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Youngest Captain Emma smashes stereotype

Emma Blackburn is coming to the end of her term as the youngest Ladies Captain in Welsh golf, having taken up the role at a ground-breaking age of just 22.

The future trainee solicitor has certainly “broken down the stereotypes,” as she puts it. The highlight being to win the club championship in her captaincy year.

As Ladies Captain at Bryn Meadows in Ystrad Mynach, Gwent, the county standard player has been running the section and the charity fundraising. She was also a member of the Wales Golf Youth Panel, showing an early contribution to the sport she loves.

“I started my captaincy at the end of February, I have enjoyed the role and being in a position of responsibility,” said Blackburn, now 23, who has a law degree from Cardiff University and a Masters in Legal Practice from the University of South Wales.

“It has been great fun, I have enjoyed organising the events. Even though it has been stressful at times, overall it has been a good experience.

“Events like Captain’s Day were great, seeing the older ladies make an effort to get out and play in buggies to support the occasion. I held a dinner to announce the winners, that was a highlight.

“I would say my experiences in the golf club have helped me more in my work life than the other way round.

“Chairing committee meetings with 10 other members has been a really good experience for a 22-year-old.”

Being a member of the Wales Golf Youth Panel also provided a great start contributing to volunteering in the sport.

“The role on the Youth Panel was a fantastic opportunity, I want to see more kids starting to play golf and see the sport grow at grass roots level,” said Blackburn.

“I was the Junior Captain at the club in 2017, so it whetted the appetite for roles such as becoming the Ladies Captain.

“It is not just about playing and trying to win, it is also about supporting future generations.

“I started playing when I was five at Mountain Ash where my grandfather played. At 13 I got my first call up for the Glamorgan county squad, I really enjoyed the experience and after that started having more coaching and entering bigger competitions.

“I played for Glamorgan and then Monmouthshire after moving to Bryn Meadows. In 2015 I was the first girl to win the junior club championship.”

Despite her impressive pedigree, Blackburn was still surprised by the offer to start the journey to the Ladies Captaincy.

“It was quite funny how the captaincy came about,” she admitted. “I was sat next to the Ladies vice-captain at a dinner and she asked how I felt about becoming her vice captain the following season.

“I did not pay much attention, I thought she was joking. I was 19 at the time so thought there was no way they would ask a 19-year-old.

“She texted me afterwards about wanting to make a difference and we had a chat about the role. I thought about it for a few days but deep down I knew I wanted to do it.

“I know I would not have been able to be considered for the role without the help and support of Gary Mayo throughout my time at Bryn Meadows, my coach Keith Williams and, of course, my parents.”

As that captaincy year comes to a close, Blackburn can reflect on a golfing stereotype which was well and truly broken in her time in charge.