Canadian Sports Legends: Where Are They Now? .... Dave Barr

Other Sep 30, 2020

David Allen Barr was born on March 1st, 1952 in Kelowna B.C.  

Barr’s introduction to the game of golf came when his dad’s aunt gave him an old set of clubs, he was hooked from the beginning, playing from dawn to dusk at a local 9-hole course, sometimes 54 holes in a single day.   Dave was a natural who developed his talent the old-fashioned way …. practice, practice, practice.  The only lesson he ever received was a little putting instruction from the head pro at the Kelowna Golf & Country Club.  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 certainly worked out for Dave.

Dave was offered a four-year scholarship to Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he won five college tournaments, including finishing fifth in the NCAA championship and earning second team All-American status in 1973.  To this day Barr’s go-to putter is an old MacGregor CB5 that was given to him in 1971 by his college coach.

In 1974 Barr turned pro 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 his childhood idols including Nicklaus, Palmer, Player and Trevino.   Barr quickly established himself as a Tour competitor and became known as one of the longest drivers on Tour, regularly hitting 300+ yards off the tee (quite a feat back in the day!)  From 1978 to 2002, Barr ranked as the most successful Canadian on Tour  - an impressive distinction given the other Canadian talent on Tour including Halldorson, Nelford, and  Zokol.

Playing in 523 career PGA tournaments, Barr accumulated an impressive 39 top-ten finishes, as well as two PGA victories - capturing the 1981 Quad Cities Open (where he won in a five-man play-off) and the 1987 Georgia-Pacific Atlanta Golf Classic (the win earned him $108,000 – last year’s US Open winner collected $1.8 million). Dave captured the 1985 PGA Championship of Canada at Brampton Golf Club. That same year, Barr finished tied for second at the U.S. Open – finishing runner-up to Andy North..  Barr is a 12-time PGA Tour Canada winner.

Internationally, Barr represented Canada at 13 World Cups and 9 Dunhill Cups, highlighted by winning the 1985 World Cup Team title with Halldorson, and memorably captaining a Canuck threesome featuring Ray Stewart and Rick Gibson to Canada’s only Dunhill Cup victory in 1994 at St. Andrews.

Barr’s career highlights and achievements include:

  • Two-time PGA tournament winner
  • Ranked among the top-100 PGA Tour golfers in season-end earnings – 11 times, his highest ranking #35 in 1988.
  • Became the first Canadian to earn over $2 million on the PGA Tour and his career earnings ultimately topped $2.4 million.
  • Inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame in 2000
  • Member of the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame.

What’s Dave doing now?

Dave and his wife LuAnn spend their summers in Kelowna and winters in Palm Desert California - never straying far from the golf course.  After turning 50, Barr began play on the Champions Tour and in 2003 became the first Canadian to win a Tour event.  Barr won the 2007 Canadian PGA Seniors' Championship at The Marshes Golf Club in Ottawa.   Dave’s last competitive round was played in 2013 - but according to the boys at the Kelowna Golf & Country Club things still get very competitive for Wednesday Men’s Night.