Barlow, Mrs Ronald Hardwick (Nonna Nevin)

Born: County Waterford c. 1866

North and South Womens' Championship (Pinehurst, N.C.)
Winner: 1915,1916,1919   

Womens’ Eastern Golf Association Championship

The Women’s Eastern Golf Association Amateur Championship is one of the oldest and most prestigious women’s amateur championships in the United States. It is one of the few major women’s amateur championships that is played in stroke-play format.

  • 1911(Brae Burn)
  • 1912 (Philadelphia Cricket Club)
  • 1913 (Brae Burn)
  • 1919 (Apawamis)
  • 1920 (Merion)
  • 1909 US Ladies Amateur Championship (Merion) beaten by Dorothy Campbell Hurd
  • 1912 US Ladies Amateur Championship (Essex County, Mass.) beaten by Margaret Curtis
  • 1914 North and South Womens’ Championship (Pinehurst, N.C.) beaten by Miss F. Harvey
  • 1918 North and South Womens’ Championship (Pinehurst, N.C.) beaten by Dorothy Campbell Hurd


1930 President of United States Senior Womens’ Golf Association. In 1913 her official handicap was plus 1. Georgiana M. Bishop along with Nona (Mrs. Roland) Barlow, Mrs. Frank Enos, Myra Paterson and Helen Payson(Mrs. Richard) Corson founded the US Senior Women’s Golf Association in 1923.

Nonna and her husband Ronald, a retired army officer, came to America with her three children in 1898. Although born in Ireland it is believed she spent a lot of time in England.

While she never won the US Amateur her record is very impressive and was neigh on invincible in Phildelphia her home state where she won the state championship nine times between 1905 and 1923. Nonna was also runner-up five times between 1902 and 1925.

The 1909 US Ladies Amateur Championship was played at Merion and there were sixty-seven starters of which 32 reached the matchplay stages. Nonna Barlow lost to Dorothy Campbell in the final by 3 and 2. Campbell was the reigning British and Scottish Amateur champion but despite this Nonna Barlow was able to hold her off until the thirteenth.

After the 1912 Eastern Amateur Championship the ‘American Golfer’ wrote: “For sustained, consistent scoring, the Merion woman’s work has probably never been equalled in any competition in which women have participated in this country” .

Curiously in the 1912 US Womens’ Amateur Championship Nonna was beaten by Margaret Curtis who, according to Rhonda Glenn’s much acclaimed, The Illustrated History of Women’s Golf, was according to local newspapers innocently using cocaine to deaden the pain of a severe cut sustained the night before and for most of the round the blood was seeping through the bandage. Despite this and all but two fingers of Miss Curtis’ hand being bandage Nonna lost by 3 and 2. Nonna’s defeat was laid squarely on her putting as she managed to three-putt eight times over sixteen holes, a damning statistic.

Mabel S. Hoskins book Golf For Women provides a number of illustration of Mrs Barlow’s swing together with an insight into her unorthodox mechanics of her swing where she would only bend her left knee in an abrupt action at the top of the backswing as opposed to the natural gradual process on bending the knee during the backswing. Whatever about the methodolgy the results were irrefutable proof as to its effectiveness.

Source: Golf For Women: Mabel S. Hoskins

Nonna Barloe died 27 August 1958 in her home in Ardmore, PA at 92 years of age. She played golf into her seventies playing on the first team for the Merion Cricket Club. She had a son who died in the WWI and a daughter Mrs Valentine N. Bieg of St. David’s PA. By 1943 Nonna had gone blind.

In her honour Merion established the Nonna Barlow Cup, a fourball strokeplay event open to Class A players and played over the East Course at Merion and organised by the Womens’ Golf Association of Philadelphia.

Source: USGA Bulletin – November 1912