One night late last year the telephone rang at a house in Scotland. “Aberlady 305,” said the lady answering in the manner of someone who used telephones in the days when three-figure numbers were preceded by the name of the local exchange. The vowels were firm and crisp and English.
“Barbara?” I enquired diffidently. “Is that Barbara Dixon?” At that there was a very hesitant “yes.” She sounded puzzled, bemused even, that someone whose voice she did not recognise could call her by her first name and her maiden name.
Fifty years ago, quite a few people in golf knew her name. Barbara Dixon was the English Ladies’ golf champion, at 23 one of the youngest ever, and she was in trouble with the Ladies’ Golf Union. Her sin was that, having reached the last stages of a contest searching for Miss Golf 1970 she had just been told she would lose her amateur status if she accepted a prize. In phraseology redolent of those days, the six contestants who were judged on one photograph of them fully clothed and on their answers to a number of que...
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