Sue Turner, the manager of the Great Britain & Ireland team for the 2012 Curtis Cup Match at The Nairn Golf Club, passed away on Feb. 14 at the age of 50 after battling an illness since last autumn.
Having played golf for Wales at the girls’ level, then representing her country in the Home Internationals of 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1991 and 1994, Turner really came into her own in the roles of team captain and manager. She is without doubt the most successful captain of the Welsh ladies’ international team, having masterminded successive Home Internationals victories in 2008 and 2009. She remained in the position of Team Captain to the present day.
Turner’s reputation as a highly-respected and very effective player motivator brought her to the attention of the Ladies Golf Union, resulting in an invitation in 2007 to captain the five-strong GB&I Team for the quadrennial Five Nations (former Commonwealth) Trophy Tournament in South Africa. Unsurprisingly, she led her players to victory against teams from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.
One of Turner’s key strengths was in knowing her players better that they knew themselves. As a captain, manager, international selector and general golf enthusiast, she probably spent more time with her players, both on and off the course, than almost anyone else in ladies’ amateur golf.
With a passion for developing young players, Turner was delighted to have the opportunity to captain the GB&I under-16 girls team in the inaugural Junior Vagliano Trophy match against the Continent of Europe last June at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club in her home country of Wales. At the time of her death, she was still fully committed to team golf, serving as manager of the GB&I Team which is due to play in the 37th Curtis Cup match against the United States of America June 8-10 at The Nairn Golf Club.
The Ladies Golf Union will be selecting the eight-woman squad on March 27 after a three-day practice session at Nairn for the final 12 candidates.
Shona Malcolm, the LGU’s CEO, said: “Ladies’ golf in Great Britain & Ireland is poorer today following the loss of Sue Turner. Her enthusiasm and love of life were infectious and permeated through every team she worked with. She gave us so much, and had so much more to give.
"Many players in both the amateur and professional game owe a huge debt of gratitude to Sue, and all she would ever want back is that they believe in themselves, make the best of their opportunities and fulfil their potential.”
Motivation indeed for the 2012 GB&I Curtis Cup Team.
GB&I captain Tegwen Matthews, who is vacationing in South Africa, sent this message regarding Turner’s passing:
“Needless to say I am absolutely speechless and devastated as are her family and so many friends,” wrote Matthews. “Sue Turner's passion for her family, Wales, golf and life itself, was intoxicating and infectious. Sue without a doubt was the most successful Welsh captain ever and her rapport and motivation of all the girls in her teams was second to none.
“I will miss her so much as will everyone who has been lucky enough to share time with her. Sue and I were so looking forward to the Curtis Cup and I am extremely heavy hearted that she will not be there with me.
“Sue, like myself, was always passionate about all things Welsh and both of us so very proud to be named as captain and manager for the Curtis Cup. Whilst Sue will not now be there in person, I know she will be there watching us and we will be doing everything in our power to make her proud.”
Turner’s pride in her home country and her teams were renowned, but her proudest golfing moment happened last year at Strathmore Golf Club, where she watched her daughter, Lottie, pull on her red Welsh team jumper for the first time.
Turner is survived by her husband, Mike, and Lottie, in Sue’s own words her “two favorite people.”