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Al Barkow began his career as a golf writer/historian, in 1963, as the writer for the Emmy-Award winning television series, Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf. He eventually became, also, an associate producer of the show. From there he became editor-in-chief of Golf Magazine, then Golf Illustrated magazine.
As a free-lance writer he published numerous articles with publications that included Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Golf Digest, GolfWorld, among many others.
His numerous books include Golf”s Golden Grind, the History of the Tour, Gettin’ to the Dance Floor: an Oral History of American Golf (winner of the inaugural USGA International Golf Book of the Year Award, 1986), a biography of Sam Snead(Sam: The One and Only Sam Snead): The Upset: Jack Fleck’s Incredible Defeat of Ben Hogan for the US Open. Barkow collaborated with various golf professionals in writing golf instruction books, that include: The Good Sense of Golf, w/Billy Casper, The Venturi Analysis, w/ Ken Venturi, The Master of Putting, w/George Low, Dave Stockton’s Putting Secrets, w/Dave Stockton, Play Lower Handicap Golf, w/Phil Rodgers, Getting Set for Golf, w/Carl Lohren. He has written hundreds of instructional articles for Golf and Golf Illustrated with such instructors as Jim McLean, Hank Haney, Julius Boros, Henry Picard, Billy Harmon, and many others.
Barkow also appeared as a commentator on television programs that included Inside the PGA Tour, and The Senior PGA Tour, and on radio programs such as Sports Illustrated Plus, and Sportsband.
Barkow’s awards include the PGA of America Lifetime Achievement - Journalism - Award (2005), and The Memorial Tournament Honoree (Journalism- 2003).
As a golfer Barkow was a member of an NAIA national championship golf team (Western Illinois University, 1959), and competed in the US Amateur Championship (1971).