28 Sep 2023 | Industry news |
Vale Sir Michael Bonallack O.B.E.
by Jimmy Emanuel
Sir Michael Bonallack, one of golf’s most decorated amateur players and a highly respected administrator, passed away this week at the age of 88.
Boasting a playing résumé the envy of every amateur golfer, Bonallack would go on to serve as both the Captain and Secretary of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and is a legendary figure in the game around the entire world.
“I was enormously saddened to learn of the passing of Sir Michael Bonallack, a true legend of the game both as a player and across the many roles he held in golf administration,” Golf Australia CEO James Sutherland said.
“The stories of Sir Michael’s feats as a player are enthralling to hear, including his shared low individual honour at the World Amateur Team Championship (Eisenhower Trophy) in 1968 at our very own Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
“On behalf of Golf Australia, I wish to express our deep condolences to the Bonallack family and all of Sir Michael’s friends across the golf world, especially those at The R&A and here in Australia.”
One of the finest amateurs in golf’s history, Bonallack won both The Amateur and English Amateur Championships five times, played on nine Walker Cup teams and was awarded the Silver Medal as low amateur at The Open on two occasions. These achievements are just a small sample of his exceptional playing career.
Knighted in 1998 as part of The Queen’s birthday honours list, Sir Michael’s administrative career beyond his roles at The R&A included, but are not limited to, Chairman of the Professional Golfers’ Association, Chairman of the Official World Golf Rankings Board and served on the board of the European Tour.
“In his various roles beyond playing the game, Sir Michael helped to modernise golf and move the game forward in a way that serves as an inspiration to those of us now charged with the same task,” Sutherland said.
Bonallack’s importance to golf is represented in many ways, including the biennial Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy and was clear again this year when, despite poor health, he was able to attend the opening of the Walker Cup at St Andrews and received a rousing reception.
Sir Michael’s ties to Australia continued to this day Australian amateurs players earn the chance to play for the trophy named for him every two years, as Harrison Crowe and Jack Buchanan did this year in Spain.
Far from the only golfer in the family, Bonallack’s wife Lady Angela Bonallack, who passed away last year, was a magnificent amateur player with a tremendous record.
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