3 Hammers owner Ian Bonser wins lifetime service award

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 25, 2019 15:23

Ian Bonser, who has helped countless people to follow their golfing dreams, has been honoured with England Golf’s Lifetime Service Award, sponsored by The Telegraph.

Bonser, the owner of the 3 Hammers golf complex in Staffordshire and a committed volunteer in the game, was recognised at the England Golf awards, sponsored by adidas Golf, at the Royal Lancaster London.

He received a special message from Dame Laura Davies who told him: “Congratulations Ian on an amazing achievement. What you have done for golf and all the time you have put in means this award is thoroughly deserved.”

Hundreds of guests from across the sport applauded his contribution to golf over the last 32 years – which he insists is by no means over.

Bonser (centre) received his award from Adam Sills, head of Sport at The Telegraph, and BBC commentator Dan Walker (left)

England Golf chief executive Nick Pink said: “Ian is a pioneer. He is passionate about golf and has made an incredible impact at a local and national level, and we are delighted to present him with our Lifetime Service Award.”

Bonser, a five-handicapper, learned his own golf as an 11-year-old at 3 Hammers. By the time he was 25 he owned the centre and had embarked on his plan to create “a place where young people and adults can pursue their dreams, aspirations and goals in a fun, accessible and affordable environment.”

Over 32 years his ambition has touched countless people. Each year, over 200,000 people visit the centre. In the last four years 30,000 adults and 10,000 juniors have had lessons at 3 Hammers. Thousands of pupils in 12 schools are introduced to the sport.

3 Hammers has started European Tour players on their journey and has supplied local golf clubs with a steady stream of keen, new members.

But, as well as investing over £1m to create a state of the art centre, Bonser has also freely given his own time to help grow the game. He acts as a consultant to several local golf clubs, helping develop memberships and secure a brighter future for golf. He had also advised the UK Golf Club Owners Association, the government and the Treasury on issues facing the industry.

And he’s always looking for ways to reach out to the community. So, in June, 3 Hammers will fund prostate cancer tests for up to 1,000 local men.

Previously Ian’s team has worked with the Wolverhampton Community Trust on a diabetes project and a scheme to help young offenders to use golf to transition back into society. Another project helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to build their confidence.

Bonser commented: “I am so incredibly proud that England Golf has recognised all we have done by honouring us with this award. This is a fabulous honour for me personally, but also for everyone that has worked at 3 Hammers over the years. I have been very fortunate to have worked with some great people, but none more so than the incredible team I have today. So a big thank you to them all because I could not have done it without them.”

Bonser was not the only winner.

Teenage talent Conor Gough of Stoke Park Golf Club, Buckinghamshire,won the Performance of the Year Award after his stunning 2018 season when he won top British and English titles. Tommy Fleetwood, who won this title last year, told him: “What an amazing year! I’ve been keeping track of your progress and we will be doing that for a long time to come, I am sure.”

Stanton-on-the-Wolds Golf Club, Nottinghamshire, won the Championship Venue of the Year Award – and the congratulations of Tyrrell Hatton. The three-time European Tour winner was a regular at England Golf championships as an amateur and he said: “I know the golf clubs all go above and beyond to make it a fantastic experience for the players. So massive congratulations to Stanton for winning this award, you guys must have been fantastic!”

Wiltshire Golf won the County of the Year Award and first congratulations came from another European Tour winner, Jordan Smith. He came up through the Wiltshire ranks and commented: “I’m so proud of my county, Wiltshire. For such a small county we have definitely been punching above our weight!”

Mytime Active and its centres at Bromley and Orpington won the new Innovation Award, sponsored by Players 1st, for pioneering golf ‘on prescription’, with impressive results. The project is set to spread to three more centres next month and it’s hoped other golf operators will take it up.

The Exeter Golf and Country Club in Devon won the Most Welcoming Club of the Year Award, sponsored by HowDidiDo. The club has blended the best of tradition with contemporary style to open its doors and appeal to golfers of all ages. General Manager Chris Jones commented: “On a scale of 1-10, this is 11!

Mark Feeney from West Derby Golf Club in Liverpool won the Volunteer of the Year Award for the way he revitalised the junior section, growing it from two or three players to over 40 members in just a couple of years. “This is wonderful for the club, it’s amazing. It’s not just about what I do,” said Feeney.

Lou McLoughlin of Bromborough Golf Club, Cheshire, became Young Ambassador of the Year, presented in association with the Golf Foundation. The bubbly 18-year-old simply loves helping people enjoy golf. “This is so exciting,” said Lou. “You don’t realise people think so much of you and when you find out, it’s special.”

Aaron Lansberry from Hatchford Brook Golf Centre, Birmingham won the Coach of the Year Award, sponsored by The PGA. The inspirational coach puts the fun into golf for hundreds of youngsters, counts himself lucky in his work and commented: “It’s lovely to win, it’s the cherry on the cake and it backs up all the hard work we do.”

Nick Pink added: “All our award winners are very special and prove that golf is a go-ahead game with a great welcome for everyone and, even better, that it’s good for your health.

“Their achievements are helping to change the image of golf within the wider community and that’s good news for everyone who cares about the game.”

Meanwhile, adidas Golf has extended its partnership with England Golf through to 2020, building on a commitment which began in 2015 to support the next generation of talent in all areas of the game, including elite-level and disability golf.

The England Golf teams will wear the latest apparel and footwear from the spring/summer 2019 range including the new Tour360 range of footwear and the technology within the ‘Ultimate’ apparel range.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 25, 2019 15:23
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1 Comment

  1. Tom March 25, 16:23

    Very well deserved, it’s a great venue

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