Golf Champion Louise ‘Bobbie’ Rose Dies at 104

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From left: Bobbie Rose, holds the Mater et Filia championship trophy with daughter Bonnie George. | Courtesy of Bonnie George
Louise “Bobbie” Rose, a Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Famer who played golf competitively for 70 years, died of a heart attack on Dec. 20 at her home in Meadowbrook. She was 104.

Rose won 13 consecutive club championships at Ashbourne Country Club and played in the Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania State Women’s Golf Association tournaments. She won 11 Griscom Cup championships with son Michael Rose and four Mater et Filia titles with daughter Bonnie George. At 90, she teamed with George to win the Effie Derr Robey Cup, where she shot better than her age five times, and she won the 2007 WGAP Class B Super-Seniors championship at 91. She was inducted into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2014 at 98.

“Golf,” she told the Jewish Exponent before her induction, “is the most frustrating, irritating, imperfect, wonderful game I’ve ever played.”


Rose loved all sports and was an accomplished athlete from a young age. She grew up in Cheltenham and attended Cheltenham High School, where she was named a top athlete for her prowess in swimming, tennis, basketball and field hockey. When she studied physical education as an undergraduate at Temple University, she played badminton and qualified for a national championship. She started bowling at Ashbourne Country Club and averaged 180.

She began playing golf, which would become her favorite sport, when her husband Leon Rose took it up in 1947. Her two children also took to the sport and went on to become successful amateur golfers.

Michael Rose, who writes for and publishes Great Golf Magazine, said his mother appreciated that golf was a lifelong sport. Players can constantly improve, rather than hitting a wall in their younger years and having their performance decline over time.

“She was somebody who said, ‘I’m going to get better. I want to get better.’ In fact, one of her little sayings was, ‘This is going to be my year,’” he said.

The whole family was proud of her accomplishments, and she of theirs — especially when her children got good enough to beat her.

“She was our biggest fan and we were her biggest fans. It was a family thing we all could do together, and we could all strive to make everybody better,” Michael Rose said.

Bobbie Rose and her family had strong ties to the Jewish community.

She attended Camp Council in Phoenixville as a girl, and she and her husband were members of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel. Michael Rose played for the Maccabi USA men’s golf team in Israel’s international Maccabiah Games during 1981 and 1985, and George played for the women’s team in 1989 and 1997.

Bobbie Rose was also an accomplished artist. Michael Rose said she worked in a wide range of mediums, from knitting to sculpting. At age 90, she decided she wanted to learn to weld and signed up for a class.

She displayed and sold her work at art shows, and the family hopes to hold a show in her honor when it is safe to do so.
George, who studied art as an undergraduate, remembers her mother’s dedication to parenting, as well as her passion for artwork. If she needed help with a school project or a volunteer for a classroom activity, Rose was always eager to step in.

“Her creative mind was always going, especially with projects that I had to do, whether it was social studies or science,” George said.

Rose remained close with her children as they grew older. In addition to playing golf, they often took trips to New York and Florida together.

“She was just always there for me,” George said.

Rose was preceded in death by her husband, who died in 1974. She is survived by her children, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

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