History of the Fairway Ladies of Franklin Park

Before the internet even existed. Before computers and smartphone, email and websites. And before Annika Sorenstam or Tiger Woods took a single professional swing, thirty-three women gathered at one of the oldest public golf courses in America and began the Fairway Ladies.   

The year was 1990. And the mission was simple: a create a club here in the city of Boston to provide women, especially women of color, an opportunity to learn and play golf and, not incidentally, to get consistent tee times on one of the historic golf courses of the country. The same course on which Bob Jones, Donald J. Ross and Tiger Woods have strode.

Bernice Harris, the club’s founder, served as President, Mary Pope was Vice President; Faye Slayton was Secretary, Rhoda Christmas, Treasurer and Cathy Colebut, Handicap Chair. Friends from the men’s club, including Keith Walcott and George Lyons stepped up with guidance and support.

Some of our charter members are active to this day, including Vera Butler, Rhoda Christmas, Denise Dodds, Elizabeth Klinger, Mary Pope, Faye Slayton, and Debra Watson. In the first year, most players were beginners. League times were 2:00 p.m. on Sunday and 5:00 p.m. on Friday.

In 1995, the Fairway Ladies starting playing in the Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts (WGAM) Spring Team tournaments. It’s a great opportunity to meet and play other women on their courses and ours. And we’re proud to say we’ve won eight Spring Team Cups over the years. In 2013 we played in the WGAM Fall Cup in 2013 and made it to the finals. The victory parade doesn’t stop there, our members often play in other tournaments around the state. In 1998, we joined the Southwest Suburban League (SWSL). Franklin Park has hosted the annual SWSL Field Day four times.

In addition to a Club Championship, with flights for all handicap levels, and several fun tournaments throughout the season, In 2000, with the support of the entire Franklin Park Community, we ran our first charity tournament, raising over $9,000 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The tradition continued when Faye Slayton began the “Wish List Tournament,” to provide Christmas gifts for children living in homeless shelters. In 2010, a tournament raised funds for the Greater Boston Food Bank. And in 2011, we helped with a tournament to benefit Hearth, a non-profit organization dedicated to the ending homelessness among the elderly. Stayed tuned. This year plans are underway for another great event in support of another community organization.

Now we’re over 70 members strong, with handicaps ranging from the single digits to the 30s. With prime tee times on both Saturday and Sunday mornings, for which members sign up on a week-by-week basis. We’re from all over the greater Boston area, we’re old timers and newbies, we’re serious and playful, we’re cart riders and walkers. What brings us together is a heart that sings when we make that putt. Kill that drive. Finesse that chip right up to the hole. Or better yet, in.

From the 318 yard, par 4 first hole to the let’s-share-some-wings-out-on-the-patio 19th, The Fairway Ladies are about coming together for the love of the game with a great group of ladies.

Will you join us?

Drop us a line at info@fairwayladies.org if you’d you like to know more.