ELAINE Ratcliffe is a true legend of Cheshire golf in which she enjoyed a successful career at amateur and professional level for many years at international level and she has fond memories of her time in Cheshire golf after beginning it at Sandbach Golf Club then being a member of Sandiway for many years.
Her latest feat is to be selected as the Captain of the Great Britain and Ireland Curtis Cup team who will take on the USA at Conway Golf Club on June 12-14.
It is Sandiway Golf Club’s Centenary year and their Lady Captain Sally Brown was delighted when Elaine accepted her invitation to attend a ladies luncheon at Sandiway and meet up and give talk to the ladies.
Sally said: “I invited Elaine to come and talk to the ladies in the light of her becoming the Curtis Cup Captain, her long association with the club and her phenomenal golfing achievements.
“She was once referred to in the press as ‘Sandiway’s most famous golfer’, so I thought that everyone would want to hear how she was getting on -And they did - 80 ladies gathered to listen to her!
“Elaine gave a very warm and personal presentation, about her golfing journey and the important part Sandiway Golf Club and its members had played in it.
“From when she was a youngster playing with a lively junior section, to being made to feel so welcome by the ladies, and the club in general.
“As her distinguished amateur career progressed, she always tried to make time to come back from playing in county and national competitions, to compete in the scratch matches at the club… she said that the friends and support she got from the club meant that she saw golf as being fun and easy and that she loved representing Sandiway and the county.
“Elaine also said that it was a great honour to be asked to Captain the Curtis Cup Team and she was looking forward to it being played at Conwy on June 12 -14 this year.
“She loved playing in her two Curtis Cups, in Killarney in 1996 and Minneapolis in 1998.and said that she would never forget when GB & Ireland won the Cup in Killarney and she wants her team to have the same incredible memories.
“She was inspiring as a speaker, and I have no doubt she will be as a Captain.
“On a final note, in recognition of her long association with Sandiway Golf Club, her golfing achievements and her services to ladies golf, the club offered her an Honorary Membership, and she was delighted to accept.”
Among Elaine’s career highlights are winning the Finnish Championship in 1997 and the English Amateur Championship in 1998.
As well as being part of the winning Curtis Cup team in 1996 she was also in the GB and I team in the Vagliano Trophy against Europe who won at Royal Aberdeen in 1997.
After turning professional she was named Rookie of the Year by the Ladies European Tour in 1999 and she was reinstated as an amateur in 2008.
She has since captained England in a number of international matches including the Ladies Home Internationals, the European Amateur Team championships and has twice led the European team in the Patsy Hankins Trophy against Asia Pacific.
Elaine added : “It was a real pleasure to come back to Sandiway, although poor weather did not allow me to play with Sally, and I am delighted to accept the honorary membership the club offered me and now look forward to the upcoming challenge of the Curtis Cup.”
Pic Elaine is pictured with club officials ltr Frank Harding (Captain), Sally Brown and President Nigel Evans