Celebrating 30 Years

We can’t believe we’re 30!

To celebrate our 30th Anniversary, we spent some time looking back over the last 30 years since we first opened our doors in 1993, with the Owners and Directors of Lanhydrock Hotel & Golf Club, Clare and Graham Bond.

“It’s certainly been one crazy, incredible roller coaster, especially raising our two sons, Oliver and Christian, amongst it all, but I’d not have it any other way,” Clare said. “I’m so grateful for the life that Lanhydrock has given us over the past 30 years, and more specifically to Graham’s father and uncle, Hermon and Martin Bond, who first bought the club. Without them, Graham and I would have never had the business.”

Clare and Graham Bond on the golf course at Lanhydrock Hotel and Golf Club

Family & business history

Graham’s family background is from farming stock. Graham’s father and uncle, Hermon and Martin Bond, moved into golf and leisure in the mid 70’s at St Mellion Golf Club, whilst still continuing with arable and sheep farming. Clare’s family, originally from Jersey, were major fruit and vegetable merchants.

Graham has always been in the Bond family business, and Clare’s career began with Lloyds Bank Liskeard, only leaving to join Graham at Lanhydrock Golf Club when their first son, Oliver, arrived in 1992.

Lanhydrock was purchased by the Bond family in 1993. Graham at this time was running Looe Golf Club, and took on the project at Lanhydrock that required substantial investment including a new Clubhouse.

In 2006, Graham and Clare built and added the hotel to the business, transforming Lanhydrock Golf Club into Lanhydrock Hotel and Golf Club – as we are known today. Further facilities including staff accommodation and a fitness suite have been added since then.

The golf course was built on a very difficult piece of land, with minimum soil and heavy clay, which does not make for ideal bases for construction! Our amazing green keeping team have worked considerably hard over the years on improving the course. Whilst golf course maintenance can be seen as ‘the Firth & Forth Bridge,’ we are very proud of the course and thank our the team, led by Simon Ashworth, for its continued improvement. Guests return year on year, which is testament to our green keepers’ skill. Martin Morgan, the original Head Greenskeeper in ‘93, is still with us working as mechanic and doing more technical operations on the course.

Golf fell in popularity at the turn of the century, so the addition of the hotel was a must as Graham and Clare felt the need to diversify. It was something they’d both wanted to add to the club for a while.

“Graham and I are foodies, and we both loved and still love staying in different types of hotels; when we first met we’d go up to Bath, the Cotswolds and London. I’m always interested to see different types of service and what makes the hotels unique. It’s a passion we’ve been fortunate enough to build a life from,” Clare said.

“You could say the interest in running hotels and bed and breakfasts runs in the family,” Clare continued. “Both of Graham’s grandmothers actually ran bed and breakfast businesses. Graham’s father used to tell stories about himself and his brother, Martin, having to go and sleep in an outhouse in the height of summer so their rooms could be used for the B and B. Martin used to say to us, ‘Mum would be so proud of you, building your hotel.’ He was absolutely thrilled about it.”

Running the club & raising children (and dogs!)

Graham and Clare’s two sons, Oliver and Christian, were born in 1992 and 1994. Oliver is currently serving in the Armed Forces, and Christian, after years spent working and fulfilling his passion for cars, has now joined the family business and is working as part of the Golf department.

“Both Oliver and Christian have taken up an interest in golf, they’re absolute naturals,” Clare explained. “Their grandad taught them to play when they were little, and they never really forgot it.”

“There’s certainly never been a dull moment with the boys around!” Clare continued. “I remember being heavily pregnant with Oliver whilst Graham was making the official opening speech to the members when we first opened, and thinking, ‘If Graham doesn’t get on with this speech I’m going to have this baby!’ As it happened, I gave birth to Christian about two days later. The boys have been a massive part of the crazy, beautiful chaos of trying to juggle family life with work.”

