100 years before the cell phone
- swing studies of champion women from between the wars.
Simone De La Chaume (later Lacoste).
The ladies are coming! In the two decades after the first world war, most of the world was busy finding and adapting to a new order. Fortunately for America, the economic boom of the “roaring twenties” was about to begin. America would see a large increase in the numbers playing golf, most particularly in the lady's section.
The ladies were literally on the march as the newly won right to vote on both sides of the Atlantic gave them the license to enjoy a new age of hope. A woman's duties in the 19th century had been related to the cult of domesticity, in which a woman's virtue was tied to piety and submissiveness. It was the arrival of the twentieth century that saw a gradual change in female confidence and attitude. Women were becoming more aware they did not have to stay within the restrictive boundaries of those previously established marital roles.
Historically, for lady's golf, it was probably the greatest period for elegance and style there has ever been.
The female competitors who took part in those adventurous times may not have had the robotic repetitiveness of their modern counterparts, or have been able to send the ball 250 yards on the fly, but they left a legacy of grace and balance with a touch of mystique that enriched the golfing world and will never be forgotten.
It was in these times that the film industry and Hollywood began to conquer the world: its productions attracted crowds of cinema-goers in all the western nations and became the major source of public entertainment. It was estimated that at the end of the decade in America alone, there were over 90 million cinema-goers.
It was also at the beginning of the roaring twenties, or Jazz age, that the rise of film stars like Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson, and Clara Bow started to influence the whole of society. Their dress and costume, both on the film set and privately, plus a seemingly confident public awareness, had a huge effect on the rest of women's culture.
Photo:Complete with flapper headgear and hairdo, the multi-faceted and multi-talented Gloria Swanson was one of the most famous actresses to take part in both silent and talkiefilms, and continued into the colour films from the thirties.
With all the new developments in the media, radio, and advertising press, it was the female element that gained the biggest stimulus. The flappers were the fashion leaders of the day. They smoked in public, drank alcohol (particularly cool in the prohibition years), and danced at jazz clubs. The flapper necklines were low and their dresses were short.
See Edith Cummings and "The Great Gatsby."
Zelda Fitzgerald was the original flapper. Husband Scott Fitzgerald was intrigued by the oddly appropriate title and even became inspired and produced work based on Zelda's lifestyle.
Zelda Fitzgerald was the most acclaimed of the early twenties flappers. She played golf every day with her best friend Xandra Karman for a while and had a good swing. Husband Scott Fitzgerald (famous as the author of "The Great Gatsby") also played with Zelda on some occasions at their home club the White Bear Yacht Club in Minnesota, but unlike his wife, he showed little aptitude or interest for the game.
The following female golfers are some of the pioneers of those times. These short biographies focus mostly on the player's effect on the golfing world and how they developed their personal swing style.
Marion Hollins 1892-1944
There was no better example of confidence and self-assertion than New Yorker Marion Hollins. She was sophisticated, cosmopolitan, and excelled at all sports she took her hand to, including golf.
An active suffragette and fighter for the women's cause, Marion Hollins was able to steer her life over the high walls and closed gates of the male-dominated bastions better than any other female of any period. History records her greatest gift to golf was not as a player but as a contributor, project manager, and architect of three of the most famous courses in the world, Pasatiempo, Augusta, and Cypress Point. Thanks to her foresight, determination, and generosity (she created her own wealth, even after her father lost his fortune in the wall street crash) the golf game would enjoy her greatest achievements for posterity.
The swing study of Marion shows a well-tutored action. She had received lessons right from the beginning as a nine-year-old child. How much her mechanics were influenced by the legendary teacher Ernest Jones is difficult to say (Hollins recruited him from England in 1922 to teach on Long Island, New York) because she was already one of the best female players in America and had just won the 1921 U.S. Women's Amateur. She had already finished runner-up in the same event as early as 1913. Nevertheless, it was a perfect match for both teacher and pupil as Jones had his reputation seriously boosted and Marion Hollins gained an excellent international coach for her projects.
Ernest Jones, 1887-1965. Teacher of Virginia Van Wie, Glenna Collett Vare, Lawson Little, Betty Hicks, and many more.
Much of the basis for the Ernest Jones method was developed when he lost his lower right leg while in action in the first world war. Jones had to develop a new sense and understanding of balance after he recovered from the injury and went back to the driving range.
For more on the Jones discovery and influence see the link- The history of the golf swing.
Let the hands and then body respond to the weight of the club head.
One of the thoughts that Ernest Jones's teaching installed in Marion was a greater awareness of rhythm and timing. After initial lessons, her favorite word in golf became POISE. It was her own alternative to thinking pause (recommended by Jones). By implanting that in her swing sequence, Marion ensured she started the forward response with the lower body(see the film).
As so often seems to happen with generous and formerly blessed people fate suddenly deals a bad hand and causes life to nose dive, taking everything that had been enjoyed (and possibly taken for granted) away. So it was with Marion Hollins. In 1937 she was involved in a car accident whereby she hit her skull on a hard object and suffered a serious concussion. After a period of convalescence, she returned to society, but it was like life had been driven out of her and she became only a shadow of her former self.
Inducted posthumously into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2020, Marion Hollins was just 51 years old when she died of cancer on Aug. 27, 1944
Meanwhile, back in Europe, Britain and France faced crippling war debts, deep economic recession, and high unemployment. In addition, Britain's poor labour relations led to the General Strike of 1926. Nevertheless, like America, European ladies' golf was on the rise. Cecil Leitch and Joyce Wethered, the great champions of the last decade, continued to carry the baton and dominate most events, but it was in the early twenties that the continental female golf game started to see players with games that could challenge not only at their own national level but also in British events.
Inevitably, the same ladies would even have the audacity to start winning the biggest prizes in Europe.
Simone de la Chaume(Simone Lacoste).
Simone de la Chaume was born in Paris on November 24, 1908.
Like Marion Hollins, Simone de La Chaume was born into a wealthy family, with her father being the director of finance in France and her mother the daughter of a successful Paris solicitor.
Showing signs of being a champion as she holds a perfect balance at nine years old.