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Vivien Saunders, OBE, is a former lady professional golfer, a solicitor, a golf course owner and has a list of achievements, both on and off the course, which would leave me talking about them between now and next Christmas.
She has always been one of the most remarkable women in golf, if not in society as a whole. An extrovert, a thinker, a rebel and someone who was always prepared to ask the big questions. Especially in the golfing world, where traditions and fustian nonsense all too often prevailed. She fought the law in the world of sex discrimination, way back in the 1970’s. And won the moral high ground, becoming something of an icon for gender equality, not only in sport, but in society too. Poacher become game-keeper, she became a solicitor but then, returning to her first love, she went back to golf, buying a club and setting up shop in Cambridgeshire.
I first heard of Vivien in the late 1970’s, when one of my Saturday morning 4-ball partners at Coombe Hill, Barry Edwards, said he was co-founding, with Vivien, the Women’s Professional Golf Association, and I can clearly remember one of the early WPGA pro-ams at Coombe. Did I know she would go on to become one of the biggest names on the golfing calendar? No.
In recent years, Vivien has become one of the most in-demand golfing coaches, a hugely successful Amateur, having been obliged to relinquish her professional status in order to compete on what is, de riguer, a circuit limited to amateurs only - for an explanation, please ask the R & A - and was awarded the OBE for services to golf in 1997.
This is one remarkable lady, with one of the most interesting careers in ladies’ golf and, if golf books take your fancy, then you must have on your shelf “The Golfing Mind.” In my view, the book ranks alongside Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book as one of the best books ever written on the game we all love.
Lionel Freedman, Chairman, WHO.
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