Clare added, “I was in a meeting in the clubhouse one day when Oliver and Christian came in, one on a ride-on tractor, the other on a tricycle – I think one of them had no clothes on! I was in an important meeting for the business, focusing on business growth and development, and turn around and I see this scene unfolding. Graham was meant to be looking after them, but there they were in all their glory…”

“Graham and I have definitely had our moments too. When we joined the hotel on to the clubhouse, Graham told me he was going to redecorate the bar area. I remember walking in, and he had a dumper truck right in the middle of the place, he’d ripped the whole thing out! The bar went, the ceilings were down…He’d absolutely gutted the place and told me it was just a spot of redecoration. I could have killed him!”

Graham and Clare have also always been very fond of their black Labradors. They currently have two – Bruce who is nine and Basil who is three. Before Bruce they had Seve, another black Labrador.

Clare commented, “Seve was a big part of the place, especially with the golf name – he was named after Graham’s mother’s favourite player, the legionary Severiano Ballesteros, one of the sport’s greatest personalities and winner at St Mellion.

Interests away from golf

“Outside of the golf world, we love to travel, Graham’s also a keen rugby follower and we’re both a little car mad!” Clare commented. “Because of this we’ve had lots of dealerships and car clubs hold events and stay here at Lanhydrock – Aston Martin owners stay, MG British owners, the Morgan Car Club, the pre-1934 Rolls Royce Club – they got flown in from America which was really exciting.”

“We’re fortunate enough to have made lots of friends in that department because of our interest in cars. We’ve got a lovely relationship with Kevin Turner, Dealer Principal at Porsche in Exeter. We’ve done some Ride and Drive events here with them and they’ve held Porsche golf days here as well. Being so centrally located, we have also enjoyed hosting Audi, BMW, Land Rover, Vauxhall, and even Rover from years gone past!”

“Christian shares the interest, he’s always been a total petrol head from the get-go,” Clare continued. “Nobody else was ever allowed to use the Tikes children’s car at playgroup – if you tried to get Christian Bond out, he would scream the place down! I think he gets his passion from my side of the family. My late father was car-mad and my brother owns a garage, and Christian just always wanted to drive cars fast. He’s worked for various car dealers over the years.”

“Roger from Roger Young Landrover at Saltash gave Christian his work experience which we’ll forever be thankful for, and Christian’s first ever job in the car trade was with Peter Tremain, who was running the Vospers Truro branch at the time. Peter and his son, Jonathon Tremain, did a lot for Christian, so we like to support and repay them where we can. Graham’s pick-up truck came from Vospers, and mine came from Roger Young Landrover. We like keeping the money within the Cornwall and Devon economy really, family connections are really important to us and loyalty means a lot.”

Graham and Clare also both enjoy donating to charities and giving back to the community as much as they can. “As a business that welcomes many people for business and pleasure, we do get inundated with requests for help,” Clare commented. “Unfortunately, we can’t say yes to everyone, but do what we can.”

Wooden Spoon, a rugby based charity that supports underprivileged children, has been a big part of Lanhydrock over the years, with many golf days and special events held in the county.

Clare added, “Both Help For Heroes and Care For Casualties are two charities very close to our hearts. When Oliver was 19, he was injured in Afghanistan almost as soon as he joined the Armed Forces. Luckily he survived fairly unscathed. He was flown back to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and two holdalls arrived for him, one from Help For Heroes and one from Care For Casualties, with clothes, toiletries, a mobile phone, everything that he needed inside. We were so grateful to them, so we did some fundraising over the next couple of years for both charities – when Graham’s mum died in December, she asked for a sum to be donated to Help For Heroes in her will because of what happened to Oliver.”

Oliver went back into the forces after he recovered and is still serving now, in his eleventh year of service. “There was no way he wasn’t going back,” Clare said. “Ever since he was a little boy, he wanted to be a soldier.”

Bond family on the golf course on a summer's day

Thank yous to the team

There are a few members of staff, golf members and other significant individuals who have been part of the Lanhydrock family for a long time, some since Graham and Clare came to Lanhydrock three decades ago!

The current Golf Secretary, Brian Liggat, has been secretary since before 1993. “He’s just like absolute family, a huge part of the place,” Clare commented. “We’re so grateful to our past Captains and Officers, plus our other long-standing and recent members of the club, and love that they’ve become part of our community here over the last 30 years.”

“We’ve so many amazing members of staff who’ve been with us for years,” Clare continued. “Martin Morgan, as previously mentioned, was our head greenskeeper when we first came here. Martin decided to start running marathons when he was about 55, and because of that, we’ve got a really good relationship with Bodmin Running Club – some of the club members now use our Fitness Suite.”

Pat Hone, the company accountant, has also been with us for nearly 20 years. “Pat’s had a challenging time with her health over the years and has had to undergo a few serious operations, and yet we’ve never had to organise cover for her and she’s never missed any of the deadlines. She’s just a six million dollar woman, and like a mother to Graham and I really,” Clare said.

Annie Gowan came to Lanhydrock at 16 years old as a housekeeper on Saturdays. Since then she’s worked her way up the business to her now highly-deserved position as Hotel and Events Manager and Duty Manager. “Annie is my absolute rock,” Clare explained. “I can have a holiday and I don’t have to worry. She can make decisions in my absence, and she’s on to everything. She’s just incredible at what she does.”

Clare Carhart and Poppy Aldworth have also been at Lanhydrock for many years. They’re a huge part of the business, fronting the bar and bistro services – and are both extremely popular with our members!

Andrew Jenkinson, our General Manager, applied for an Executive Head Chef job here initially. “I said to Graham he’s got too much of a personality to lock away in the kitchen,” Clare said. “So we created a position for him which was Operations Manager, and after lockdown he became General Manager. We’re very grateful for Andy and all he does around here.”

Lanhydrock has seen various golf professionals work here over the years. Our current pro, Alister Tawse, joined us in 2014 after 20 years as a Head Golf Pro at West Surrey GC. “Alister is by far the best golf pro we’ve ever had and we’re very thankful to have him. He does a lot for the golf side of the business which we really appreciate, and he’s a brilliant teacher of all age groups,” Clare commented.

“We’re also very thankful for our relationship with Chris Riddle, Secretary of the Royal Cornwall Show Ground,” Clare added. “As soon as we built the hotel in 2006, he reached out to us and said they’d like to take all our bedrooms for Royal Cornwall Show week. We’ve had a strong relationship with Chris for around 20 years, and have had a lot of good business brought to us through him.”

“I must also mention David Webb,” Clare continued. “David came to work for us in ’93 from St Mellion where he was Director of Golf. He was a mentor for us really, helping us to build up some members for the golf club. He’s since passed away, but was very well known through the golfing community. Graham and I were running around like headless chickens when we first took this place on, being in our late twenties and getting stuck into the business, and David, being in his late fifties or early sixties, had the time to sit and chat with the guests and members, to be the host of the club really. He was a real father figure to Graham and I and we learned a lot from him.”

Graham and Clare would also like to thank all of their suppliers, some who have been with them since day one for all 30 years.

Clare commented, “All of our suppliers have been amazing over the years – The Brian Etherington Meat Company, Vincent Tractors, Mason Kings, MJ Baker, Kelly’s Ice Cream, Bill & Rachel Clark from Trewithen Dairy, and many, many more.”

“We’ve been with the same brewery since Graham bought Looe Golf Club in 1989 – Molson Coors Brewing Company. All the area workers have become such good friends of ours, we have a really lovely relationship with them. We’ve also a lovely relationship with Tarquin’s Gin. I’m a gin and tonic drinker and we were one of the first businesses they supplied when they started up about ten years ago. It’s been lovely to watch their business grow,” Clare added.

Graham and Clare are so grateful for the past 30 years, and to their Lanhydrock family for helping to weather the storms that accompanied them.

The recent pandemic has been the hardest challenge by far, but Graham and Clare are thankful to have emerged from it in a place of strength and positivity. They both look back on their time at Lanhydrock with great fondness and affection, delighted to now be celebrating their 30th year milestone and excited to spend many more years doing what they love in the beautiful part of the north Cornish countryside they call home.