During Dave Barr’s golf career the only lesson he ever received was a little putting instruction from Irv Taylor, one of the head pros at the Kelowna Golf & Country Club. “But other than that”,Barr recalled, “it was pick it up and play on your own, figure it out by feel, whatever worked.” Over the course of nearly thirty years as one of Canada’s top touring professionals, it’s safe to say it worked for him.

Born and raised in Kelowna, Barr first began golfing when his dad’s aunt gave him an old set of clubs and from dawn to dusk he played a long-gone Kelowna nine-hole course called Mountain Shadows, sometimes 54 holes in a single day. Later he was offered a four-year scholarship to Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma and there he won five college tournaments, including finishing fifth in the NCAA championship and earning second team All-American status in 1973.

Barr turned pro in 1974 and played on the Canadian Tour until 1977, winning five times. After earning his PGA Tour card, he joined the big Tour alongside some of the golf greats he’d grown up watching on TV: Nicklaus, Palmer, Trevino, and Player among others. Barr held his own and became known as one of the longest drivers on Tour, regularly hitting 300+ yards off the tee when that number really meant something, the players then still using laminated or persimmon head woods. From 1978-2002, Barr ranked as the most successful Canadian on Tour in an era when there were several solid Canuck pros including Dan Halldorson, Jim Nelford, and Richard Zokol.

Playing in 523 career PGA tournaments, Barr accumulated an impressive 39 top-ten finishes, as well as two victories: the 1981 Quad Cities Open in Oakland, California where he won a five-man playoff, and the 1987 Georgia-Pacific Atlanta Golf Classic, where he ran away with the tournament record low score at -23. His best career result in a Major occurred at the 1985 US Open when he finished runner-up to Andy North. Eleven times Barr ranked among the top-100 PGA Tour golfers in season-end earnings, his highest ranking #35 in 1988. He became the first Canadian to earn over $2 million on the PGA Tour and his career earnings ultimately topped $2.4 million.

Internationally, Barr represented Canada at 13 World Cups and nine Dunhill Cups, highlighted by winning the 1985 World Cup Team title with Halldorson and, of course, memorably captaining a Canadian threesome featuring Ray Stewart and Rick Gibson to Canada’s only Dunhill Cup victory in 1994 at St. Andrews.

Barr joined the Senior Champions Tour in 2002 and became the first Canadian and only the third international player to win a Champions Tour event, taking the 2003 Royal Caribbean Golf Classic.

Written and researched by Jason Beck, Curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.