Born in Montreal, Judy Darling-Evans was first introduced to the game at Whitlock Golf Club where her grandfather, J.A. Darling, a Quebec Amateur champion himself, served as the club’s first president.
Her father, Bill won 11 club titles and the Western Canada championship. Her mother, Dora, twice captured the Québec Women’s Amateur crown and won the Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship in 1936.
Her sister Mary was a three-time Québec junior champion. As well, her brother Brian was twice named to the junior interprovincial team and was a five-time member of the Québec team in matches against Ontario.
In 1953, her family also held membership at Royal Montreal Golf Club, although she continued to compete under the Whitlock banner.
It was during her time at Royal Montreal that she was mentored and coached by longtime pro and Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member Pat Fletcher, the last Canadian to win the Canadian Open.
In 1952, she was runner-up in the Québec Junior championship as a 14-year old and the following year, she captured her first Québec Junior title.
Her success in Québec junior play continued with a runner-up finish in 1955, before winning her second of three Quebec Junior crowns in 1956. She would go on to capture national attention with a runner-up finish at the 1956 Canadian Junior Girls’ Championship.
By age 19, she had become one of the province’s elite players. In 1957 she captured the first of five consecutive Québec Amateur titles (1957-1961), earning her the distinction of becoming the first golfer to win both the Quebec Junior and Amateur championships in one year.
She carried that success to the national level by capturing the 1957 Canadian Junior title and two years later. she earned a selection to the Canadian women’s team competing in the 1959 Commonwealth Games in St. Andrews, Scotland, where she helped Canada to a second-place finish.
In 1960, after graduating from McGill University, she was runner-up in the Canadian Ladies’ Close Amateur Championship before winning the Canadian Amateur Championship.
That victory was historic as it marked the first time a mother-daughter duo – her mother Dora won the Amateur title in 1936 – would have their names inscribed on the Duchess of Connaught Trophy.
That year she would rank third in voting for Canadian Female Athlete of the Year.
In 1961, Darling-Evans captured her record fifth consecutive Québec Ladies’ Amateur title and went on to successfully defend her Canadian Amateur championship. She was again nominated for Canadian Female Athlete of the year, eventually finishing second in the balloting.
Later that year, she married Douglas Evans. That was followed by the birth of their first child in the summer of 1962 and eight months later, after taking more than a year off from golf, Darling-Evans accepted the invitation to play for Canada in the 1963 Commonwealth matches in Australia.
Those Commonwealth matches were to be her last hurrah as a competitor as she redirected her focus toward family life.
In 1970, she rejoined Royal Montreal Golf Club and two years later entered the Québec Women’s Amateur Championship. Although she had spent nearly a decade away from competitive golf, her captured her sixth provincial Amateur title in 1972.
Amateur golfing success continued into her later years with a win (1988) and runner-up finish (1989) at the Québec Senior Women’s Championship.
Darling-Evans was recognized with induction into the Quebec Golf Hall of Fame in 1988 and, in a conversation with Hutch, chatted about growing up in a golfing family, being coached by Pat Fletcher and the contributions still being made by contemporaries such as Marlene Streit.
Click Play below to listen and please allow 10 seconds for the sound to cue up.