Old golfers never die, they only fade away! After a long illness borne with characteristic patience and equanimity, a hugely important and influential figure in women’s golf in Ireland for the past six decades, Ann Heskin, passed away peacefully on November 19th at the Mercy University Hospital, Cork.
If ever asked what her fondest memory in the game she played so well and loved so much might be, this quiet and shy lady would have undoubtedly said her bi-lingual Captain’s victory speech, through a loudhailer from the patio of the clubhouse at Waterloo Golf Club in Belgium. It came following Ireland’s historic win in the European Team Championship in 1983, later being entertained by Count Bernard de Nonancourt, President of Laurent Perrier, followed by a Buffet Supper hosted by The Royal Belgian Golf Federation and would have been hard to beat for emotional content.
The former Belgian King Leopold III was a keen follower on the golf course all week and he made a big deal of congratulating the winning captain (who to her self-declared and eternal shame did not know who he was) and Irish EU Commissioner Mr. Richard Burke also entertained the tired but happy team and officials in his 13th-floor-offices in the EU Building on the Monday morning afterwards prior to the team’s departure home to Ireland.
Ann had an extraordinary playing career followed by a wise and calm presence as a R&A-qualified referee and in administrative affairs. She was victorious in the Irish Senior Cup with Douglas Golf Club in 1967, ’68, ’73, ’78, ’80, ’85, ’86 and ’87. She was Munster champion in 1970, ’71, ’74, ’75 and ’78 and a member of the Munster team from ’64 to ’84. She represented Ireland as a player in the Home Internationals in 1969, ’70, ’72, ’75 and ’77, and was non-playing captain of the Irish team that won the Home Internationals in ’82 and ’83.
Ann also captained the Ireland Junior Ladies European Championships team in 1981. A national selector from 1984 to 1989 and again from 1991 to 1996, and an LGU selector from 1991 to 1994, her contribution to ladies golf reached its climax when she was elected President of the ILGU in 2005/6.
May she rest in peace.