Coeur d’Alene's Circling Raven Sponsors Scottish Golfer Jimmy Gunn

Coeur d’Alene's Circling Raven Sponsors Scottish Golfer Jimmy Gunn

Jack McNeel

Jimmy Gunn is from Scotland and poised to enter the ranks of PGA golfers in the U.S. He lists his home course as Circling Raven Golf Club on the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation. “They sponsor me now and I represent them,” Jimmy says. It sounds like a strange marriage yet the background to this arrangement dates back over 200 years.

The history is fascinating and almost unique in Indian country. It was 1809 and the Schitsu’umsh (Coeur d’Alenes) had their first meeting with the white race, Scottish trappers and traders. The meeting and subsequent interaction were good for both groups, Indian Country Today Media Network is told.

Skip forward 196 years to 2005. A group of Scottish golfers from Royal Dornoch Golf Course in Scotland, at the invitation of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, arrive on the reservation to play the Circling Raven course against local Indian golfers. It’s unlikely any of the visitors knew of that history and close relationship so long ago, but the tribe had never forgotten.

“We’ll start with a prayer for this historical event,” tribal elder Cliff SiJohn (now deceased) said at that time. “The reuniting of our people with the fur men, the traders. These men have done honor to us by coming from across the waters.” The Scottish golfers were treated like long lost friends and that relationship continues to this day. Jimmy Gunn was one of that team in 2005.

The game of golf as we know it today originated in Scotland. The Royal Dornoch Golf Course is the third oldest course in that country with a long and proud history. That was where Jimmy Gunn grew up, playing and caddying on Royal Dornoch. One of the originators was a Dr. Hugh Gunn, likely one of Jimmy’s ancestors.

Bob Bostwick, director of public relations at the resort, is an avid golfer. He has visited Royal Dornoch on several occasions and was central to the visit by the Scotch golfers. “I’ve always kept in touch with Bob,” Gunn said. “We’re pretty much best friends. We talk at least once a week.”

Bostwick remembers that visit in 2005 very well. “I’ve played coast to coast, border to border and overseas, but it was the most enjoyable week in the game of golf I’ve ever had in my life. It was a very special time for all of us from here and great memories on both sides of the Atlantic regarding that week.”

He remembers Jimmy Gunn at that time. “He was probably their best player. Jimmy was maybe a plus 2 handicap at the time. He was one with pretty special talent. You could see a real future in him, watching him play back then.”

Gunn returned to the U.S. in 2008. “It was a great opportunity for us to give him a bit of a boost and create some opportunity for him when he came over here,” Bostwick remembers. “He’s been wearing the Circling Raven brand since he’s been over here.”

Jimmy Gunn also recalls that help. “They gave me a lot of money to play, all my fees and stuff. They did a lot for me and I’ll never forget it. They root for me and that does mean a lot to me.”

He’s now at a different stage in his career and the financial aid isn’t as important as it was in 2008. That appreciation shows through when he spoke to Bostwick. “I don’t even care if you guys offer me money or not. I would love to represent you because of what you did for me at the start.”

Jimmy Gunn will be playing at the Qualifying Tournament in La Quinta, CA from Dec. 12-17, wearing the Circling Raven logo on his back. This is a qualifying tournament, essentially one step below the PGA, which can lead to playing in the PGA and will be aired on the Golf Channel.

Things look good for Gunn. He says, “I do not, not see me playing on the PGA tour. My game is pretty good. I feel like my mental game is better than anybody else’s. It’s been a great year for me. I probably played 25 events. I won twice, finished second, fourth probably five times and lost in a playoff twice.”

Bostwick’s comment reflects that mental attitude even more strongly, “Jimmy honestly feels he can play with anybody, any course, any time.”

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Anonymous's picture
Who were these Scottish trappers? David Thompson was English. Other accounts say the Schitsu’umsh mingled with French-Canadian trappers (which is where they first heard of Catholicism). This is the first I've heard of meetings with Scottish trappers and traders.


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