He was one of the most popular figures across Scottish amateur golf and beyond, a man whose infectious enthusiasm and love of the sport rubbed off on so many.
It is therefore no surprise that the sudden death of Barrie Douglas has saddened so many in golfing circles.
Barrie passed away peacefully aged 69 on Thursday afternoon with his family at his bedside in Spain. While acting as Scottish Golf’s European Boys’ captain at the Team Championship in La Manga from 11 – 15 July, Barrie took ill and was admitted to hospital.
Diagnosed with lung infections, the Perthshire native battled his illness with typical determination in hospital before his condition steadily worsened and he latterly also suffered heart failure.
Given he was his usual self in July, never short of a story or a giggle with that distinctive laugh, his passing has come as a shock to many. Speak to anyone within Scottish golf, and there is a fair chance they would have known Barrie.
A huge supporter of Scottish Golf Union / Scottish Golf activities, Barrie performed various selection and captaincy roles at boys’ level. He therefore played a close role in the career development of a host of young players over the years, including Perthshire players Wallace Booth, Daniel Young and Bradley Neil.
Booth, a world amateur winner with Scotland in 2008, said: “Legend. The word pretty much everyone that knew Barrie Douglas would use to describe him. I loved him like he was my own dad. Words can’t express how much he has done for me over the years.”
Challenge Tour player David Law, also supported by Barrie in his amateur days, added: “A legend of Scottish golf and a nicer man you wouldn’t meet. Rest in peace, Barrie.” Grant Forrest, a past Scottish Amateur champion like Law, said: “Sad, sad news. The man was a hero.”
Barrie was also a GB&I selector for The R&A from 2009 – 2016 and the Scottish flag flew at half mast for The Boys Amateur at Nairn this week following his passing.
Duncan Weir, Executive Director – Golf Development at The R&A, said: “We were extremely sorry to hear the sad news that Barrie had passed away.
“He was a tremendous servant to Scottish golf over many years and was a widely respected figure in international amateur golfing circles. As a selector, Barrie worked with several generations of emerging young golfers and was well versed in identifying talented young players.
“He was always willing to give advice and guidance and instil confidence in any player looking to progress their career. Barrie will be sadly missed not only at The R&A but throughout the amateur game.”
Barrie was a member of Craigie Hill and Blairgowrie Golf Clubs, as well as the Royal Perth Golfing Society and Perth Academy Former Pupils. He offered such passion for the game in his own locale.
Indeed, in his heyday he was a multiple club champion at ‘The Hill’ and ‘Blair’ and also won at Murrayshall. A Scottish Boys’ internationalist, he also played for Perthshire Rugby FC and was a keen curler.
“No one has done more for county golf in Perth and Kinross than Barrie,” states Charlie Gallagher, president of Perth and Kinross County Golf Union. “He was involved for 55 years, from his days as an Under-14 junior and playing for the boys’ and men’s teams before filling every role on the administrative side, serving as the boys’ and men’s team captain, manager and president. He never looked for credit or pats on the back.
“He was a mentor to so many young players down the years, at county level and for Scotland. He gave advice to them, told it to them straight, and they thought the world of Barrie.
“Barrie was a wonderful golfer in his heyday, the real deal, and competed with the likes of Bernard Gallacher and Willie Milne. The younger players knew that and he commanded respect. They listened and learned. He will be greatly missed by his many friends in golf and beyond.”
Spencer Henderson, the National Boys’ Coach, has been a constant source of support for Barrie and his wife, Trish, and daughters Susan and Jennifer during this difficult time, while Scottish Golf has been in constant communication with the family too as support.
Blane Dodds, CEO of Scottish Golf, said: “I know that Barrie was highly respected and very popular. He invested so much in the game he loved and it was such a big part of his life. He will be sadly missed across the game in this country and our thoughts and prayers are with Barrie’s family.”
Stuart Clayton, Acting Head of Performance for Scottish Golf, summed up: “It is sad, sad news. We echo everything that has been mentioned about Barrie and we are eternally grateful for everything he has done for golf in Scotland. He will be forever missed but also forever in our hearts.”