Evelyn aims to retire as JGE Lady Captain with happy memories and pride of making an impact

Says playing on the DP World Tour Championship Pro-Am alongside Thorbjørn Olesen was one of the highlights of her term at the internationally-acclaimed club

By Leslie Wilson Jr.

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Evelyn fell in love with golf after arriving in Dubai in the nineties. - Photo courtesy Evelyn Downham
Evelyn fell in love with golf after arriving in Dubai in the nineties. - Photo courtesy Evelyn Downham

Published: Wed 13 Dec 2023, 12:16 AM

As she nears the end of what has been a memorable 12 months as Lady Captain of the Jumeirah Golf Estates Evelyn Downham said she leaves with happy memories and no regrets.

Scottish-born Evelyn officially led golfing and social matters at the internationally-acclaimed club where she represented lady members both internally and externally.

Commenting on her term she told Khaleej Times: “It was a privilege and honour to be the Lady Captain at such a prestigious club as ours.

“I was originally Vice Captain to Sheila McIlroy, our first captain, for one year and then started this position at the beginning of the year. Sadly, it's coming to an end shortly.”

Evelyn receives her Captains jacket from outgoing Lady Captain Sheila McIlroy at the Captains Drive at the beginning of 2023. Photo courtesy Evelyn Downham
Evelyn receives her Captains jacket from outgoing Lady Captain Sheila McIlroy at the Captains Drive at the beginning of 2023. Photo courtesy Evelyn Downham

However, Evelyn, who first played field hockey in Dubai at the Lusitanians ground near the now defunct Country Club, said she had lots of great memories that she will always treasure.

“From the beginning, I always wanted to introduce some new competitions into our annual calendar, which I did with the Lady Captain vs Lady Vice Captain’s Team which I supported by giving away a trophy,” she said.

“I do hope that the new captain will carry on that tradition of the event which is held just before the summer holidays. It’s a great fun event where all the ladies get together to compete. We did a random pick to select the players by pulling names out of a hat.

Evelyn and her team after winning the first match against the Lady Vice Captain’s Team. – Photo courtesy Evelyn Downham
Evelyn and her team after winning the first match against the Lady Vice Captain’s Team. – Photo courtesy Evelyn Downham

“I also started another competition between a Ladies Team and Scratch Team,” she added. “It so happens that my husband is the Scratch Team Captain, so it was a bit easy. We did a mixed matchplay which was again a lot of fun.”

One of the highlights of the season at the Jumeirah Golf Estates is the $10.5million DP World Tour Championship which was also a special event for Evelyn who reflected on the magical week that attracted some of the world’s best golfers to her home away from home.

“As Lady Captain the opportunities that I had at the event were amazing,” she said. “I even got invited to play in the Pro-Am with Dubai resident Thorbjørn Olesen. He is such a good golfer and a great guy to play with. He made me feel so comfortable.

Evelyn with the Men’s Captain Jonathan Hall.. – Photo courtesy Evelyn Downham
Evelyn with the Men’s Captain Jonathan Hall.. – Photo courtesy Evelyn Downham

“I was also able to play on the course that was set up for the DP World Tour Championship, in the same conditions as the pros, which was an amazing opportunity,” Evelyn added.

“Then on the last day, myself and the men’s captain (Jonathan Hall) were allowed to walk inside the ropes with a group featuring Tommy Fleetwood who is almost a member of our club. He’s such a lovely guy.

“To be inside the ropes and to have that completely different view of the top golfers too was a huge privilege and something that I will never forget.”

Evelyn, who lived in Paris as a youngster, before moving to Dubai in 1999 soon fell in love with golf and traded her hockey sticks for golf clubs.

“I have been a member of many clubs in Dubai,” she said. “I’ve been at t Jumeirah Golf Estates for ten years, was a member at the Creek and also Al Badia. It has been a wonderful journey.”

From field hockey in the good old days to being Lady Captain at one of the UAE’s most prestigious golf clubs, Evelyn has indeed come a long, long way.

“After my captaincy ends I think I’m just going to take a step back from all the organization work that I have done the past couple of years and maybe just continue to enjoy my golf,” she said. “And of course, I will always be there to support the new Captain coming through.”


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