Thailand’s Rae-Vadee inspires new generation

For more than 40 years Thailand’s Rae-Vadee T.Suwan has been the key driving force behind the development of golf in the Asia-Pacific region, using her initiative to steer the game towards unprecedented heights of popularity.

Recognised widely for having launched the Amateur Ladies International Golf Team for the Queen Sirikit Cup in 1979, Rae-Vadee has remained at the helm of the area’s most important women’s tournament for almost four decades.

Virtually single-handedly, she brought together countries in the region for the competition and watched it grow, overseeing 40 tournaments while immersing herself in the organisation of many key golf organisations.

In all, Rae-Vadee has been involved in an astonishing 105 events since 1978.

Born in Bangkok, Rae-Vadee was educated in the United States before being awarded a Bachelor in Laws degree from Sukhothai Thammatirat University, followed by a Masters degree in Business Management from Rangsit University, Bangkok.

Rae-Vadee began playing golf in 1974 at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club and her debut involvement in the organisational area of the game came just a year later when she worked as media liaison for the 1975 World Cup of Golf at Navatanee GC, Bangkok and also organised the Arnold Palmer’s Cup charity golf tournament for the Thai Red Cross.

Three years after she began playing the game, Rae-Vadee was appointed as Ladies’Golf Captain at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club.

In 1978 she undertook a massive task, launching the 1st Thailand Ladies Amateur Open Golf and Interclub Team Championship, which involved 130 players from nine countries.

The Thailand Ladies Golf Association was co-founded by Rae-Vadee in 1979 in a bid to develop the women’s game in Thailand.

She has, since launching the Queen Sirikit Cup, served as its co-ordinator through to and including the event’s name change to the Asia-Pacific Ladies Golf Team Championships. She then became Secretary-General of the Queen Sirikit Cup’s Secretariat.

In 2016 the Cup was affiliated with the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation as its official ladies’ team event.

Continuing to use her unparalleled initiative, in 1987 she launched the Kosaido Ladies Asia Golf Circuit in five countries. The tour was staged for 17 years and in 2005 was relaunched as the Ladies Asian Golf Tour. From 2005-13 Rae-Vadee was its President and then Chairman.

She has served as President of the Thailand Ladies Golf Association from 2001-05 and for two terms was on the Administrative Committee of the International Golf Federation.

In 2014 Rae-Vadee ended her link with the Ladies Asian Golf Tour and initiated a plan for a new professional Asia-Pacific Tour, which remains on hold.

Two years later she joined the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation as a member of the Board.

Her multiple achievements were recognised this year when at the inaugural Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Golf Championship, a gold medal was struck in her honour and awarded to the winner – fittingly her countrywoman, the rapidly rising Thai star Atthaya Thitikul.

Rae-Vadee remains involved in several key golf organisations as she begins work on her next task – a self-sustaining Golf Foundation for Thailand aimed at developing the game for junior players.

AAC Proud Partners