Marlene Stewart Streit remembers her first golf experience at 12 years old in Ontario. She attributes her success to determination, consistency, and hatred of losing. In preferring amateurism over professionalism, Stewart Streit also discusses her success and being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame and winning Female Athlete of the Year.

Creator: Bruce Weir

© 2012, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. All Rights Reserved.


Transcript

I got into golf, my neighbour Anne Sharp was a good player in Ontario and Canada, asked me if I’d like to go to the golf course one day with her and of course I was thrilled, I was 12 years old. And so I shagged balls for her, she practiced and gave me the bag and I ran out there and picked them up. And from there, and this was at Lookout Point Golf and Country Club in Font Hill. And the pro there, Gordon McInnis knew I was interested and I went up to caddy and it evolved. And Gordon McInnis was the only teacher I ever had and I guess you’d call him coach in these days. So he sort of taught me everything, how to eat and how to act and how to play the golf course.

I think I was very determined as a little girl, and probably my success in golf was my consistency. I didn’t hit the ball very far but I never hit it very far off line and I had a pretty good short game. And probably the most important thing is I think I really had that great will to win that you really need, and you know I really hated to lose.

You know at the time the LPGA was just starting, they started in 1950 and they weren’t really playing for very much money. I didn’t like the idea of living out of a suitcase and to tell you the truth I think it was the best decision I ever made because I have certainly enjoyed all the times that I’ve represented Canada on international teams and I think that’s probably been one of my greatest joys in golf is to represent my country.

I’ve won 30 national or international championships. And actually I have won at least one national or international championship in each decade from 1951 to 2003 on three different continents. I’ve been very fortunate that way and I think to have been able to stay an amateur I’ve had that opportunity to do that. And I really give a lot of credit to the Canadian Ladies’ Golf Association for sending me to these countries because I probably would never have gotten there otherwise.

The epitome of my whole career was when I was selected to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. I don’t think there’s any greater honour that you can get as a player you know whether it be professional or amateur and I was the first Canadian to be inducted, and we have a lot of great, great Canadian players, golfers in Canada. And so you know it was a huge honour for me and I think a huge honour for the golfing community in Canada to be inducted that year. In 2004 at the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine.

I think when I won the award I think it was just called the Canadian Press Female Athlete of the Year Award. So 1978 they named it after Bobbie Rosenfeld. I met Bobbie Rosenfeld in 1952 at the Ontario Sports Writers, Sportscasters Association dinner and she had just won in 1950 the Athlete of the First Half of the Century, Female Athlete. So that was a great thrill.


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