History of the Irish Ladies Golf Union

The Irish Ladies Golf Union is the oldest organisation representing either amateur or professional female golfers in the world. Today, it is the official governing body of amateur women golfers in Ireland. Golf remains the most popular sport among Irish women, with 60,000 Irish females playing regularly.

The Irish Ladies Golf Union was founded in December 1893, when, under the stewardship of Miss C. E. McGee, several more localised ladies golf clubs, including Royal Belfast Ladies Golf Club, Dungannon Ladies Golf Club and Royal Portrush Ladies Golf Club, were brought together for mutual representation.

The ambitions of the Irish Ladies Golf Union were primarily to provide centralised organisation for women's golf in Ireland, and to hold an annual national tournament, the first of which was held in 1894, the year after the Union's foundation, where Clara Mulligan was victorious.

In its early years, the Irish Ladies Golf Union struggled to find participation from ladies golf clubs in southern Ireland. In 1902, for example, from its eighteen member clubs, a mere three were from southern Ireland. In an attempt to correct this imbalance, from 1906 the Union's annual meetings were held in Dublin and Belfast in alternating years.

This situation did gradually fix itself, and through the 1920s and 1930s the Irish Ladies Golf Union underwent great increases in size. In 1934, it was affiliated with 165 clubs across Ireland. In response to this growth, the Union delegated its affairs to five regional representations. These were Ulster, East Leinster, Munster, Connacht and Mid Leinster. These delegations still exist today.

In the modern world of women's amateur golf, the Irish Ladies Golf Union remains an inspiring force, holding many tournaments annually both at a national and regional level, for players of all handicaps, talents and ages. To learn more about the Union and its events, visit the website at ilgu.ie.

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