USGA GOLF MUSEUM
Bertha Navarro and Golf in Mexico October 29, 2021 | Liberty Corner, N.J. By Kylie Garabed, USGA

Bertha Navarro used these clubs to become Mexico's first female national amateur champion in 1948. (USGA Museum)

Golf was first introduced to Mexico in the 1890s by tourists from America who were seeking a warm place to spend their vacation. In the decades following, the game became popular among the Mexican people and champion players like Bertha Navarro, who were born and raised in Mexico, emerged as the country’s top players.

American and Scottish golfers moved to Mexico and founded golf clubs, taught golf lessons, and even started a national championship for men amateur players in 1903. In 1926, the Mexican Golf Federation was founded with the intention to grow the game among the Mexican people and formalize the process for running the Mexican National Amateur Championship.

Under the governance of the new Mexican Golf Federation, the Mexican National Amateur Championship added a Ladies’ category which gave women in Mexico the opportunity to compete at a national level. The efforts of the Mexican Golf Federation paid off in the decades following its founding when 18 years later, Bertha Navarro representing Guadalajara Country Club became the first Mexican woman to win the Ladies category of the national championship.

Bertha Navarro’s win in 1948 was inspiring to the Mexican people who had watched more experienced players from America win their national championships for years. Navarro’s victory was a sign that golf had successfully spread in Mexico, where it still has a big presence today.

Kylie Garabed is the USGA junior curator of collections. Email her at kgarabed@usga.org.

Two of Bertha Navarro's prized possessions, including her Mexican Women's Amateur trophy (right) from 1948. (USGA Archives)

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