Seventeen provincial women’s golf titles to her credit.
Thirty appearances for Newfoundland and Labrador on the national stage.
Impressive numbers for one of the province’s best female golfers of all time.
Kathleen Jean, a Quebec native who has called Stephenville home since she was eight years old, is among the 2017 inductees for the Golf Newfoundland and Labrador Hall of Fame.
Jean accepted her award at the Golf NL Hall of Fame banquet at Bally Haly Golf Club over the weekend with her husband, Tom Byrne, stepdaughter, Kimberly, and stepdaughter, Tanya and her husband Terry House, by her side.
“A long career and I worked hard, and to be recognized for it is certainly a great honour,”
Jean said Tuesday morning.
Jean was active in a number of team sports growing up in the airport town. When she discovered golf she found something that kept her busy during the summers and she liked the idea of being in control of what she does because she didn’t have to depend on anybody else for success.
“You had nobody to blame for anything that went on but yourself,” she said.
She won her first junior golf championship in 1980. Her first amateur women’s crown came in 1993.
Those two championship wins are the two moments that are really special to her.
Her first junior crown came with a win over Marie Graham, a budding female golfer who had stood in her way for a couple of championship runs before finally knocking her off top spot on the leaderboard.
It was the same scenario on the first amateur win. Jill Winsor was a force on the provincial women’s golf scene in the early 1980s and Jean had finished second on a number of occasions before finally beating Winsor for the first time in 1993.
“Being able to finally get over the hump and beat them was certainly a thrill for me,” she said.
She has shared the golf course with some of the country’s top female golfers, including Canadian legends Dawn Coe-Jones and Lori Kane, and have built lifelong friendships with fellow Newfoundland and Labrador golfers like Jan Peters of St. John’s and Judy Gillam of Corner Brook so she has enjoyed the social aspect of the game as much as the spotlight that comes with winning championships on a consistent basis.
It’s a sport that has been good to her and her family so she expects to continue playing as long as her health allows.
Jean has slowed down over the past few years because her work schedule as
a laboratory technician at Western Health in Stephenville hasn’t allowed her much time on the greens. She has been just buying a Golf Canada card and paying green fees at various golf courses to get out for a game when she could.
That’s about to change.
She expects to spend more time with the golf clubs in hand because she is set to retire from Western Health in January.
More time on the golf course sounds good to her.