In 1963 the Bunkowsky family moved from Toronto. Barb’s mom Evelyn and dad Larry bought two farms on Cedar Springs Road in north Burlington. They proceeded to build the Burlington Springs Golf and Country Club on the edge of the idyllic Niagara Escarpment. It was at the age of ten, on this iconic piece of property that Barb’s love for the game of golf was rooted. From an early age, Barb showed a keen interest in the game. With her dad’s guidance – and – a golf course at her doorstep – Barb took her game to tournament play. At 15 years of age, the teen entered a number of tournaments in Ontario establishing herself as a young up and comer. In 1981 Barb finished second in the Ontario Amateur Champion losing to legendary amateur Canadian Golf Hall of Famer Marlene Stewart Streit at the Hamilton Golf & Country Club. This same year, Barb won the Ontario Match Play at the Toronto Golf Club. At 19 Barb was selected to play on the World Amateur Team hosted in Prince Edward Island. Barb’s talent and skill were widely recognized. She received a scholarship to Palm Beach Junior College in Florida and twice earned All-American status. She then took her talent to Florida State University in Tallahassee where she anchored the Seminoles to the 1981 Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women Championship (AIAW) and again was twice named an All-American. In 1994 Barb was inducted into the Florida State University Hall of Fame. In 1983 Barb joined the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour. In her second year on tour, she captured the 54 hole Chrysler-Plymouth Classic at the Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton N.J. defeating six-year pro Muffin Devlin-Spencer by four strokes. On day three of the tournament Barb equaled the course record with a seven-under par 66 – finishing with a 54 hole total 209 – 10 under par.
Among Barb’s best finishes in LPGA major championships:
1985 – 19th - US Women’s Open
1986 – tied – 28th – ANA Inspiration
1987 – 4th – du Maurier Classic – Canadian Women’s Open
1993 – 3rd – Women’s PGA Championship
Barb retired from the LPGA tour in 2000 to begin a family but was drawn back to competitive golf in 2004 when she joined the Legends Women’s Senior Tour. She played in three Handa Cups (2006, 2007, 2008) – a Women’s Legends event based on the Ryder Cup format. In 2009 Barb started teaching full-time with “The First Tee” program in Florida. It is an initiative that builds character, teaches life skills, and promotes healthy choices through the game of golf. Disadvantaged youth and Special Olympians are among the beneficiaries of this Class ‘A’ LPGA Teaching Pro’s expertise. Barb Bunkowsky is an ambassador for the game of golf and one in whom Burlington can be very proud. We are delighted to welcome Barb Bunkowsky into the Burlington Sports Hall of Fame.