Bob Gunnell has long been recognized as not only one of the top golfers in this area, but also in Western New York and Florida.
Nicknamed the "Gunner," Gunnell was born in Jamestown on January 25, 1934, and has lived all of his life in Chautauqua County.
As member of Chautauqua Golf Club, in October 1990 Gunnell earned one of the two area berths for the United States Golf Association Senior Amateur Championship in Carefree, Arizona. He earned the berth by sinking a 20-foot sudden-death putt on the 360 yard No. 2 in the qualifier at Clarence's Brookfield Country Club. At the Senior Amateur, Gunnell won his first match before being eliminated in his second match.
Earlier in the year, Gunnell defeated two-time defending champ John Gaffneyin a playoff to win the Buffalo District Golf Association Individual Championship at the Brierwood County Club. Also, during the summer of 1990, Gunnell dropped a 2-foot birdie on the fourth playoff hole to defeat Joe Garner of Poughkeepsie to claim the New York State Seniors Tournament at the Teugoga Country Club in Rome.
Overall, Gunnell has won the Buffalo District Golf Association Tournament once in the Pro-Seniors Division and twice each in the Seniors, Father-Son and Better Ball Tournaments. He has captured four Western New York Amateur Tournaments and two Southwestern New York-Northwestern Pennsylvania Tournaments. In the latter he was the medalist three times.
Gunnell, who is a scratch golfer and has recorded four holes-in-one during his career, has made seven appearances in the New York State Amateur, placed fifth in the Florida State Seniors Tournament and played twice in the Porter Cup Classic.
Other accomplishments by Gunnell were capturing the Clifton Springs Best-Ball Tournament three times, three victories in the Elkdale Tournament at Salamanca, three wins in the Gowanda Fall Classic and other victories at the Clete Fox Tournament at Transit Valley and the Jack Ahern Cup Matches at Wanaka. Also, Gunnell had two wins at the Penn Bank Open at Pine Acres near Bradford, Pennsylvania.
In Chautauqua County, Gunnell has won several club championships at Chautauqua Golf Club, Moon Brook Country Club and South Hills Country Club. He holds the course record at Chautauqua with a 62 and at South Hills with a 64. In Pennsylvania, he has won several club titles at Jackson Valley Country Club and shot a course record of 64 at Cable Hollow, a 65 at Blueberry Hills and a 63 at North Hills.
Gunnell graduated from Jamestown High School where he was involved in baseball, bowling and basketball. Gunnell made quite a varsity baseball debut as a sophomore by hurling a 14-0 no-hitter with nine strikeouts and three walks against Westfield. Known for his tough curveball and fastball, Gunnell wound up with a 15-1 high school record.
In bowling, Gunnell had a 195 average and one year had the highest game (225) and series (552) at the Chautauqua County League meet held at Lakewood Alleys.
Gunnell had a tryout with the Brooklyn Dodgers, but later signed with the Philadelphia Phillies and played for Pulaski, Virginia, in the Appalachian League. As a rookie in 1953, he made his Pulaski debut in relief by hurling 3-1/3 innings, allowing an unearned run, striking out three and walking two in a 7-6 non-decision loss to Wytheville in the season-opener. He also hit a double in his lone at-bat.
When not playing baseball, Gunnell did his share of managing youngsters and boys team and took the International Division All-Stars of the Jamestown Little League to within four outs of going to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Gunnell also managed the Mt. Moriah squad in the Jamestown Little League for five years with Duane Schaffer. Then he managed his son Robbie's Lakewood Red Sox to three straight titles in the Southwestern Area Cub-League and also managed in the all-star game. After that, he managed the Giants in the Southwestern Area Lions League for three years, including one undefeated season.
Bob was elected to the Society of Seniors in 1984.
He has qualified for three US Senior Amateur Tournaments: 1990 Carefree, AZ, 1994 Nicholasville, KY and 1997 Bridgehampton, Long Island.
His career holes-in-one now totals eleven.
New York State Seniors at Bellevue CC - Syracuse
2X - Buffalo District at Glen Oak
9X - Buffalo District Seniors
Riverhead Senior Invitational - Port Charlotte, FL
Marion County Senior - Ocala FL
Society of Seniors - Melbourne, FL
2X club champion - Country Club at Silver Spring Shores - Ocala, FL
2X club champion - Timber Pines CC - Spring Hill, FL
2X club champion - Del Webb's Spruce Preserve Golf Club - Dunnellon, FL
Bob Gunnell was inducted into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.