Our team at Flagstick Golf Magazine was saddened to learn of the passing of Bonnie Wolff on June 19th.
Her partner of 26 years, Sue Hardman, reached out to Flagstick to obtain a copy of Bonnie’s favorite photograph where she is pictured with the Ottawa Citizen Amateur Golf Championship Trophy after her win in 2006 (included in this story). Sue explained that Bonnie was diagnosed with an illness in March of this year and chose to keep her diagnosis private. Tragically, during her treatment and at a time that her immune system was at its lowest, her father Albert passed away.
As you might imagine, funeral plans have not been finalized at this time and once we know further details we will pass them along.
Bonnie’s record as a golfer includes numerous club championships at Hammond (5), Cedarhill (2) and Carleton Golf & Yacht Clubs (8 in a row from 2000-2007, Senior Champion 2014, 2016, 2017) as well as many Invitational wins throughout the Ottawa Valley.
As a player in the Women’s Division of the Ottawa Valley Golf Association, Bonnie’s record in tournaments is enviable. Apart from numerous field day and invitational wins, she was the winner of seven City & District Championships, one Senior Championship, one 4 Ball-Better Ball Championship with Judy Collins, two OVGA Mixed Championships (gross, 2012 and 2016) with Marc Ffrench, four Tournament of Champions “A” Class Championships and three Ryder Cup Championships with her Carleton Golf & Yacht Club team-mate Erika Godwin.
Godwin talked about her time with and respect for Bonnie – “Growing up as young female golfer in Ottawa you wanted to be just like Bonnie Wolff. She was positive, kind, encouraging and a legend in the Ottawa golf community. My brother Kyle and I were so lucky to be able to grow up with such a great role model at Carleton Golf and Yacht Club on and off the course. I will always cherish the memories of golfing with her as a partner, teammate and competitor. We won many trophies together and I will be forever grateful we had that time together. Her legacy will live on and she will always be remembered as a legend.”
In 2006, Bonnie was the winner of the Ottawa Citizen Amateur Golf Championship and in 2012 she partnered with Rivermead’s Pam Fraser to win the Ottawa Sun Scramble.
Modest would be one word to describe Bonnie’s attitude on her golf game. She was not one to brag about her accomplishments after her numerous wins.
In her 2006 late summer profile story in Flagstick For Women, a section stands out – “As intensely as she plays, you would expect to see more emotion in her game but as she says, ‘I am a pretty calm person; I don’t spike a lot’, referring to the highs and lows that so many players experience as they deal with the struggles of tournament play.”
More Than A Golfer
Born in Quebec City, but raised in Montreal after moving there with her family at age 7, Bonnie proved her ambitious and determined nature early in life. She studied piano for many years as a child, and that not being enough, eventually added alto saxophone and acoustic guitar to her musical repertoire.
When it came to sports, it was hockey that drew her early attention. She was a significant member of the John Abbott College Islanders Hockey Team that went undefeated in the 1979 and 1980 seasons and won the Quebec College/University Championships each year. Joining the Montreal Titans hockey team, the left-winger was part of a squad that went to the Canadian Championships in 1982 and 1983.
At the same time Bonnie was also involved with ringette and fastball. In ringette she was part of a Kirkland/Beaconsfield Team that represented Quebec at Nationals in 1981. As a fastball shortstop for the Beaconsfield Women’s Fastball Team she made it to the National Fastball Championship in 1980.
Her Start In Golf
Golf came into Bonnie’s life in phys-ed class at Beaconsfield High School. At age 19 she joined the Whitlock Golf Club in Hudson, Quebec, and her remarkable golf career was off to its true start.
Within four years she was scoring in the 80’s, showing her immense talent.
After returning to school, Bonnie began a long and successful career with business intelligence company Cognos in 1989, a move that eventually brought her to Ottawa. It was here that her golf career blossomed, as you can see from the numerous successes listed above.
In the past few years, Bonnie decided to give back to the Ottawa area golf community and she became a director with the Ottawa Valley Golf Association (OVGA).
Flagstick Golf Magazine reached out to OVGA President Gerry Bower to talk about their former director – “Bonnie was a great addition to the OVGA board and with her great knowledge of competitive golf was a perfect fit for the Tournament Committee. She left a big void when she resigned from the board and now is leaving an even bigger void in Women’s competitive golf throughout the Ottawa area and also Golf Quebec where she played a lot of events and usually contended. Our hearts go out to her family and partner Sue.”
Flagstick Golf Magazine would also like to pass along our condolences to Bonnie’s family and her partner-in-life, Sue Hardman, as well as her club-mates at Carleton Golf & Yacht Club and her numerous fellow competitors in golf.
Bonnie’s passing has left a void in the golf community, but she will be remembered.
Rest in Peace Bonnie.
/ With files and words from Joe McLean and Scott MacLeod
(Editor’s Note: The service for Bonnie will be held on Wednesday, June 27th at 2:oo p.m. at Manotick United Church, 5567 Main Street, Manotick, Ontario).