By his own admission, the best shot Bruce Guthrie ever struck at New Haven Country Club came long before he became a member. In fact, he was trespassing at the time.
“When we were kids, Dave Seaman and I, and a few others used to sneak onto the course all the time. We’d go through the fence or climb over it out on the backside and play as many holes as we could until someone saw us and chased us off. I probably played New Haven a thousand times after I became a member, but the best shot I ever hit was one of those days Seaman and I snuck out. We went through the fence behind eleven green and teed it up on twelve. First swing of the day and the ball flew straight into the cup. I couldn’t believe it. It tore up the hole pretty good and I remember we had to spend a few minutes trying to repair it.”
When he wasn’t burrowing through the boundary fences, Guthrie was caddying at New Haven, an inauspicious beginning to a career that would culminate in 2013 with his induction into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame.
Along the way the boy who was itching to play a few holes at that beautiful private course would grow up to become President of New Haven Country Club. Known as “Gut” to Seaman and many others, Guthrie would also serve as President of the Connecticut State Golf Association and the New England Golf Association.
Born in New Haven on January 18, 1940, and a graduate of Hamden High School and Quinnipiac College, Guthrie worked in advertising and sales for Reader’s Digest Magazine. His professional career took him to Rochester, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City and ultimately back home to Connecticut in 1987. That was the year he joined Brooklawn CC and New Haven CC, and began his second career as a dedicated volunteer at championships throughout Connecticut and New England.
Longtime friend and colleague, John Walsh recalled about Guthrie, “He was an advocate for amateur golf in Connecticut. He loved being a starter at CSGA events because it was an opportunity to meet and greet each player. He was a great leader in our association and he knew how to treat people.”
While New Haven CC may have been his first love, Guthrie was also a member of Brooklawn Country Club, Wallingford Country Club and Lake Wales Country Club in Florida. He became a Board Member of the CSGA in 1996, and a member of the New England Golf Association and the USGA Regional Affairs Committee in 1998. He served as President of the CSGA from 2003-2004, and was President of the New England Golf Association in 2009-2010. Until his passing in 2013, Guthrie remained active in CSGA affairs. He served as Chairman of the Hall of Fame Committee through 2012, and worked a full schedule of tournaments either as a starter or as an Official in Charge.
The Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame dates back to 1955 when Robert M. Grant was inducted for his “Distinguished Golf Achievement.” In 1957 Wilton W. Sherman became the first inductee in the category of “Distinguished Service.” Guthrie becomes the 81st overall inductee into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame, and the 33rd selected for Distinguished Service to Golf.
According to CSGA Board Member, Peter Pappas, “Bruce was a sincere and caring individual who touched many lives in and out of the golfing community. His tireless efforts working with the CSGA were legendary. Bruce was a friend who constantly encouraged others to give more to the game he loved. He was and is a great role model for all to follow and he will be greatly missed.”