the delicious meals. Mrs Howard, on one occasion, even emerged with a bottle of olive oil for cooking which she maintained was different to the type of oil at home.
The match in France was played at Morfontaine, a delightful and very good course set in the forest not far from Chantilly. Although it was a close match, the British Isles Team managed to retain their unbeaten record in the matches. During our stay we had an amusing time in a perfume shop, trying to explain our requirements in "pidgin-French". Fortunately an English speaking Madame came to our rescue.
Earlier in 1957 I went to Paris with the Girls Golfing Society Team to play a team of French Girls. We stayed with them at their homes and I had much delight in tasting one of their delicious -- Snails!! The match was played at Saint Germain and, during the four-somes, my partner, Miss Angela Ward (now Mrs Michael Bonallack) holed-in-one. This was the first match of its kind and I am pleased it has turned into an annual event. We welcomed them at Wentworth last year, but alas I am too old to go to St Cloud, Paris this year.
The ambition of my Golfing career was fulfilled last summer when I went to America with the Curtis Cup Team. We spent a delightful ten days at the Brae Burn Country Club, West Newton, just outside Boston. All the members were most interested and followed the practice of both teams with vigour. The weather was very hot and the foursomes on the first day were played in a humidity of ninety-five per cent.
We managed to lead in the foursomes by two matches to one, and in the singles we won by two and a half points. The final result depended on the last match which went to the last green and here the British player, Mrs Frances Smith, won; so the match was halved and, as we were the holders, we retained the cup. The first time that this has been achieved by a British Team in America. We now hold the Ryder Cup (Professionals), and the Curtis Cup, now we are all keeping our fingers crossed for the amateurs to win the Walker Cup at Muirfield in May.
Whilst at Brae Burn, Miss Elizabeth Price (G.B.) holed-in-one during practice. The Americans demanded the typical reward - a bottle of Scotch. Miss Price found an empty bottle - filled it with cold tea - and had it sent up to their team room. Unfortunately one of their whisky-drinkers opened it and just found out in time.
After these two strenuous days, four of the team went to a delightful spot on the Buzzards Bay, Kittansett. We stayed with members of the Club in their sea-side homes and had a most relaxing time. We played in a two day fourball competition and, except for the hours spent on the course, I was to be found swimming. From here we went by train from Providence to Stamford. We missed our train at Providence by five minutes and had two hours to waste. In America the 'Red Caps' (Porters) charge 35 cents to carry a piece of luggage - we had between six of us at least thirty pieces so we decided to move the luggage ourselves by 'shuttle service'. The passers-by regarded us as "the poor English!!"
The American Ladies Championship was played at the Wee Burn Country Club, Darien, Connecticut. A typical American course with lush fairways between avenues of trees. None of the team did very well except Mrs Valentine who reached the fifth round. I think we were all suffering from reaction. The remedy? Mrs Bonallack and I taught our hostess how to make a cup of English tea!!
It was a marvellous visit to make and one which I shall always remember. During the six years that I have played competitive golf, I have visited many countries and made wonderful friends. There is much fun to be obtained and I am sure that these overseas visits do much towards International friendships. I am now saving up for another one with my account in the Municipal Bank!!
[During a notable amateur career, Miss Jackson played in the Curtis Cup for Great Britain and Ireland on three occasions and was selected as an England international nine times. She served as Chair and President of the English Ladies Golf Association and President of the Ladies’ Golf Union. She was made an MBE in 2003 for her services to women’s golf.
Born in Birmingham in 1936, Bridget Jackson won the Girls’ British Open Amateur Championship in 1954 and two years later triumphed in the English Ladies Closed Championship and German Ladies Championship. She won the Canadian Ladies Championship in 1967.]