Women's History Month: How the Women's Trophies Got Their Names - MASSGOLF

From Contributions To Competition: How Massachusetts Women’s Golf Trophies Got Their Names

Edith Clara Noblit Baker | Women’s Stroke Play Championship

Edith Baker was self-depricating, smart, bossy, and absolutely in love the golf. She took junior girls under her wing as was referred to as “Boss Baker” but in a positive way. “You did what she said. She bossed us, but in a lovable way. You had to toe the line – manners, etiquette – but you were never allowed to be friendly on the green” once said junior Pippy Rooney. Baker was the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur champion five times and former president of the Women’s U.S. Golf Association. She established the Baker Tournament in 1946, still played in the state, and was a founding member of the Scituate Country Club and belonged to the Marshfield Country Club, the Women’s City Club of Boston, and the Harvard Clubs of Boston and New York.

Baker worked tirelessly on programs, especially for her junior girls. “She really loved us. and called us ‘her girls.’ We all admired her so much. Some people we’re afraid of her, but you really had to know her. The tournament, The Baker, was for us, the working girls. We really appreciated that” said Rooney.

Grace Keyes | Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship

Grace Keyes with Harriot and Margaret Curtis at the 50th WGAM Anniversary Tea, where the Keyes Cup was presented.

What was once a group of society ladies changed when Grace Keyes spoke out.

“What we want, what we need, is a way to play and improve at golf,” she said. “We need more chances to play and compete. We need to meet other women who love golf as well.”

While she was hoping for a few more rounds of golf, it changed the game for women in Massachusetts and became one of its most respected and successful groups. Keyes, a member of Concord Country Club, went on to win the inaugural Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship and was one of six founding members of the Women’s Golf Association of Boston (later known as the WGAM). She served as President of the organization from 1902-1907. The Women’s Mid Amateur Championship originated in 1950 when Keyes presented the Keyes Cup for an annual stroke play competition to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts (WGAM).

Eleanor LaBonte | LaBonte Four-Ball

Originated in 1950, this tournament also commemorated the 50th anniversary of the WGAM. In 1965, the name became “The Fall Frolic”. In February of 1972, the WGAM donated a new trophy, and the tournament was renamed the “Eleanor I. LaBonte Tournament” in honor of Eleanor LaBonte. Miss LaBonte served as Executive Secretary of the WGAM for over 25 years and handicap chairman for 33 years. The inaugural tournament was held at Oakley Country Club, and the teams of Nancy Black & Florence McClusky and Ernest Hooton & Muriel Cadsey were victorious.

Eleanor W. Allen | Allen Bowl Four-Ball

This tournament was established in 1938 when Eleanor W. Allen presented the Allen Bowl to the WGAM. Miss Allen served two stints as President of the WGAM, from 1917-1920 and 1930-1933. This now-retired tournament honors her commitment. Allen served on the USGA Women’s Committee for many years. The inaugural tournament was hosted by Oakley Country Club, with Ernest Hooton winning.

Cris Eaton | Cris Eaton Chapman

Established in 1966, the inaugural tournament was hosted by Marshfield Country Club. Late in 1965, Priscilla Bailey, Nancy Black, Ann Dow, Dotty Howard, May Jackson, Gene McAuliffe, Pippy O’Connor, Harriet Rogers, Dolly Sullivan, and Betty Tarr asked the WGAM Executive Committee to establish an annual tournament as a memorial to their friend, Mrs. Charles F. (Cris) Eaton. Eaton faithfully served the WGAM in many capacities. She was twice the President of the WGAM from 1954-1957. She also initiated the New England Women’s Golf Association to foster interstate competition.

Dr. J. Paul Sheeran and Lorraine Sheeran | Sheeran Mixed Modified Scotch Tournament

The Executive Committee of the WGAM established the Husband-Wife Tournament in 1959. Dr. J. Paul Sheeran and Lorraine Sheeran from Winchester Country Club donated the trophy for this event in 1972, and the tournament was renamed the Sheeran Trophy in 1983. Lorraine Sheeran was WGAM President from 1976-1977 and remained an active member for many years. She also served on the USGA Senior Women’s Championship Committee from 1985-1993. In 2020, the Sheeran Mixed tournament expanded to include all legally married partners. The inaugural tournament was hosted by Tedesco Country Club in 1959, with Bea and Albert Bower earning the title.

Hannah D. Townshend | Women’s Four-Ball Championship for the Townshend Cup

The Townshend trophy was given to the WGAM by Hannah Townshend in 1930 in memory of her twin sister, Miss Fanny Osgood. Fanny was one of the most prominent golfers of her time and served as president of the WGAM from 1925-1929, and she competed in state and national golf events. She was a member of the Magomiscok Golf Club.

Cris Eaton Trophy on display at Golf House (Mass Golf)

About Mass Golf

Mass Golf is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to advancing golf in Massachusetts by building an engaged community around the sport.

With a community made up of over 120,000 golf enthusiasts and over 360 member clubs, Mass Golf is one of the largest state golf associations in the country. Members enjoy the benefits of handicapping, engaging golf content, course rating and scoring services along with the opportunity to compete in an array of events for golfers of all ages and abilities.

At the forefront of junior development, Mass Golf is proud to offer programming to youth in the state through First Tee Massachusetts and subsidized rounds of golf by way of Youth on Course.

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