Champion of Golf Honor Goes to Teacher-Pro
Among the many lessons John Gunby learned from his father during his youth was the importance of giving back.
"He told me that we were pot on this earth to help one another," Gunby said. "Everyone has their own way of doing that."
His way is what led to him being named the AGA's Champion of Golf for 2017. The award is an annual tribute to recognize those who champion golf and golfers through community and charitable activities without seeking public exposure for their efforts.
Golf has defined Ginby's life, dating to pre-teen days when he caddied at Arizona Country Club, and as a teenager working the driving range at Papago Golf Course for the "pay" of one bucket of range balls per day.
In his role as a highly respected club pro, which includes being named Sounthwest Section PGA Pro of the Year in 2013, he has spent countless hours giving back, most prominently to junior golf and Special Olympics. Among other endeavors, he also created a program to provide free golf, equipment and clothing to disabled veterans and is a regular visitor to residents of nursing homes and hospitalized children.
Gunby, 62, is semi-retired but still teaches and coaches at Antelope Hills in Prescott, with his "Make Golf Great Again" program that places emphasis on core vales, tradition of the game, courtesy, pace of play and respecting golfers and golf facilities.
"I'm trying to give back now by teaching the game the way that it should be played. not so much in the mechanics but how to have fun and play with courtesy and respect," Gunby said. "With so many things in the world today, we have lost the personal touch that golf brings, so in the long run, I see it as a way to better society.