Black History Month: Alora Rabain

February 21, 2024 | 0 Comments

As Port Royal commemorates Black History Month, the spotlight turns to Alora Rabain, “Bermuda golf trailblazer.”

A spokesperson said, “As we at Port Royal celebrate Black History Month we turn our attention to the dynamic duo who graced Port Royal with their presence which started with Alora Rabain in 1970.

“While Frank Rabain’s 32-year tenure makes him is the longest serving golf professional in Port Royal’s history, we cannot speak about him in isolation of the contribution of his most charming and beautiful wife, Celeste Alora Rabain, who, we are told, introduced Frankie to the game of golf.

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“Alora Rabain opened Port Royal Golf Course as golf shop manageress for golf professional Walter King. Alora came to Port Royal and worked in the Pro Shop at Belmont Manor Hotel and Golf Club under Ian Crowe from Scotland. Noteworthy was that Alora [Simons] Rabain was a trailblazer golfer in her own right, being among the first to integrate golf in Bermuda when the rigid walls of segregation were dismantled.”

Kim Swan said, “We all were together at Hesketh Golf Club in 1983, ironically where Frankie Rabain had qualified for the 1971 British Open, and Alora joined me to go out and practice.

“I was on the putting green and she went to the bar, which virtually overlooks the putting green, and sat at the bar to watch me putt.

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“The bartender then said, ‘pardon me madame, but ladies are not permitted in the bar.’

“Alora replied without missing a beat, ‘that’s a shame, I’ll have scotch on the rocks with plenty of ice, and while you’re at it, give all those gentlemen sitting here [at the bar] a drink also.”

The spokesperson said, “Kim Swan recalls Mrs. Rabain [Alora] completely disarmed the bartender and not only diffused an awkward situation but proceeded to hold court in that Hesketh Golf Clubhouse Bar that evening, with her infectious laughter making for a sweet sound ringing the bell of change in golf.

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“When Alora Rabain came to Port Royal Golf Club in 1970, she had already [1968] made history by winning the prestigious Bermuda Mixed Foursomes Championship [Gross] with Eardley Jones at Mid Ocean Club.

“Alora Rabain had retired from competitive golf in 1970 when she came to Port Royal Golf Course. Long before making history with Eardley Jones, Alora Rabain was a young female golf phenom at Belmont where Earl Anderson had taught Herman ‘Tucci’ Bascome to become Bermuda’s dominant locally based player. Alora would compete equally against the men and wager her talents against all comers. Rumour has it that she caught the eye of Frankie Rabain, an accomplished footballer with Southampton Rangers, who she would teach golf.

“Frankie Rabain would go on to become golf professional at both Ocean View Golf Club and later Port Royal, win two Bermuda Open Championships, and qualify for the 1971 British Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.”

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Mr. Swan said, “Alora Rabain was legendary and I owe a great deal of my golf development to her influence. She took me under her wing and in the early 1970s we also won the Bermuda Mixed Foursomes Championship [net] with her knowledge and wisdom teaching me her competitive secrets and shepherding me to get the best out of my talent. It didn’t hurt that the reward for a one putt was a hug and kiss.”

The spokesperson said, “Alora Rabain was a Bermuda golf trailblazer, a wonderful ambassador for golf and Bermuda.”

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