2018 Colorado Golf Hall of Fame Inductee
When it comes to giving his time to try to better the game of golf, Jim Bunch is willing and able.
The longtime Denver resident has volunteered countless hours while playing prominent roles with both the USGA and the Western Golf Association in the 21st century. That selfless service has earned Bunch a spot in the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame.
Over the years, Bunch’s roles have included being chairman of the USGA Rules of Golf Committee, of the WGA and of the Evans Scholars Foundation that awards full tuition and housing college scholarships to high-achieving caddies with limited financial means.
Bunch was a member of the USGA’s Executive Committee, one of the most powerful ruling bodies in golf, from 2003-10. At various times during that span, he chaired the USGA’s Rules of Golf, Finance, Grants and Bob Jones Award Committees. During his time chairing the Rules of Golf Committee, Bunch spent more than 150 nights on the road on USGA-related business—often largely at his own expense.
Two years after leaving the USGA Executive Committee, Bunch became the first chairman of the WGA from Colorado during a time when Western Golf was awarding more Evans Scholarships than ever before. The chairman is the top volunteer leadership position at the association. Then in 2014, he moved on to be chairman of the board of trustees for the Evans Scholars Foundation.
In both cases, it was a labor of love for Bunch, who caddied as a 12-year-old in the Chicago area. The WGA administers the Evans Scholarship for caddies, including the chapter at the University of Colorado, and oversees the PGA Tour’s BMW Championship, which benefits the Evans Scholarship. Bunch first joined the WGA board of directors in 1992, and still serves as an Evans Scholars Foundation trustee.
“Caddying is in my DNA,” Bunch said. “I’ve had a close relationship with caddying and the Evans Scholarship since I was 12 years old.’’
Bunch has long been a regular at the annual Selection Committee meeting that vets the finalists for the Evans Scholarship at CU. And in recent years, it hasn’t been unusual for him to attend several similar events around the country.
“It’s the best day of the year without any question—and not just for the Evans Scholars but for me,” Bunch said. “It’s very rewarding and makes you so glad you’re helping out. It’s a one-of-a-kind event; there’s not another organization that I know that does it like that. I look forward to it.”
Bunch, a Denver resident since 1970, well understands the effect the Evans Scholarship can have on those selected, along with their families. There are 965 Scholars currently in school nationwide, including 62 at CU. Since U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur champion Chick Evans started the Evans Scholarship in 1930, it’s produced more than 10,600 alums.
“The Evans Scholars program is one of the great things golf has done,” Bunch said. “It changes lives for families. When you’re touching lives, I can’t think of anything more worthwhile as a golfer.
“As for the USGA, it has international scope, so to be involved with such an organization is an honor. And as chair of the Rules Committee, I had the privilege of walking with the final groups at national and international championships.
“When you’re dealing with non-profits, you might think about what you’re putting into it (as a volunteer), but you never think what you get out of it. And you get a lot more out of it than you put it. And the people you meet working for these organizations, they’re very good people and many become friends.”
During Bunch’s stint on the USGA Executive Committee, he not only devoted a huge chunk of time to his duties, but he also paid for his travel and related expenses out of his own pocket, like all committee members did at the time. Also on the 15-member Executive Committee for part of Bunch’s time there was another Coloradan, Christie Austin, who also has been inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame.
“It’s exhausting—it’s a very heavy time commitment—but there’s enormous satisfaction,” Bunch said in 2009. “Everybody on the committee has their own niche, and at the end of the day we all have smiles on our faces.”
Bunch is a member at Denver Country Club and The Club at Cordillera in Colorado, as well as at The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews and Prestwick in Scotland.