We started with a vision...
...to promote the interests of golf among women,
increase knowledge and appreciation for the rules of golf,
to be good sports, and
to engage in friendly competition.
The Early Years
Women's golf was big and growing like the population in Seattle. SWGA members traveled as far as Portland to compete with other clubs. Teams were comprised of six members from various clubs, selected to balance handicaps. Others were encouraged to come watch the four-ball team matches, to observe great golf and learn golf etiquette.
World War II and a return to normalcy 1941 - 1961
All of a sudden, women found themselves working for the cause. Rationing was in effect. Victory gardens grew at our clubs and in our back yards. In support, we limited competition and put our efforts into supporting our men and women fighting abroad.
When the war ended, there was a resurgence of interest in golf and social clubs.
The times they are a changing
This isn't your parent's country club anymore. The 60's and 70's brought significant social change to the USA. Protests, free love, miniskirts, and feminism 2.0 wreaked havoc on old school values of traditional country clubs. Title IX and a newfound focus on women's natural athleticism brought our competitive environment to a new level. Northwest names like Ruth Jessen, Pat Lesser, JoAnne Gunderson, Anne Quast, Ann Swanson, and Edean Ihlanfeldt dominated women's golf as barriers fell all around us.
Girls just want to have fun!
Cyndi Lauper spoke to us through her music. Golf was serious business, but so was the Monday cocktail party during the city championship where golfers awaited their fate or fortune with the pairings announcements for the start of match play. Club members invested time and effort creating unique and unusual - and sometimes questionable - themes for the week-long championship golf tournaments.
Coming of age in the 21st century
We balanced work, golf, and family. We did it all with gusto and fortitude. Strength, grace, and agility defined our game. Cross training? Heck yeah.
Leslie Folsom dominated the championship ranks, winning more city championships than any other competitor in SWGA history. Yet, a new group of golfers was emerging. Coached by Edean Ihlanfeldt and other great names in the golfing world, new entrants were popping up, with confidence and the ability to hit a golf ball a mile and make it look like a Sunday stroll.
The modern era and 100 years of women's golf 2011-
I wonder what Mrs. Dwan would say about our SWGA, 91 years after that fateful meeting at Frederick & Nelson in downtown Seattle. This all-volunteer group has endured wars, social change, economic crises, and the inexorable march of time to become an enduring part of our northwest heritage. We have grown and changed while still holding on to important traditions. Golf is sometimes slow to change, and we have many opportunities to improve ahead of us. Let's celebrate our history and rededicate ourselves to the values of inclusive community, competition, friendship, and fun for our next 100 years.
About the digital scrapbook project
SWGA has boxes of old scrapbooks and photo albums dating to its inception. In the early 2000's members started a preservation project and reclaimed our historic archives which were in danger of being lost forever.
2010 was the last year that a physical scrapbook was produced. In 2011, SWGA started producing digital scrapbooks through Shutterfly and other online services.
In 2014, Ann Swanson produced a book on the history of the SWGA: Playing Through, which captures our rich traditions in our 90-year history. She also wrote an earlier companion book on our sister organization, the Washington State Women's Golf Association (WSWGA), called "Celebrating 90 years of Championship Golf". Contact Ann for information about obtaining a copy.
2016 brought a new preservation project when Glen Acres members Porsche Everson and Patty Chandler scanned the entire set of scrapbooks and made them available in digital format. Margaret Campbell loaded them onto our legacy website for all to see and use.