On his twelfth birthday, Barry Holt was presented a brand new set of golf clubs by his parents, Grady and Kitty Holt. That same day, Grady took Barry to Willowbrook County Club in southeast Huntsville, where the clubs first golf pro, Sam Byrd, was conducting a junior clinic. Byrd watched the young participants hit a few balls, demonstrated the proper grip and the fundamentals of the swing, and offered a few tips on the putting green. Barry Holt remembers it all like it happened yesterday. That was the day he knew that golf would always be a central part of his life. I loved it," says Holt. I was hooked. I knew Sam Byrd was a famous man who was a great baseball player and great golfer in his younger days. He took an interest in us kids that day and he was always helpful to me." Byrd, who was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1974, had grown up in Birmingham and later performed at the highest level in both baseball and golf. Four years after he started taking golf lessons from Sam Byrd and Ray Dznowski Jr., at Willowbrook (now Valley Hill), Barry Holt was playing for the Grissom High School golf team. I wasnt a very good high school player until my senior year," he said. But I knew Id make it in golf sometime, in some capacity." A victory over future University of Alabama golfer Tab Hudson in the TVC Tournament helped Holt earn a scholarship to Brevard Junior College in Florida. He later transferred to Auburn and was part of coach Sonny Dragoins 1976 SEC championship team, playing alongside the likes of future pros Buddy Gardner and Don Shirey. Holts first job after college was in Greenwich, Conn., as assistant pro at the venerable Tamarack County Club, where one of the members was actor George C. Scott. Tamarack is where I learned all the aspects of being a good golf professional, including teaching, playing, and the day-to-day running of a good golf operation," said Holt, who returned to Huntsville in 1979 as the general manager and head pro at Willowbrook, thanks largely to the persuasion of board member Hubert Hawkins. Thirteen years later he became the first GM/head pro at Cherokee Ridge in Union Grove. In between, he played in two major championships, the 1980 U.S. Open at Baltusrol in New Jersey, won by Jack Nicklaus, and the 1984 PGA at Birminghams Shoal Creek, won by Lee Trevino. Along the way, Holt won several lesser tournaments, and closed with a 69 to finish 11th in the 1983 PGA Pro National Championship at LaQuinta, Calif. He also played in the 2004 and 2006 Senior PGA Championships. Making the field in the Open in 1980 was my biggest thrill as a player, even though I missed the cut," Holt said. As a club pro, I was pretty overwhelmed by that whole scene at Baltusrol." Holt owned Twin Lakes Golf Course in Arab from 1994-2006. For the past 18 years, he has been the head pro and a co-owner with business partner Brooks Barfield at Colonial Golf Course in Meridianville.