Judy Hildner, Puebo Chieftain
When Barbara McIntire was a nine-year-old in Toledo, Ohio, she caddied for her parents when they played golf. It wasn’t long before she was playing with her own cut-down set of clubs.
She nearly made history just a few years later in Duluth, Minnesota, when the 21-year-old McIntire came within a stroke of winning the U.S. Women’s Open as an amateur.
“It was like going to college before graduating from high school,” said McIntire about the 1956 U.S. Open, her most memorable moment in a long career of golfing. She tied with Cathy Cornelius at the end of regulation play, but lost to Cornelius in an 18-hole playoff. “Back then, the final round was 36 holes. They played in three days. I just played real well.”
McIntire played competitive amateur golf for nearly three decades and is an active member of several women’s golf organizations. She has numerous amateur titles to her credit, including the 1959 and 1964 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship and was a member of the United State’s Curtis Cup six times.
“I still play competitively once or twice a year in the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championships,” said McIntire. “I try to play two or three times a week. I would play more if I had more time.”
McIntire moved to Colorado in 1962 and opened a business at the Broadmoor Hotel with Judy Bell, a longtime friend who is also a member of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
“There was a strong corps of women golfers at the Broadmoor then. We could have fielded our own Curtis Cup team from among those players,” said McIntire. That kind of competition gave me a chance to be a better golfer.”
Known for her quiet demeanor, McIntire said her strength has always been her short game. Consistent, even play with a few peaks and valleys has served her well. “I guess that’s my personality,” said McIntire. McIntire also attended the LPGA awards luncheon in 1997, and has been active in tournaments played at the Broadmoor, including duties as vice chairman of the U.S. Women’s Open several years ago.
Back then, the final round was 36 holes. They played in three days. I just played real well.