Lewis, one of just two women to achieve PGA Master Professional status, sadly passed away after fighting leukaemia
PGA’s First Female Captain Beverly Lewis Dies Aged 71
Beverly Lewis, former BBC TV commentator, PGA Master Professional and the PGA’s first female captain, has died aged 71 after a long fight against leukaemia.
She took up golf aged 18 and went on to become one of just two women to achieve PGA Master Professional status.
From Essex, Beverly played at Thorndon Park Golf Club in Brentwood for her entire golfing life after winning the Essex Ladies Amateur Championship.
She turned pro in 1978 and became a founder member of the Women’s PGA which she chaired between 1979 and 1981, and also in 1986.
Lewis played on Tour for eight years, winning twice on the WPGA before turning her attention to coaching.
She coached for the English Ladies’ Golf Association as well as county teams and players of all abilities ranging from aspiring young pros to regular club members.
She was a PGA Professional at four golf clubs in Essex: JJB Golf Centre, Romford; Langdon Hills Golf Club, Bulphan; Garon Park Golf Complex, Southend-on-Sea; and Brentwood Park Golf Club, Brentwood.
Beverly was also a broadcaster, working on golf coverage for the BBC, Channel 7 in Australia and ESPN among others.
As well as her broadcasting work, she contributed to golf magazines, wrote 10 books on coaching, was an after-dinner speaker and became a qualified R&A referee.
She would then go on to become the PGA’s first female captain in 2005, representing the organisation at major golf events including the Open, Ryder Cup and the Masters.
PGA Chairman Dr Phil Weaver explained why Beverley was chosen as captain in 2005: “As the role had been undertaken by a man for more than a century since the Association was formed we felt it was time a woman was considered, especially given the increasing number becoming PGA Professionals and the rise of the women’s game.
“In that respect Beverly was the obvious choice. She was highly respected in the Association and the game, had a wealth of experience and when we put her name forward the Board was unanimous in its agreement.
“It was a ground-breaking move at the time and Beverly was stunned. Initially she thought it was a wind-up! But, as we expected, she proved to be an outstanding captain.”
Former PGA Chairman and friend of Lewis’ Alan Walker said, “Beverly was one of the most charming, considerate and passionate people I have ever had the privilege to meet in my life as a PGA Professional. Her passing today is one of the saddest days I can remember.
“Her zest for life with her husband Ken and her love of golf was unparalleled and my thoughts and prayers go out to him who must be devastated at the loss of his cherished wife.
“Beverly accomplished so much in her life as a tournament professional, respected coach, TV pundit, author of numerous golf books, committee person and of course the first lady in the history of the Professional Golfers’ Association to be elected its captain.
“I cannot think of any area of professional golf in which Bev didn’t have an interest and I will miss our chats and emails between us on various golf topics.
“In the past months Beverly had made good progress and was once again playing regular golf at her beloved Thorndon Park Golf Club, but just a couple of weeks ago we received the heart-breaking news the leukaemia had returned – we were all so shocked.
“I will remember Beverly as a beacon for all that is good in a person – someone who always did the right thing, acted with courtesy, humility and professionalism and her enthusiasm for golf and life was overwhelming. We have lost a beautiful person.”
Robert Maxfield, The PGA’s chief executive, also paid tribute and added: “Beverly showed what could be achieved by PGA Professionals.
“In doing so, she was a credit to the Association and the world of golf. She was unfailingly courteous, friendly, willing to pass on her extensive knowledge of the game and always generous with her time.
“We have lost a friend as well as a valued and distinguished PGA Member and it’s fitting the award for the foremost female PGA Assistant of the Year, the Beverly Lewis Trophy, bears her name.
“On behalf of The PGA I extend our heartfelt and sincere condolences to Ken, her husband, wonderful family and legion of friends.”