Jackson, Arabella Jeanette Charlotte Violet Mowbray (‘Janet ’) (1891–1960), golfer, was born 28 September 1891 in 44 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin, second among at least three children born to Howard William (‘Henry’) Jackson (1855–1930), barrister-at-law, originally from Co. Fermanagh, and Arabella Emily (‘Bella’) Jackson (née Lane-Joynt) from Dublin. Jackson's father later became master of the king's bench and subsequently lord chief justice of chancery 1919–26. In his youth Henry Jackson was also an accomplished athlete, being an excellent cricketer as well as an international oarsman and an international rugby player, winning one cap against England in 1877. Jackson's mother Bella was also a fine golfer, representing Ireland in international competition and being a regular competitor in the Irish and British championships. Jackson's own golfing ability became apparent during her teenage years, and she became a member of the ladies’ section of the Island Golf Club in 1908. She was also associated at various times with the Greystones and Royal Co. Down clubs. Along with Mabel Harrison and Patricia Jameson she was one of three great female golfers to emerge from the Island club in the early decades of the twentieth century, who between them won ten of the thirteen Irish championships between 1910 and 1926.
Her golfing career at the top level stretched from 1911 to 1935. She won the Irish Ladies Close Amateur Championship (later renamed the Irish Ladies Golf Championship at her suggestion) six times between 1913 and 1925: 1913 (Lahinch), 1914 (Castlerock), 1919 (Portmarnock), 1920 (Portrush), 1923 (Portmarnock), and 1925 (Lahinch). Her final victory in 1925 made her the first woman to win the title six times, eclipsing the five victories of May Hezlet (qv), and gave her the most victories in the pre-second-world-war era. Her four victories in a row from 1913 to 1920 (there was no tournament 1915–18) equalled that of Rhona Adair (qv) who won four tournaments in 1900–03. Jackson never won the British Ladies Championship, losing semi-finals in 1913 (by 3 and 2), 1920 and 1921, the last two by just one hole. In 1921 she won the Golf Illustrated Gold Vase stroke-play competition by two shots from Cecil Leitch, the top British female player of the time, with US ladies’ champion Alexa Stirling a shot further back.
At international level she first competed for Ireland in the Home Championship in 1913, and continued playing till 1934. It was a period in which England dominated the competition, and Jackson invariably played in the top match, which meant regularly competing against England's best player. At club level, she captained the Island team to the Irish Ladies’ Senior Cup in 1928 and was a member of the team that retained the trophy in 1929. She was also lady captain of the Island in 1921. In 1920 she was given ‘scratch’ status by the Ladies Golfing Union, something only given to the very top players. Her sporting prowess was not confined to golf, and she won the Irish Ladies Doubles tennis championship in 1914 and 1919. Had the first world war not intervened, she might have won many more. A brother, Cyril ‘Cracker’ Jackson, was also a prominent tennis player and non-playing captain of the Irish Davis Cup team in 1931.
Tall and strong, she was renowned for her long and powerful driving, but was not, perhaps, the most stylish of golfers, being described as ‘a big strong player with a forceful and rather florid style’ (Times, 9 May 1914). Her favourite courses were Lahinch and Sunningdale, both of which were suited to her powerful game. As well as competing, she also wrote extensively on the game in various publications of the period and did valuable work for the Irish Ladies’ Golfing Union with regard to setting the Standard Scratch Score ratings for golf courses in Ireland in the early 1930s. She moved to Sunninghill, Berkshire, close to the Sunningdale Golf Club, in the 1930s and regularly competed in club competitions for Camberley Heath as well as becoming a member of the Wentworth club. Jackson was a tremendous competitor and opponents sometimes found her a rather stern and forbidding presence on the course. She never married and died 21 November 1960 in Berkshire.