Golfing Gorilla passes away at age 70

Updated: December 31, 2020

South Puget Sound native and “trainer” to local celebrity golfer The Golfing Gorilla, Tom Tuell passed away in December after a brief battle with cancer. He was 70.

Tom was a lifelong South Puget Sound resident, attending Washington, Hunt, and Wilson High School. He went on to study and play golf at the University of Washington and then graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education.

He loved to laugh and he loved people. Tom began “training” The Golfing Gorilla in the late 1970s to become a trick-shot artist, and went on to speak, teach and entertain fans at celebrity and high-profile golf tournaments and events around the world. His ability to hit a golf ball prodigious distances while wearing a bulky hairy gorilla suit confounded and delighted fans everywhere, and he became a local and national legend. His talent for the long ball included him in the 350 Club, for players who can drive the ball 350+ yards.

Also a talented writer, Tom penned a column for the News Tribune for many years.