The Ladies Section of WHGC was formed in 1988, with Ms J Unsworth being the first Lady Captain. In the Club’s history there have been 22 Lady Captain’s, several serving more than one term. The current Lady Captain, Jill Hopwood, first held the post in 2003, then again in 2009, returned to the post in 2013 and this year will become WHGC’s longest serving Lady Captain.
2015 saw a major boost in membership with an influx of ladies new to the game determined to acquire an official handicap. It is a vibrant society made up of professional and retired ladies from many different walks of life. Sense of humour is a definite requirement, not least because Walton is a demanding course, and standing on ceremony is not part of this Club’s ethos – the objective is to enjoy each other’s company, as well as the golf.
A plethora of awards are available for Ladies to win. While most were donated at the time of the Club’s inauguration some appeared on the competition agenda later in its life, such as the Jean Warburton Trophy, donated during her year of Captaincy in 1997. The Professionals Trophy commenced in 1995, the first winner being Pat Burney, Lady Captain in that year. The introduction of the Most Improved Player has provided a spur to all ladies for while it takes into account the success of reducing the handicap it acknowledges that improvement may come simply from achieving a Club handicap in the first place, particularly at a course as challenging as Walton Hall.
Competitions with other local clubs are arranged where time permits, teams are entered for national competitions, a weekend away (The Otters) has become an annual event, Ladies Invitation, Lady Captain’s Drive In, ‘away days’ at other courses, as well as a Christmas Dinner, an Annual Club Dinner, and the annual Prize Giving Evening – provide plenty of opportunity to play and socialise.