JESSIE Valentine, who was for more than two decades Britain's most outstanding lady golfer, has died in Perth at the age of 91.

Numerous were the national and international trophies Jessie won, first as Jessie Anderson, and later as Jessie Valentine. The list of golfing greats with whom she played reads like a golfer's Who's Who - Dai Rees the five-times Ryder Cup captain, Eric Brown, John Panton, the legendary Joyce Wethered and Babe Zaharias.

Jessie won the British Ladies' Championship, not just once, but three times, in 1937, 1955 and 1958. She also reached the final in 1950 and 1957. On six occasions she won the Scottish Ladies' Championship. Impressive as these statistics are, there is little doubt they would have been even more impressive, had it not been for the outbreak of the Second World War.

She was the first woman made an MBE for services to golf.

Jessie was born in Perth in 1915. Her father was for many years the professional at the Craigie Hill Golf Club. Jessie started playing golf aged five. She continued playing with undiminished zest for the next 80 years. At the age of 17 she was a semi-finalist in the Scottish ladies. A year later she won the British Girls' Championship. At the age of 21 she became a heroine in the eyes of the British golfing public by holing a 60ft putt on the 18th green at Gleneagles to win her match and help Britain draw the Curtis Cup against the Americans.

In the introduction to her book of golf instruction, Better Golf, Dai Rees wrote: "In all honesty I can say that I never came across anyone with a better style and method than Jessie Valentine." In 1937, the year she won the British ladies at Turnberry, she was No 1 in the world rankings of lady golfers. As well as the British Ladies, she had won the French and New Zealand titles.

For five years during the second World War Jessie did not pick up a club and spent her time driving trucks instead of golf balls. But her fame had spread far and wide and she was so well regarded in the US that when her fiance was held as a PoW, the Curtis sisters (of Curtis Cup fame) sent him monthly food parcels.

Jessie played seven times for the British Curtis Cup team. Listening to Jessie speak of her early golfing days, was a vivid reminder of how in the past 50 years, conditions have markedly changed for women golfers. The changing room at Turnberry, where she won the British ladies' in 1937was little better than a shack. When she first played in the Curtis Cup, she had to buy her own uniform and pay her own caddie.

Jessie's second victory in the British Ladies' in 1955, almost 20 years after her first, brought her special delight. "It was always my ambition to have my married name on the British trophy." Her husband, George, was her greatest encourager and friend.

Jessie played in 16 British championships. The only one she missed was when her only son, Iain, was born. His birth also caused her to miss the Curtis Cup that same year. Jessie played many exhibition matches with Eric Brown. She recalled how on one occasion she and Eric left the 16th green all square in their match against John Panton and Jean Donald. Eric, with whom she was playing alternate shots, decided to launch an exceptionally long drive off the seventeenth tee. It was without doubt one of the wildest shots she had ever seen him hit. Had it not been for some spectators seeing exactly where the ball landed, it would have been lost in waist-high rough. When Jessie managed to move it only a few yards, Eric, the hard man of British golf, muttered: "That was not a very good shot."

"Look Eric, " she replied, "I'm normally on the fairway, not in this kind of jungle country."

In 1993, at the age of 78, Jessie was invited to take part with several other celebrities in the opening of the Monarch's course at Gleneagles, designed by Jack Nicklaus and the venue for the 2014 Ryder Cup. Jessie who lived only a few miles from Gleneagles, partnered formerWimbledon champion Virginia Wade and Mrs Sean Connery. Jessie admitted that when she received the invitation her first thought was "I hope I do not make a fool of myself", for she had not played exhibition golf for many years.

So exceptional was Jessie's golfing talent that there is little doubt that had she been born 60 years later, she would like Annika Sorenstam and Laura Davies, have become a very wealthy woman. Yet, despite the absence of vast monetary prizes, you got the clear impression when chatting with her, that her life, on and off the course, could not have been more rewarding.