Cecil Leitch shares a record with Joyce Wethered for winning four British Ladies Amateur titles. A self-taught golfer, she was one of the dominant players of the 1910s and 20s. Unlike her contemporaries, she preferred to play in the wind. She changed the way women golf by hitting hard, rather than daintily, as most women did at the time.
Leitch was just 17 when she defeated match-play champion Tom Ball in 1909 on his own course at Blundellsands near Liverpool. Women’s suffrage got a boost in 1910 when she soundly defeated leading amateur Harold Hilton in a 72-hole contest at Walton Heath and Sunningdale. The weather was rainy and windy, much like the conditions she endured on the primitive course in Silloth where she learned the game, allowing her to come from behind and win 2&1. In 1914, Leitch defeated Gladys Ravenscroft at Hunstanton and became the British Ladies Amateur Champion, a title held previously by Muriel Dodd. She repeated this feat three times after WWI.
Leitch is considered the foremost figure in women’s golf of her day and one of the game’s greatest personalities. In all, her career included 12 national titles, one Canadian Women’s Amateur and five French Ladies Amateur Championships. In the early 1920s, she wrote two books on golf, “Golf” and “Golf Simplified.”