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Ada Mackenzie, the first lady of Canadian golf

The Story

Having experienced first hand the restricted tee-times imposed on women, Ada Mackenzie founds the Toronto Ladies' Golf and Tennis Club in 1924. It's the first golf course exclusively for women. Mackenzie tells CBC Radio, with satisfied irony, how her club does allow men -- but only as guests. Some highlights in Mackenzie's long golfing career include nine Ontario Ladies' Championships, five Canadian Ladies' Open Championships and being a two-time finalist in the United States Women's Amateur Championships. Mackenzie also establishes the Ontario junior ladies championships, in 1928, in an effort to encourage more young women to play golf. Her efforts don't stop there. Fed up with the impracticality of women's athletic apparel, Mackenzie begins her own line of women's sportswear in 1930. 

Medium: Radio
Program: CBC Radio News
Broadcast Date: June 20, 1949
Guest(s): Ada Mackenzie
Interviewer: Bob Kesten
Duration: 2:32
Photo reproduced from the National Library of Canada's website (www.nlc-bnc.ca)

Did You know?

• Ada Mackenzie was born in Toronto on Oct. 30, 1891.
• She played in her first golf match at the age of 13 as a substitute in her mother's golfing foursome. This marked the young Mackenzie's first victory of many more to come.
• Mackenzie won the Canadian Ladies Open title five times (1919, 1925, 1926, 1933 and 1935) over the course of her career. She also claimed the Ladies' Closed Championship six times and won the Canadian Senior Women's Championship eight times.

• Mackenzie was a great all-around athlete who excelled at tennis, cricket, lacrosse, swimming, basketball and skating. She was also the Canadian waltzing champion in 1926.
• In 1933 Mackenzie enjoyed phenomenal success, claiming wins in every tournament across the country. She was accordingly named Female Athlete of the Year by the Canadian Press.

• Mackenzie was nicknamed the first lady of Canadian golf but she was also widely referred to as "the queen of Canadian amateurs," and "Captain Ada."
• The Ladies' Golf Club of Toronto is North America's sole remaining private golf club established by women for women. The course is located in Thornhill, Ont. Men are allowed to play at the course but only as guests.

• In 1924, Mackenzie told Canadian Golfer, "The idea of forming such a club originated some years ago when I was in England. Realizing the opportunities that were open to English girls to enjoy the game and learn it from childhood up, it occurred to me that such a club would give our girls a chance…"
• Mackenzie was installed in Canada's Golf Hall of Fame in 1971.
• On Jan. 25, 1973, at age 81, after suffering a series of heart attacks, Mackenzie passed away.


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