Essex Golf Union

Braxted Park Woodford GC Brentwood GC Thorndon Park GC Colne Valley Frinton GC Rochford Hundred Braintree Gosfield Lake Thorpe Hall Canons Brook The Warren Three Rivers

Sir Michael Bonallack

The great achievements of Life Vice-President Sir Michael Bonallack, OBE, of Thorpe Hall Golf Club, Captain of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St.Andrews in 2000, and Secretary of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club from 1983 to 1999 will surely be of interest to all Essex golfers. Sir Michael first won the Essex Boys Championship in 1950 and retained the title in 1951.

Boys Amateur Championship
Winner – 1952

Army Championship
Winner - 1955

Berkshire Trophy- Winner - 1957, 1961, 1965, 1968, 1970 and 1971

Walker Cup Team - 1957, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1971 and 1973.
(Played 28; Won 8; Halved 3)
Captain - 1971 & 1973.      

Played for England in International Matches
1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1974 
(Played 131; Won 79; Halved 15)
Captain - 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967

Worplesdon Mixed Foursomes - Winner with Mrs. Angela Bonallack - 1958

Sunningdale Foursomes - Winner with D. Sewell - 1959

British Commonwealth Team -1959, 1963, 1967, 1971, 1975 (Captain - 1971 and 1975)

Eisenhower Trophy Team - 1960, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1970 and 1972 (Captain 1972)

v Rest of Europe - 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1970 and 1972

Scrutton Jug - Winner - 1961, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1971

‘Golf Illustrated’ Gold Vase - Winner - 1961, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971 and 1975

Amateur Championship (The British) - Winner - 1961, 1965, 1968, 1969 and 1970

English Amateur Championship - Winner - 1962, 1963, 1965, 1967 and 1968

English Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship (Brabazon Trophy)
Winner – 1964, 1968, 1969 and 1971

Antlers of Royal Mid-Surrey - Winner with D. Marsh in 1964

Leading Amateur in the Open Championship - Winner - 1969 and 197l

Golf Writers Trophy - Award - Winner – 1968   

Bobby Jones Award - Winner – 1972    

Lytham Trophy - Winner - 1965 and 1972

St. Georges Challenge Cup - Winner - 1965, 1968, 1980

Prince of Wales Challenge Cup - Winner – 1967

East Anglian Open Championship - Winner 1973

England Home Internationals - Winner 1971

England Team European Championship - Representative in 1963, 1965, 1969, 1971

Essex County Amateur Golf Union: County Championship
Winner: 1954, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1968, 1969, 1970, & 1972.

Other Honours:

1982                President English Golf Union

1983/89        Secretary, Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews

1991                The Gerald Micklem Award
Presented for his outstanding contribution to the interests of Amateur Golf in England.

1999/2000   Captain, Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews

2001                 Inducted into the World of Golf Hall of Fame,

                             Appointed President of the Golf Foundation,

                             Appointed as a Non-Executive Director of the European Tour.

September 26th 2023 - The Essex Golf Union  mourns death of Sir Michael Bonallack at 88

Sir Michael Bonallack, Essex & Britain’s greatest post-War amateur golfer who became one of the global game’s most noteworthy administrators, has died aged 88.

A five-time winner of the Amateur Championship, Sir Michael was born in Chigwell, Essex.
He was secretary of the Royal and Ancient for 16 years from 1983 and was credited with guiding the sport towards the 21st century, expanding the Open and ensuring that the resulting profits were invested into the development of the game.

Bonallack was held in such high regard throughout the world game that he was one of the few officials to be invited to join Augusta National, where he remained a member until his passing in St Andrews on the 26th September 2023.  He was chairman of the European Tour in the early Eighties and the PGA, the professional body which represents club pros in the UK and Ireland.

The last two named bodies oversee the Europe arm of the Ryder Cup and it is understood that tributes will be made here at the 44th match in Rome.

A brilliant golfer, who boasted one of the best short games in the professional or amateur game, Bonallack remained in the non-paid ranks, choosing to work in his family’s coach-building business instead. Later, he worked as a course designer. “After seeing Jack Nicklaus play, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to put food on the table,” he said.

Nevertheless he was adept enough to finish 11th at the 1958 Open and 10 years later to lead the championship, an amateur mark not matched for five decades. A nine-time player in the Walker Cup, Bonallack believed his biggest feat was to be the winning player-captain at St Andrews in 1971, the first time Great Britain and Ireland had beaten the United States in 38 years. “It does not and cannot get any better than that,” he said.

Yet perhaps his most remarkable achievement was to become better known for his work behind the scenes. “He’s bridged the gap between the history and heritage of the Open and golf as it moved into the commercial age,” said the late Mark McCormack, the founder of IMG. “And he’s done it with great taste and tact.”

Bonallack was heard every year on BBC TV when introducing the winner of the Open on the 18th green. “And the champion golfer of the year is…” became a catchphrase he was often asked to repeat in retirement.

Bonallack was knighted in 1998 and two years later inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. He lost his wife of more than 60 years, Lady Angela,last year. They had four children, 10 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.


The 2023 Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy Presented by Matthew Southgate, DP World Tour Player.

During the presentation Matthew read the following transcript from Sir Michael which was the final communication from Sir Michael before his passing.

To all Competitors, Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy

Thorpe-Hall has so many happy memories for me, as I virtually grew up playing golf there

from 1948, when our whole family became members. Although the

course and the layout and the order in which you play the holes has changed many times

since then, the challenge of small greens, has always been the same, which was a great

factor in developing our short game. I am sure this factor still remains the same today.

I am delighted to hear the weather is going to be kind for you, and I hope that you get the

same enjoyment that we did.

It is extraordinary that a smallish club like Thorpe, should produce many such fine golfers

such as as Bill Longmuir, Matt Southgate and Richard McEvoy. My sister, Sally Barber, Liz Boatman and my dear Wife, Angela, who had the most beautiful swing, all played in the

Curtis Cup. Equally amazing, that myself, followed Peter Dawson, should both become

Secretaries of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club.

Fabulous characters, including Mat's father, lan, have very much contributed to the

success of our Club.

I hope you have all played well and above all, have enjoyed the experience.

My very Best Wishes,


Created by intelligentgolf version 10.1.2.