Enid Wilson: Bio of Champion British Golfer

Enid Wilson was an English golfer who won the British Ladies Amateur Championship three consecutive years in the early 1930s. The authors of the 1975 Encylopedia of Golf judged that Wilson was "widely regarded as the finest British woman golfer between the wars after Joyce Wethered," and said of Wilson that she "had a sound rather than graceful swing but she was a resolute competitor capable of her best when it mattered most."

Date of birth: March 15, 1910

Place of birth: Stonebroom, Derbyshire, England

Date of death: January 14, 1996

Wilson's Biggest Wins

  • 1925 British Girls Amateur Championship
  • 1928 English Ladies Amateur
  • 1930 English Ladies Amateur
  • 1931 British Women's Amateur
  • 1932 British Women's Amateur
  • 1933 British Women's Amateur

In the British Women's Amateur Championship

Enid Wilson's place in golf history lies in the fact that she won the The Women's Amateur Championship (then called the British Ladies Amateur) three successive years, 1931, 1932 and 1933. Wilson was the third (and so far last) golfer to do that, joining Lady Margaret Scott and Cecil Leitch.

Wilson reached the semifinals of the tournament three times earlier, in 1927, 1928 and 1930. Her first win came at the age of 21 in 1931, when she defeated Wanda Morgan in the 36-hole championship match, 7 and 6.

Her 1932 victory was perhaps Wilson's high point. En route to the title, she defeated American stars Glenna Collett Vare and Leona Pressley. In the final, Wilson again won by a 7-and-6 score, this time over former Scottish champ Clementine Montgomery.

Wilson's third British Ladies Amateur title in a row featured a 5-and-4 championship match victory over Diana Plumpton in 1933.

More About Enid Wilson

Young Enid Wilson's love of golf got her into trouble several times. At age 4, she managed to remove the heads from all of her father's golf clubs (and by age 15 she was well-known locally as the girl who could repair golf clubs). Later, at boarding school, she was expelled after, according to Wilson, she cursed school officials who were trying to limit how much time she could spend on the golf course.

But all that time paid off early, too. At age 15, when she was the youngest golfer in the field, Wilson won the British Girls Amateur Championship in 1925.

The next year Wilson won the Midland Women's Amateur, a regional crown. She won that title again in 1928, 1929 and 1930, presaging her other, bigger threepeat still to come.

At age 17, Wilson was runner-up in the 1927 English Ladies Amateur, and then claimed that championship in 1928 and 1930. Her championship match victory in 1930 was by a 12-and-11 score.

When Wilson started her three-year-streak of British Ladies Amateur wins, she decided to try for the U.S. Women's Amateur title, too. She first traveled to America for that championship in 1931, and reached the semifinals, but lost to Helen Hicks.

In the 1932 U.S. Women's Am, Wilson went out in the quarterfinals. In 1933, she fell in the semifinals to Virginia Van Wie. But in the stroke-play qualifying prior to match play that year, Wilson earned medalist honors with a 76, which was the tournament record to that point.

Wilson retired from serious competition after her British Amateur threepeat, but it was a decision she was forced into. By that time, Wilson had begun writing for various publications, and she had been paid to write the captions for a series of golf photographs. The Ladies Golf Union, then the governing body of women's golf in the U.K., declared Wilson a "non-amateur." Given that professional options for women golfers were virtually non-existent, and pro tournaments for women literally non-existent, in Britain at the time, Wilson's competitive career was over. But Wilson later said that outcome was fine with her: "I knew perfectly well what I was up to. I had no desire to play any more serious golf. I'd had my fill of it."

Before she left the tournament scene, however, Wilson took part in the 1932 Curtis Cup, the first ever. In singles, she defeated Helen Hicks, 2 and 1.

Her involvement in golf after 1933 was largely through writing about it. During World War II, she served in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. It was reported in America in 1943 that Pam Barton was killed and Enid Wilson lost an eye during an air raid. Those reports proved unfounded. However, Barton (who won two British Ladies Ams after Wilson) was, in fact, killed in her wartime service several months later.

In 1949, in one of her writing gigs, Wilson made a terrible prediction: that the formation of a women's pro golf tour in the USA would be detrimental to golf. Writing in the British publication Golf Illustrated, Wilson said she doubted the American women's tournament circuit would do those golfers playing it, or the game, any good. She wrote, "A life that only the 'tough guys' can stand for a few seasons will surely have a deplorable effect on the nerves and physiques of the women who try it."

In 1949, the WPGA, a precursor to the LPGA, was, in fact, on it last legs. But the formation of the LPGA the next year ultimately proved Wilson spectacularly wrong. She was considered much more perspicacious in most of her other writing.

In addition to Golf Illustrated and other publications, for many years Wilson was a golf correspondent for the London Daily Telegraph. She also wrote multiple books. Those included the instructional books Golf For Women (affiliate links used in this post) and So That's What I Do, published in the 1930s; and A Gallery of Women Golfers, published in 1961. She also wrote the section on women's golf in A History of Golf in Britain, published in 1952.

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