Ruth was rocketed into her twenty-two year sojourn in six-wicket croquet in 1990 when she attended a pre-tournament cocktail party in Sag Harbor, NY. A championship player put a mallet in her hand and said, prophetically, “Hey Lady, you look like you ought to be playing croquet”. After attending as an observer the USCA Nationals at Newport, RI that September, and a three-day USCA school at PGA in January, 1991, that February she boldly played in the Arizona Open Invitational, then considered the most competitive tournament in the country. She was basically hooked! Ruth has been passionately playing croquet ever since, always inspired and taught by the top players and teaching professionals in the U.S. At one point in time, Ruth was one of the best female players in the U.S., and her great experiences led her toward giving back to the game. What is often unseen is the time and energy she has given to the Westhampton Mallet Club (WMC), the Palm Beach Croquet Club (PBCC), the Mar-A-Lago Club, The Charles P. Steuber National Croquet Center and Club, the USCA, and the Croquet Foundation of America (CFA).
Her tireless work over many years on behalf of two of USCA’s five founding clubs included significant contributions as President, long-time Invitational Tournament Manager, and ‘teaching pro’ at the WMC, and Vice President, Treasurer, Invitational Manager, and now President of the PBCC. These efforts have gone a long way toward the longevity of these clubs. The same can be said for her work at the National Croquet Center since it opened, where she was on the founding executive committee and the management committee, and more recently a Board member of the National Croquet Club and the CFA. Her hard work, thoughtful counsel and interpersonal skills have been important to the growth of these entities, and continue unabated today. Ruth is truly an outstanding ambassador for the game having introduced countless people to the sport. She has the personality and panache to attract and keep people involved. She has also opened her homes in Long Island and Palm Beach to lodge tournament players and for cocktail parties and dinners. She can always be counted on to be a driving force when it comes to promoting and playing croquet.
A competitive, high level croquet player, Ruth has played in numerous invitational tournaments, garnering many successes as her game developed. The year 1994 alone saw her participate in a startling ‘eighteen’ invitational tournaments. She acknowledges with pride that the “all-time best win” was the 1994 National Club Teams at PGA National where she partnered with Johnny Osborn, playing in Championship Flight when she was only a ‘six handicap’. Highlights of succeeding tournament wins include First Flight Singles and Doubles (with Paul Bennett) in the Arizona Open 1995, First Flight Singles in PBCC 2008 Invitational, First Flight Doubles (with Bob Chilton) in PBCC 2003 Invitational, and Singles at the first ever, all-women’s Invitational Tournament at Pinehurst, 2006. Ruth also won the Westhampton Mallet Club’s Invitational Championship Flight Singles and Doubles several times, and was Club Singles Champion there three times. She has been acknowledged with plaques by the USCA four times for her support and outstanding contributions to the sport of croquet, and was the USCA’s Volunteer of the Year in 2001. Perhaps dearest to her heart is the perpetual trophy named “The Ruthie” which the Palm Beach Croquet Club established in her honor in 2007. This award is given annually for good sportsmanship to a participant in the PBCC Invitational.
Ruth Summers has truly made the types of contributions, both on and off the court, that merit her induction into the Hall of Fame in 2012.