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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

ADA MACKENZIE

Inducted in 1955

Member Details

Date of Birth: October 30, 1891
Place of Birth: Toronto, Ontario
Date of Passing: January 25, 1973
Sport: Golf
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1919, 1925, 1926, 1933,1935

Canadian Ladies Amateur Champion

1926, 1927, 1931, 1933

Canadian Ladies Closed Championship

1927

United States Women's Amateur Championship, medallist and semi-finalist

1932

United States Women's Amateur Championship, semi-finalist

1933

Canadian Press female athlete of the year

1955-60, 1962,1965

Canadian Senior Women's Champion

1965, 1969

Ontario Senior Women's Champion

Honoured Member ADA MACKENZIE
Inspire

Story

Ada Mackenzie was quite simply a pioneer. She was perhaps the most successful Canadian female golfer of all time - and that's not her most significant accomplishment. Arriving on the sport scene in the 1920s at a time when women were achieving more than they ever had before, Mackenzie went to great lengths to ensure that women would have access to their own facilities and equipment and created what today is the oldest women's golf club in North America. The daughter of golf-playing parents, Mackenzie was an accomplished all-around athlete at Toronto's Havergal College. She captured her first major golf title in 1919 at age 27, when she won her first Canadian "Open" Amateur championships - "open" in that non-Canadians were welcome to compete. Over the next 16 years, Mackenzie won four more Opens, five Canadian "Closed" Amateur championships (only Canadians could compete), as well as numerous Ontario provincial and Toronto titles. She was twice a semi-finalist at the U.S. Women's Amateur championship, in 1927 and 1932, and competed internationally - from winning tournaments in Bermuda to being asked to participate on the Scottish team competing in the 1929 British Ladies' Open. In 1933, Mackenzie was named the female athlete of the year by Canadian Press. Throughout her competitive career, Mackenzie was struck by the lack of access women had to golf courses and tee times. Inspired by the examples she had seen in Britain, Mackenzie set about to establish a women's-only golf course. She organized a bond issue - $30,000 from 300 original $100 memberships - and raised the necessary capital in just six weeks. In 1924, the Ladies' Golf and Tennis Club of Toronto opened in Thornhill, north of Toronto. Only women were allowed to become members, and though men could play on the course, the most exclusive tee times were reserved for women. Today, the Ladies' Golf Club of Toronto remains the oldest women's-only golf course in North America. Mackenzie also contributed to golf in other ways. She helped found the Ontario Junior Ladies' Championship and donated a trophy for the tournament. As well, in 1930, she opened a women's clothing store to offer more suitable golf attire for women than the long wool skirts in which she first started playing. She was involved in this business until 1959. During this time, Mackenzie remained active on the golf course. Between 1955 and 1965 she won eight Canadian Senior Women's championships, with her last major tournament win coming in the 1969 Ontario Senior Women's championships when she was 78. Throughout her life, Mackenzie maintained that the secret to her success was to "treat athletics like recreation." More important, female golfers can be thankful that she was determined to see women treated as equals.


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