Two Coloradans whose service in golf has made an indelible impact will be inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame recently.
Jim Bunch of Denver and Danny Harvanek of Littleton will make up the 46th class of the Hall of Fame were inducted May 20 at Sanctuary Golf Course in Sedalia.
Bunch has served in high-powered volunteer roles at the USGA and with the Western Golf Association, including as the 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.
Harvanek, a longtime PGA master professional in Colorado, has long been touted for his highly-effective instruction work with junior golfers, which helped lay the groundwork for the Colorado PGA Golf in Schools program.
Bunch and Harvanek will become the 140th and 141st inductees into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame, an organization which honored its first class in 1973, when Babe Zaharias, Dave Hill and Babe Lind were inducted.
In addition to Bunch and Harvanek being enshrined, several people/organizations received CGHOF awards at the banquet: the CWGA (Distinguished Service Award), Mark Pfingston (Golf Person of the Year), Rich Billings (Lifetime Achievement Award), and Davis Bryant and Hailey Schalk (Future Famers).
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. 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.
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.
Like Bunch, Harvanek has been a longtime fixture in Colorado. After growing up in western Kansas where he took up the game at age 15 and won a state high school title as a senior, Harvanek moved to the Centennial State in 1979 to take a job on Warren Smith’s staff at Cherry Hills Country Club. Then in 1984, he became the first PGA head professional at Bear Creek Golf Club, remaining in that position through ‘92.
Three consecutive years beginning in 1990, Harvanek received the Colorado PGA’s top honor as Golf Professional of the Year. In 1990, he was also given an award from the CGA for outstanding contributions to amateur golf.
But it was as an instructor — particularly working with junior golfers — that Harvanek particularly made an impact in the new millennium. Using a concise, simple way of communicating while teaching paid off for him. After being the Colorado PGA’s Teacher of the Year in 2003 and the Junior Golf Leader in 2006, Harvanek earned a very prestigious PGA of America award in 2007 as the national Junior Golf Leader.
In the early 2000s, Harvanek wrote eight golf books, many particularly effective in teaching the game to youngsters.
While working as an instructor at Broken Tee Golf Course and The Golf Club at Bear Dance, Harvanek developed a program for exposing kids to golf through their P.E. classes at school. When he approached Denver Public Schools officials with the idea, the result was 22 schools signing up in just two days.
Over a period of about 10 years working at schools in the Denver metro area, Harvanek said he personally taught over 13,000 kids.
Harvanek’s programming and similar seedlings planted by others in the Colorado golf community led to the Colorado PGA Golf in Schools Program, which has reached roughly 70,000 students over the last seven years.
Harvanek now resides in Littleton.
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