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The WGM Collection

British Golf Museum, St Andrews  
Special Collections Unit, University of St Andrews Library, St Andrews.

The Women Golfers’ Museum (WGM) has been in existence since 1938, when a group of golfers at the Veteran Ladies Golf Association dinner suggested that it would be a good idea to establish a museum “for collecting and exhibiting objects relating to the origin and growth of women's golf.”

Issette Miller (nee Pearson), the founder and first secretary of the LGU, was appointed President, and her deputy, Mabel Stringer, the founder of the VLGA, was Chairman, with several famous lady golfers of the time, including Doris Chambers and Cecil Leitch on the committee. Many golfers donated items for display, and the museum built up a sizeable collection of clubs, balls, costumes, trophies, prizes, medals, books, photographs, pictures, albums and scrapbooks.

The original museum was housed in the Lady Golfers’ Club in London, and survived the war intact. London Clubs were not so popular in the fifties and sixties and several closed down including the Lady Golfers’ Club. The collection moved from place to place, and after a brief sojourn in the offices of Colgate-Palmolive, it eventually ended up in the National Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh in the early 1980’s. Those who visited will remember the costumes, and in particular the outfit worn by Gloria Minoprio who shocked the golfing world by wearing trousers.

Since then the Women Golfers' Museum has remained in Scotland but the collection has been split with the clubs, balls, trophies, medals and costumes housed at the British Golf Museum (BGM) at St Andrews whilst the books, handbooks and magazines , albums and scrapbooks, photographs and other memorabilia are in the Special Collections Unit of the Library at the University of St Andrews.

The trustees are keen to raise awareness of the Museum,, and to make the collection more accessible to the public. The BGM currently displays a special Ladies' case but unfortunately they do not have room in St Andrews to display the costumes and larger items and they are in storage. The balls and clubs, are out on general display, but are lost amongst the many other items, although attributed to the WGM.

The WGM books and photographs in the speical collections unit of St Andrews University Library provide a fascinating history of the Ladies' game, and make an excellent resource for anyone wanting to research the sport.

  This page published by Gillian Kirkwood