May Hezlet (1882 - 1978):
May Hezlet was one of the leading golfers in Ireland in the 1890s and 1900s and a member of one of the most distinguished golfing families in the country.
Mary Elizabeth Linzee Hezlet was born in Gibraltar, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Jackson Hezlet. The family settled at Portrush, north County Antrim and joined the new golf club there (this later became Royal Portrush Golf Club, one of the finest in the world). May was nothing if not precocious at the game – already at the age of 12 she had a handicap of 16. That year saw the first Children’s Competition, organised by the ladies of the Club, attracting 7 girls and only 6 boys, none of whom were finalists; according to the official history May was “almost certainly” one of the girl players.
In 1899 she won her first British Championship, at Newcastle, Country Down; she would win two more, at Deal in 1902, and again at Newcastle in 1907, when she narrowly beat her sister Florence, 2 and 1. Her competitive record was impressive. She won the Irish Ladies Championship in 1905, 1906 and 1908, in each of these finals defeating her sister Violet. On three other occasions she was rnner-up. In 1899 she won the first of her three British Ladies Championships, at Newcastle, adding the title at Deal, England in 1902 and again at Newcastle in 1907.
In 1909 May Hezlet married her local rector, Rev AE Ross, himself a keen golfer as a Portrush member, albeit one who signed a petition protesting at Sunday golf. Their marriage was warmly and widely celebrated but also marked the complete end to her golfing career which she saw as incompatible with her married life (Rev Ross later became Bishop of Tuam).
May Hezlet had a considerable collection of prozes and press cuttings but these were destroyed by enemy bombing during the Second World War.
|Born:||29 April 1882|
|Died:||27 December 1978|
JL (Ian) Bamford
Ian Bamford, Royal Portrush Golf Club: A History
© 2021 Ulster History Circle