Curtis Cup

Obituary: Jeanne Bisgood

The R&A
29 May 24
3 mins

Jeanne Mary Bisgood CBE, who was the oldest surviving Curtis Cup player and former captain, has died at the age of 100. She enjoyed celebrating her 100th birthday on 11 August 2023, and was surrounded by her family and friends in Dorset. 

The Englishwoman represented Great Britain and Ireland on three occasions in the Curtis Cup, in 1950, 1952 and 1954. Bisgood was also the non-playing captain in 1970 for the match played at Brae Burn Country Club in West Newton, Massachusetts.  Bisgood’s former England international team-mate, Bridget Jackson MBE, has fond recollections of a talented player and one with a passion to help others.

Determined support 

“When I was a younger member of the England team, Jeanne made you feel most welcome and gave you plenty of encouragement,” said Jackson. Bisgood’s determined nature and support of women’s and girls’ amateur golf has often gone to great lengths, even in her later years.  “When the Curtis Cup was played at Dún Laoghaire in 2016 we discovered that Jeanne was staying in a bed & breakfast establishment,” continued Jackson. “This was not far from the official hotel and yet Jeanne was making her way to the course on public transport.   “From then on we organised lifts for her and she was able to attend some of the Curtis Cup past players’ events and the match without worrying about her travel arrangements.” 
Bisgood represented Great Britain and Ireland on three occasions in the Curtis Cup, in 1950, 1952 and 1954.

Talented career

A career amateur, Bisgood won the English Women's Amateur Championship three times, in 1951, 1953 and 1957. She was also part of two victorious Vagliano Trophy teams for GB&I, beating France in 1949 and 1951. She also won a number of open championships on the continent, claiming victories in Sweden (1952), Germany and Italy (1953), Portugal (1954) and Norway (1955).  Bisgood represented England eight times in the Women's Home Internationals being on the winning team four occasions, in 1949, 1953, 1954 and 1958.  Bisgood studied History at the University of Oxford in 1941, but left after a year to join the Women's Royal Naval Service. She worked at Stanmore, an outstation of Bletchley Park, which housed over 50 Enigma code-breaking machines. After the war she trained as a barrister, passing her final examination in 1947. She joined Poole Council in 1955 and was active in the education area.  

Passion for sport

Bisgood was awarded a CBE in the 1982 Birthday Honours as chairman of the Dorset Education Committee, while she was also given an honorary Doctor of Education at Bournemouth University in 2018.  She was the first lady president of Parkstone Golf Club and was a member for over 80 years.  Gillian Kirkwood, the writer and great supporter of women’s golf, also speaks highly of Bisgood and her passion for the sport.  “She was a very clever lady, a barrister and magistrate” said Kirkwood. “I last met her when she attended the Curtis Cup at Nairn on 2012.  We were playing the ‘Supporters Saucer’ at Nairn Dunbar in appalling weather and she came out to watch. She was nearly 90 at the time.”