Canada's Sports Hall of Fame Canadian History and Society: Through the Lens of Sport Virtual Museum of Canada


Canadian women first took to the fairway in the early 1890's, playing golf as 'lady associates' of men's clubs. However, their competitive efforts were often trivialized until Ada Mackenzie won the Canadian Open Championships and Closed Championships five times each between 1919 and 1931. A true pioneer, her success defied convention in an era when "women were supposed to know more about a cook stove" than a golf club. Dubbed 'the first lady of Canadian golf', she also broke new ground for women in her sport as an entrepreneur. In 1924 she opened the Ladies' Golf and Tennis Club of Toronto, the first in North America to exclusively offer membership to female athletes.

Ada Mackenzie's innovations on and off the fairway helped paved the way for Marlene Stewart Streit to take women's golf in Canada to new heights after the Second World War. Marlene began working as a caddy at the age of thirteen, and bought her first set of clubs in 1949. Between 1951 and 1977, she won eleven Canadian Open and nine Canadian Closed Championships. Between 1953 and 1963 she also became the only woman ever to win amateur titles in Australia, Britain and the United States.

Marlene Stewart Streit encouraged young talent by establishing an awards fund for upcoming female golfers in the 1960's. One of the first women to benefit from this program was Sandra Post. In 1968 Sandra became Canada's first professional female golfer, joining the Ladies' Professional Golf Association (LPGA) at the age of twenty. Mere months after joining the tour, she became the first Canadian and first rookie ever to win the LPGA Championship title. Between 1968 and 1983 Sandra won a total of eight official LPGA events, earning more money than any Canadian golfer before her, male or female. Carrying forward momentum inherited from several generations of dynamic competitors before her, Sandra's achievements helped Canadian women achieve unprecedented respect and recognition for their efforts on the fairway in the modern era.

photograph of Ada Mackenzie standing with golf club
Ada Mackenzie was a pioneer and an enterprising entrepreneur in women's sports. When she started playing golf, as seen here in this photograph from the 1920's, she and other women wore long wool skirts. In 1930 she started her own line of clothing to offer women more suitable attire.
Collection: Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

photograph of a young Ada Mackenzie swinging golf club
Ada Mackenzie's success on the green was an inspiration to many young female athletes. In 1928 she helped found the Ontario Junior Ladies' Championship in an effort to encourage younger women to take up the game. Marlene Stewart Streit was one of those golfers who benefitted from Mackenzie's encouragement and remembers her as a tough and determined competitor.
Collection: Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

Jasper Park Lodge Golf Trophy Ladies Championship 1935
The first all-female golf tournament was held in England in 1893. Canada followed with its first Women's Amateur Championship in 1901. Ada Mackenzie learned to play the game at an early age, following in the footsteps of both of her parents. This trophy from the 1935 Jasper Park Lodge Ladies Championship was one of many that she won. She played not only in Canada but internationally in the United States and Bermuda as well.
Collection: Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

photograph of an older Ada Mackenzie swinging golf club
Ada Mackenzie won eight senior titles and played well into her senior years. She contributed her longevity at the game and her success to staying relaxed and not allowing the stresses of the game to reach her. She is quoted as saying that she treated athletics like recreation.
Collection: Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

photograph of Marlene Stewart Streit swinging golf club
Marlene Stewart Streit was known for her long sweeping backstroke and a big shoulder turn that allowed her to get every ounce of power out of her body that she could. She never gave up during a game and credits her first coach Gordon McInnis with teaching her that the game was never over until it was absolutely over.
Collection: Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

photograph of Marlene Steward Streit holding Duchess of Connaught trophy
The Duchess of Connaught, wife of the then Governor General of Canada, was the sponsor for the Canadian Ladies Golf Union. In 1913 she donated a trophy in her name for the Canadian Women's Amateur Championship. Marlene Stewart Streit, show here with the trophy, won it eleven times during her career. Although she could have turned professional she chose to maintain her amateur status.
Collection: Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

black and white golf shoes with metal golf figure on side
Marlene Stewart Streit was respected as a determined and tough competitor, especially in pressure situations. She never considered herself to be a natural player. She credits her success to practice and concentration that allowed her to channel her energy into a mental toughness and ability to focus.
Collection: Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

woman's tartan tam
Marlene Stewart Streit wore this tam during many of her competitions. She is the only Canadian golfer to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. She was honoured, not only for her amazing resume as a golfer, but for her work to improve the competitive edge for Canadian golfers and improve youth opportunities. She started a fund to which she donated her winnings to pay for travel costs for promising juniors. One young golfer noted that if she believed in you, you were going somewhere.
Collection: Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum

photograph of Sandra Post holding golf club
When Sandra Post won the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) Championship in at the age of 19 she was then the youngest woman to win an LPGA title. She was named Rookie of the Year that year and went on to claim eight career titles. Her career on the professional circuit motivated other women to compete.
Collection: Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

score board Sandra Post from Boynton Beach, Florida
This scorecard is from Sandra Post's victory in 1979 at the Dinah Shore Winners Circle Tournament. Sandra won back to back victories in 1978 and 1979, a feat which has become a cherished memory of her pro years. The tournament, now called the ANA (All Nippon Airways Inspiration Championship), is one of the five major championships held today.
Collection: Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

photograph of Sandra Post swinging golf club
Sandra Post was five years old when she was handed a golf club, which started the dream of becoming one of the best in the game. She brought that dream to reality, winning eight LPGA tournaments in her career. Respected for her integrity and honesty as a player, she has said golf is about soul searching because you can't blame missing the shot on anyone but yourself.
Collection: Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

Golden Ram 7-iron golf club
Sandra Post was a pioneer in bringing Canadian women to the forefront of the women's professional golf world. She was also an innovator; helping to develop a set of golf clubs designed for use by women and producing an instructional video. She used this Golden Ram 7-iron in every one of her LPGA victories, including back to back Dinah Shore victories. She continues to give back to her sport by coaching.
Collection: Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum

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