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Peggy Kirk Bell Turns 90 This Month


One of golf's grand ladies will celebrate her 90th birthday on October 28. Peggy Kirk Bell, the popular long-time owner of the Pine Needles and Mid Pines resorts in the North Carolina Sandhills, and a prominent player and teacher for more than 60 years, reaches a milestone in her illustrious career on that date.

"The figure 90 is one she isn't familiar with," noted a close friend. "She certainly never had that for a golf score."

A native of Findlay, Ohio, Mrs. Bell was a three-time winner of the Ohio Women's Amateur Championship. She also won the North and South in Pinehurst, the Palm Beach Am, and the Eastern Amateur.

Her most successful year was 1949 when she won the Titleholders Tournament and was invited to play on the Curtis Cup team. She turned professional in 1950 and was one of a dozen lady golfers to help found the LPGA. An avid pilot, she flew her own plane to tournaments around the country.

A Rollins College graduate, the former Peggy Kirk married Warren (Bullet) Bell, her Findlay sweetheart and a former Ohio State and professional basketball star. They came south in 1953 and bought the Pine Needles resort. He died in 1982.

Though the course was in terrible shape at the time of purchase in 1953, the Bells, the Cosgrove family and noted golfer Julius Boros scraped together $50,000 to buy the property on Midland Road. The Bells became sole owners two years later and bought the Mid Pines Club, also a Donald Ross treasure across the road, in 1994.

In 1965, Mrs. Bell - a renowned teacher - developed a series of golf schools, to be called Golfaris, which were pioneers in the individual and group instruction and are still popular today. The famed lady still is a vital part of the annual schools that attract avid students from around the nation.

Over the years she became one of golf's most honored and distinguished persons, receiving such prestigious honors as the Bobby Jones Award, LPGA Teacher of the Year, Joe Graffis Award, Richardson Award and others. She's also in the Sports Hall of Fame in Ohio and North Carolina.

In the lobby of Pine Needles - which has hosted three USGA Women's national championships - are photographs of her playing with such celebrities as Michael Jordan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tigers Woods, Sam Snead and others.

Mrs. Bell has three children, daughters Bonnie and Peggy Ann, and son Kirk. She is the grandmother of eight.

To help celebrate her 90th birthday, Mrs. Bell will be honored with a gala golf event and banquet at Pine Needles November 18-19.

The above report is courtesy of Pine Needles. For more information, visit http://www.pineneedles-midpines.com.