Monday, 1 October 2018

Obituary - Joan Marshall, leading figure in Scottish women's golf

Leading figure in Scottish women's golf
Born: October 26, 1942;
Died: September 14 2018
JOAN Marshall, who has died aged 75, was a leading figure in Scottish women's golf as player, administrator and official over many years.
A member of Baberton Golf Club in Edinburgh for 41 years, she was club champion 10 times and set a course record of 68 in 1982, later bettered by daughter Karen by a stroke.
Her early promise saw her represent East girls against West girls in their annual match and win the Midlothian Junior championship. She played for Scotland Juniors against England at Barassie and Beaconsfield near London, winning both her ties at Barassie. At county level she won the Midlothian championship four times and the county Champion of Champions’ competition three times, continuing to represent the county till 2000. She played regularly in the Scottish Amateur championship, her best performance coming at Gullane in 1979 when she reached the semi final and was unfortunate not to earn a full cap as a result. She did later represent Scotland several times as a vet/senior.
At her peak she played off scratch and was particularly noted for her short game, consistency and ability to play under pressure.
She began to be involved in the administrative side of the sport, going on to hold several prestigious positions. In 1990 she was chairwoman of the Scottish Ladies’ Golf Association, having previously been a member of the executive committee. Latterly she was honoured with appointment as honorary association vice president in recognition of her services.
Between 2005 and 2008 she was Scottish selector on the Great Britain and Ireland committee responsible for selection of Curtis Cup and Vagliano Trophy teams. She was captain of many Scottish international teams at all age levels - junior, ladies, and vets/seniors.
She captained the team at the European Junior Ladies’ Team Championships in Belgium, the ladies’ team at the Home Internationals at Barassie in 1988 when she led Scotland to a clean sweep triumph and later in the European Team Championships at Pals in Spain and Wentworth.At senior level, she led the Scottish team in the Home Internationals and European team Championship in Holland. A Scottish selector in the 1980s, she was also captain and later president of Midlothian County Association for which she was awarded honorary membership.
At Baberton, she was ladies’ captain in their centenary year and was also awarded honorary membership of the club. In her role as captain she was successful and popular thanks to her empathetic nature allied to her ability to ease the pressure on players and her attention to individuals’ needs.
As testament to her worth as captain, many players remained lifelong friends with her. According to friend and fellow player Pamela Williamson, as an administrator, “she was capable, efficient and got things done.”
Joan Henderson was born in Edinburgh, the only child of George, a master baker, and Abigail nee Clark. Brought up in the city’s Kingsknowe area, she attended Cranley School in Polwarth. Golf was in the family with both parents excellent players. Her father was club champion at Baberton, Longniddry and Dalmahoy where Joan began playing and where her mother was also champion, as well as at Kingsknowe and Longniddry. The existence of practice netting in the attic reflected their enthusiasm for golf. In 1962, however, family loyalties had to be put aside as Joan faced her mother in the final of the Dalmahoy club championship and defeated her.After school she attended Moray House College before working in Standard Life, and later for 20 years as PA to the chief executive of Viewpoint Housing Association. On 2nd April 1966 she married Brian Marshall in St Andrew’s Church in Juniper Green and the couple who had grown up together as near neighbours enjoyed 52 years of happy marriage, initially living at Kingsknowe before moving to Juniper Green in 1975. They had two children, Stephen and Karen.
Again, golf featured largely in the family with husband Brian a low handicap player and one- time champion at Kingsknowe while Stephen was twice champion there and sister Karen has surpassed her mother’s total of Baberton championship successes with 14.
Unsurprisingly much of the couple’s social life was golf related with their house being a popular venue for parties after functions at the nearby Baberton club and at Hogmanay. The first fortnight in August was sacrosanct for family golf holidays to St Andrews where they supported the Eden and Strathtyrum tournaments, the latter of which Joan helped establish. Last year she was delighted with granddaughter Ella’s win in the Marshall Trophy, donated by her, at the Midlothian Girls’ Championship.
Away from the links, they were enthusiastic attenders with friends at rugby internationals at Murrayfield and home nations’ venues. Other interests apart from family, to whom Joan was devoted, included having been a cub leader locally, and gardening and upholstery which she studied at night classes.
Unfortunately, her latter years were marred with macular degeneration which prevented her playing golf and restricted her activities. She was very much a people person, bright, sociable and fun to be around who will be long remembered for her contribution to golf and much missed by many.
She is survived by her husband, children and grandchildren Ella and Grace.