Thorpeness Golf Club & Hotel invited the founders and early members of the Ladies European Tour (LET) for a weekend’s celebration of professional golf.

Hosted by Thorpeness Director of Golf, Christine Langford the reunion on 16th and 17th February marked the 45th anniversary of the LET’s first tournament, which was sponsored by Carlsberg.

Christine, a founder member of the LET and winner of four events was joined by Cathy Panton Lewis, the Great Britain and Ireland Women’s PGA Cup Captain and winner of 14 tournaments and Jenny Lucas, formerly Jenny Lee-Smith, winner of the inaugural Women’s British Open and 12 tournaments. Seven other Founders joined the group as well as players from the early days, between them amassing over 40 tournament wins.

Three pioneering women golf journalists also took part in the weekend’s celebrations, namely Liz Kahn (Daily Telegraph and The Guardian), Lewine Mair (Daily Telegraph and Global Golf Post) and Patricia Madill (The Times) along with TV commentator Maureen Madill.

The group enjoyed a fabulous celebration dinner on the Friday evening prepared by Thorpeness Hotel’s Head Chef, David Margas in the private Lakeside Suite. After dinner, they took part in an entertaining quiz devised by Founders, Maxine Burton and Denise Hastings and played a video with messages of support for the pioneers of the women’s game along with some thoughts from players who could not attend.

Messages were received from Alex Aramas, CEO of LET; Laura Davies OBE; Trish Johnson and former sponsor and CEO of Gilbeys Gin Trevor McClintock as well as Founder Members Jane Chapman and Chris Griffith.

Some members also enjoyed a round on the Thorpeness 18-hole golf course, which was designed by five-time Open Champion James Braid and regarded as one of the finest in Suffolk.

The Weekend’s host Christine Langford, LET Founder Member and Thorpeness Director of Golf said:

“We haven’t had a celebration for the LET since our 30th anniversary. Researching the project has been quite interesting, tracking down a few people and finding out what they have been up to, including one ex-member who married her dog on daytime TV! I am thrilled that so many of the players made the journey to Thorpeness, most for the first (but hopefully not the last) time”.

LET Founder Member Jenny Lucas who also attended the weekend said:

“I would like to say a huge thank you to Christine Langford for taking the time to track down and organise this wonderful reunion. It will be 45 years in April since we had our first event and it was brilliant to see everyone again and to share memories from our days on tour. Our celebration dinner was amazing, we were thoroughly spoilt. I wasn’t able to play but the Thorpeness golf course looks fabulous and I certainly plan to make a return visit.”

As well as 45 years of the LET, Founder member Liz Kahn’s landmark 89th birthday was celebrated. Liz was instrumental in starting the LET or WPGA (as it was originally known) and was one of the core of journalists who travelled with the tour in the 80s.

Commenting on the weekend’s reunion Liz Kahn said:

“It was a wonderful reunion at Thorpeness, such a great group of people and an uplifting occasion. Vivien Saunders and I brought about the launching of the WPGA. One aspect that I covered was going to the PGA and telling them what we were proposing. They were definitely shocked at the idea and did not offer their support. However, the young women who turned professional were amazingly courageous to take that leap, as they really had no idea about their future prospects. A lovely achieving group they turned out to be and congratulations to them”.

Representatives from the LET were on hand to interview the players and film the proceedings for an upcoming documentary on the history of women’s professional golf in Europe.
Dale Reid OBE, one of the Ladies European Tour’s most gifted and charismatic players, who recently passed away aged 64, was also fondly remembered over the weekend.

For more information about the Ladies European Tour can be found on

Picture Left to Right - Sue Bamford, Pam Chugg, Julie Smith, Cathy Panton-Lewis, Jane Forrest, Maxine Burton, Christine Langford, Denise Hastings, Vanessa Marvin and Jenny Lucas.
Image credit: Kalan Coupar

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