The dream to become a professional golfer was a particularly strong one for a young Richard ‘Dick’ Zokol.

He could have easily followed his father and two siblings into a career in dentistry or pursued baseball where he was an all-star pitcher with Kerrisdale Little League. At age 12 the great Stan Leonard asked Richard to caddy for him at the 1971 BC Open—the same day as a key Little League game. Richard chose caddying for Mr. Leonard and never pitched another ball game. Ultimately, it proved a wise decision as he later developed into one of Canada’s most successful pro golfers over two decades on the PGA Tour.

Born in Kitimat, Richard’s family moved to Vancouver and settled across the street from Marine Drive Golf Club, where his parents became members. Aspiring to play like many of Marine Drive’s best, Richard later followed Jim Nelford down to Utah’s Brigham Young University. He arrived as an unknown golf team walk-on, but by 1981 captained BYU to the NCAA championship.

That same year Richard won the Canadian amateur championship and earned his coveted PGA Tour card, fulfilling a childhood dream. On tour he initially struggled but discovered that listening to music on his Walkman improved his game tremendously. The first pro golfer to ever try this, he became known as ‘Disco Dick.’

Over a 22-year pro career, Richard played in 412 PGA Tour and 53 Tour events accumulating over $2 million in winnings. He earned twenty top-10 PGA tournament finishes and in 1992 he won two events: the Greater Milwaukee Open and the Deposit Guaranty Golf Classic. Later he also won the 2001 Samsung Canadian PGA Championship on the Tour.

Richard represented Canada internationally as a member of Canada’s World Cup (1992-93) and Dunhill Cup teams (1985-87, 1992-93) and was twice named Canada’s male professional golfer of the year. Later he played key roles in the development of several BC golf courses including Sagebrush Golf and Sporting Club in Quilchena and Predator Ridge Resort in Vernon.

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