Peggy Kirk Bell
Peggy Kirk Bell first learned about the ministry of FCA from one of its former presidents, John Erickson, and his wife, Polly, in the 1970s. From there, she became an active supporter of the ministry as a clinician, camp organizer, and one of the first women to serve on FCA’s National Board of Trustees. Along with Captain Bill Lewis, Bell helped start the first FCA Golf Camp in 1977, which was hosted at the Pine Needles golf resort that she owns and operates in Southern Pines, N.C. She continued to host FCA retreats and FCA Golf Camps there for years. Bell passed away in November 2016 at the age of 95.
Following her collegiate career at Rollins College, Bell spent most of the 1940s on the ladies amateur tour. In 1947, she teamed with Babe Didrikson Zaharias to win the 1947 International Four-Ball. Bell won three consecutive Ohio Women’s Amateurs Championships (1947-49), the 1949 North and South Women’s Championship, and the 1949 Titleholders Championship, which was later designated as an LPGA major championship.
Bell turned professional in 1950 and began playing on the newly founded LPGA Tour, of which she was a charter member. That same year, she was played a prominent role on the United States’ Curtis Cup championship team.
She was once named one of Golf Digest’s most influential women in golf and one of the six best instructors in the U.S. Bell is a member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame. Amongst her many other honors, Bell received the USGA’s highest honor, the Bob Jones Award, which recognizes distinguished sportsmanship in golf.
In 2000, Bell was inducted into the LPGA Teaching Division Hall of Fame. In 2004, she became the first woman inducted into GOLF Magazine’s World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame, and in 2007, received the PGA’s First Lady of Golf Award. In 2012, the JTBC Founders Cup honored Bell as one of its annual “Pioneers” in recognition of her trailblazing spirit and exemplary participation in the development and advancement of the LPGA Tour and women’s golf. In 2013, she received the LPGA Patty Berg Award.
Bell is the author of A Woman’s Way to Better Golf and the host of two instructional videos for women’s golfers. In 2008, the Triad Youth Golf Foundation launched the Peggy Kirk Bell Girls’ Golf Tour, for which Bell served as the honorary chairwoman.