Simone Thion de la Chaume was not just the woman who married René Lacoste in 1930. Far from it. Her swing, as remarkable as her husband's backhand, made her a phenomenon on the fairways.
By the age of sixteen, and back when women were only recently allowed on golf courses in the early twentieth century, she was already making a name for herself in her cloche hat and long skirt. But Simone was gifted, very gifted. From 1924 to 1926, she led the French women's competitions. Her crowning achievement came in 1927, when Simone Thion de la Chaume won the prestigious British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship, becoming the first non-English-speaking player to do so at just eighteen years of age. Simone Thion de la Chaume was the first French woman to play golf at international level, and was one of the personalities who helped golf grow and acquire the legitimacy of a competitive sport.
In 1926, her father acquired an estate near Saint-Jean-de-Luz. A keen golfer himself, he turned it into the famous Golf de Chantaco a few years later. For Simone, this Basque land became a land of great ambition... after the end of the Second World War, she took over its management. Open to all, the Chantaco Golf Club became a training ground for future champions.
René Lacoste and Simone Thion de la Chaume raised their four children at Chantaco. Among them was Catherine who was determined to become a great sportswoman, like her champion parents. "Like mother, like daughter", Catherine naturally turned to golf, coached by her father and Raymond Garaïalde. What's more, like René Lacoste, Catherine dreamed of America. After a remarkable debut, she achieved the feat of winning the 1967 US Open, becoming, at the age of 22, the youngest player ever to win the tournament, as well as the second non-American and the first amateur. The American sports press made no mistake: her victory was so reminiscent of her father's in Philadelphia forty years earlier that she was dubbed the "Crocodile Kid", or "Crocodile daughter".
Two years later, she paid a moving tribute to her mother: Catherine Lacoste won the British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship, forty-two years after Simone had made history. Following in her mother's footsteps, she took over the management of the Chantaco Golf Club in 1974, having already shone on a number of prestigious courses around the world...
Chantaco Golf Club and the Lacoste Ladies Open de France
It's no coincidence that the Lacoste family stronghold has for years hosted the Lacoste Ladies Open de France, one of the most prestigious competitions in women's golf. Lacoste, whose relationship with golf runs deep, also counts French golfer Céline Boutier among its ambassadors, a young sportswoman with an international career who enjoys success at the highest level... just like Simone and Catherine.