Every once in a while, an individual is honored for his or her accomplishments, achievements and outstanding contributions to his or her organization.
The Pagosa Springs Women’s Golf Association recently presented Bonnie Hoover, one of their founding members, with a Lifetime Achievement Award for the myriad number of contributions she’s made to the association.
Bonnie’s story began in Pagosa Springs when she and her late husband, Earl, moved to Pagosa with their two sons, Jack and David, in 1975. At that time, the Pagosa Springs Golf Club had only one nine-hole course, Pinon, and there were only five or six ladies in the local women’s golf league. Developers began building the Ponderosa course a year or two later, and the Meadows course was started five years later. As Pagosa’s population grew, and more people made their summer homes here, the women’s golf league began to grow.
Initially, the only tournament the ladies hosted was the Club Championship for its league members. By the late ’70s and early ’80s, the local ladies league decided to host an area tournament. Bonnie and Jane Stewart were instrumental in organizing and managing the tournament. It started as an 18-hole, two-woman best ball tournament. The tournament was popular for a while; however, due to an economic downturn, lack of sponsors, and lack of support from the local golf pro, it was discontinued. So, Bonnie decided to pursue local sponsors. She became a sponsor herself, and approached Citizens Bank and local Realtors to do the same. Through her generosity and determination, she was able to sign up enough sponsors to reinstate the tournament. It grew from a one-day tournament to a two-day tournament, and by the late ’80s or early ’90s, became a two-day invitational golf tournament for four women teams, playing a two best ball net and gross, known as the Pine Cone Classic. Not only has Bonnie sponsored the tournament since its inception, she graciously hosted the cocktail/dinner party for all the participants when the tournament became a 36-hole event. It’s something that all the local and visiting participants look forward to each year.
Sometime in the mid-1980s, Bonnie and Jane decided to start a team play golf league with the other golf clubs in the area. Each team would pick eight of its lowest handicap players to represent its club and they would play the other teams in a match play format. At that time, the team play event included only five teams: Aztec Hidden Valley, Cortez Conquistador, Hillcrest Golf Club, San Juan County Club and Pagosa Springs Golf Club. San Juan was the only club that had 18 holes. Pinon Hills Golf Club, Dalton Ranch Golf Club and Kirtland Riverview joined the team play league at a later date. These are now the eight teams that compromise the team play league today. Many of us well remember when we first started playing on the traveling team, how Bonnie would take the time and have the patience to guide and help us through our first several seasons of match play events. Bonnie has a vast knowledge of all the golf clubs’ layouts in our league, so her patient explanations, and constant encouragement really helped us evolve our games and contribute to the team.
In addition to playing league days, team play and the Pine Cone Classic, Bonnie not only participated in, but also won or placed in all of the invitational tournaments in the Four Corners area and beyond. She has won the league’s Club Championship 14 times, the last one in 1998. She’s had at least 27 holes-in-one (she’s had so many that she’s lost count). She’s aced all of the par 3s at the Pagosa Club at least twice; the last one was June 6, 2006, on number 2 Ponderosa. She said that she remembers her very first hole-in-one at the White Bear Lake Yacht Club, which is located about 20 minutes north of St. Paul, Minn., which she accomplished when she was only 15 years old.
At the tender age of 79, Bonnie continues to be an active member of the PSWGA, and plays almost every league day. She still has a low enough handicap to play on the traveling team, and plays most of the women’s invitational golf tournaments in the surrounding area. She also continues to sponsor and participate in the Pine Cone Classic every year. She is truly an inspiration and a very positive influence on us all. We admire and love her as a friend, and as a true role model of the game. She plays with integrity, desire and enthusiasm — her grit and determination are remarkable! We congratulate and honor Bonnie for all of her accomplishments and contributions to our association, and for being instrumental in making our association what it is today. Kudos and much appreciation and gratitude to you, Bonnie, for all you are, and all you do!