Annika Sorenstam, Suzann Petterson, Charley Hull and Mel Reid – just some of Europe’s outstanding women professional golfers who have carved out lucrative careers playing tournament golf across the globe.
They may be mega-stars, Major winners and Solheim Cup players, but, they owe a great debt to a small group of British women who took the first brave steps to professionalising the sport in the late 1970’s.
One of those women was Christine Langford, Thorpeness Head Professional and Golf Operations Manager.
Christine was one of 11 founding members of the WPGA (Women’s Professional Golfer’s Association) in 1979, an organisation that laid the foundation for what has become today’s Ladies European Tour.
From humble beginnings, the WPGA has grown into one of the world’s best professional circuits with six-figure prize funds and televised events.
The 40th anniversary of the founding of the WPGA is in 2019. With that date so close The PGA of Great Britain and Ireland (Professional Golfer’s Association) has been inspired to recognise the contribution of these pioneering women to the development of the sport for women and girls.
Christine has been awarded honorary membership of the PGA – the highest honour it can bestow – for her role in laying the foundations for women’s professional golf in the UK and Europe.
Sandy Jones, PGA executive president, said of Christine: “Her contribution to the game over the many years since the foundation of the WPGA has been continuous and outstanding.
There is no doubt Christine and her co-founders deserve this recognition for the long service and commitment they have given to the game of golf.
They showed a lot of belief in supporting what was not seen by many at the time as a viable idea because professional women’s golf was very much in its infancy. Happily, their foresight and determination has paid off.”
Not only was Christine determined enough to help form the WPGA but she also enjoyed the rewards of competing and winning on the course.
Christine was English Girls Amateur Champion in 1974 and three years later joined the paid ranks of the sport – and it was the start of decades of success in golf.
Christine Langford’s Golfing Career in Brief
• Won three times in her first season as a Professional
• Became the first woman to be appointed a Head Professional in the UK
• Appointed Director of Golf at Castle Combe Golf Clubs
• Founded and ran a successful international golf schools business – taking groups to USA, Spain, Mauritius, France and Denmark.
• Served as Director of Golf Academy at Desert Springs Golf Resort, Spain
• Welsh Ladies Golf Union National Coach 2001-8
• The first Female Head Professional in Thorpeness Golf Club’s 94-year history
“Golf has given me a marvellous career and I’m honored to have been recognised by The PGA in this way,” said Christine.
Here at Thorpeness, we are proud to have such an inspirational and dynamic woman heading up our Golf Operations Team and serving as our Head Professional.
After all her accomplishments and experiences, Christine has never lost the enthusiasm and desire to help golfers improve and to play the game she loves.
Come to Thorpeness and you will find Christine checking you in for your tee-time, ironing out swing faults on the practice range and listening to members recount their successes and woes.
A true professional and a celebrated pioneer of the women’s game in the UK, Europe and beyond.
Well done and sincere congratulations Christine Langford, Honorary Member of the PGA (Great Britain and Ireland).