On August 31, 1935, thousands watched New Haven-born golf sensation Glenna Collett Vare win a record-breaking 6th U.S. Women’s Golf Championship at the Interlachen Country Club in Hopkins, Minnesota.
Born in New Haven in 1903, Glenda Collett Vare was an active youngster, excelling at a variety of sports including swimming, diving, and golf. She quickly gained fame as something of a golf prodigy, winning her first match in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Golf Championship at age 16 — only two years after she first took up the sport. She claimed her first Championship victory in 1922, and proceeded to completely dominate the field of women’s golf in the 1920s and 1930s, earning her a reputation as the “First Lady of American golf.”
“To make oneself a successful match player, there are certain qualities to be sought after, certain ideas must be kept in mind and certain phases of one’s attitude towards the game that come in for special notice. The three I have taken are these: love of combat, serenity of mind and fearlessness.”
– Glenna Collett Vare
Vare’s most remarkable traits were her ability to drive the ball incredible distances — over 300 yards — and her famously unshakable sense of sportsmanship, maintaining a fiercely competitive yet cordial attitude during every game. Before the Ladies Professional Golf Association was founded in 1950, the U.S. Women’s Amateur championships were the most prestigious and well-attended tournaments for female golfers. Vare’s sixth championship win was one for the history books, ensuring her lasting fame as a golf legend. She was one of six women inducted into the inaugural Women’s Golf Hall of Fame in 1950, and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1975. Today, the LPGA honors her memory with the Vare Trophy, awarded every year to a female professional golfer with the lowest scoring average.
“Glenna Collett Vare,” World Golf Hall of Fame
“Glenna Collett Vare,” Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame