The best Scots golfer you've never heard of

2016 12 Jimmy Gunn

Dornoch and Arizona are separated by almost 5,000 miles, several notches on the thermostat, and just about every conceivable cultural compass point.


So, it is to Jimmy Gunn’s enormous credit that he not only had the guts to make the move to the American west coast state but that he has been able to stick it out and mould a successful career for himself as a professional golfer.

The 36-year-old has been based there for almost a decade, after turning pro at the age of 27 - by modern standards, very late to make the switch to the paid ranks.
"I miss proper Scottish bacon" - Jimmy Gunn

And although his Highland lilt is now infused with some trans-Atlantic inflections, he insists he is still every bit as ‘Scottish’ as one of the things he misses most about his homeland: Irn-Bru.

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“You can’t get it anywhere over there,” he laughs. “I actually think the FDA has banned it because it contains something that they don’t like, which is a shame.

“And bacon. I miss proper Scottish bacon. I don’t understand how the stuff we get here isn’t available over there. I mean, we have their bacon here - why can’t they have ours? It’s a better cut over here, so they’d probably enjoy it.”

Traditional Scottish ‘cuisine’ aside, one thing Gunn doesn’t miss is the weather. It was, in fact, one of the factors behind his decision to move to the States.

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Born and raised in the Highlands, where he attended Golspie High and Dornoch Academy, Gunn was taught to play golf by his granddad, 11 times a club champion at Royal Dornoch and three times a county champion.

He left school at 16, whereafter he spent two years on the oil rigs and then another three working for his father as a carpenter.

When he wasn’t doing any of that, he could most often be found at Royal Dornoch, where he caddied for seven years to fund his own amateur game.

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It was in 2005, when he was part of a 12-man team from the club that visited Circling Raven Golf Club in Idaho for a friendship-building Ryder Cup-style competition, that his dream of playing professionally for a living first started to crystalise.

The hosts of the trip were so impressed with what they saw that week from Gunn that they kept in touch with him and, ultimately, persuaded him to move to the States to follow his dream.

As well as assisting him financially, they helped him gain a US Sports Visa, which allowed him to compete on the Gateway Tour. In return, he displayed the Circling Raven’s logo on his golf bag.

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