From BC Golf House Society Press Release – July 27, 2012

Golf Writer Arv Olsen
There is only one golf writer alive who can say he both caddied as a kid at Capilano under the watchful eye of legendary pro Jock Mackinnon, and later, for 33 years as the Vancouver Sun’s golf columnist, interviewed the likes of great pro Stan Leonard. That would be 76-year-old Arv Olson, who is still talking and writing golf from his home at Fanny Bay on Vancouver Island.

The Book: Backspin: 120 Years of Golf in British Columbia
Twenty years ago, Arv compiled and published account of the game as it had been played for a century throughout the province. Now, in Backspin: 120 Years of Golf in British Columbia, published by BC’s Heritage House Publishing, we find an expanded, restructured edition that includes loads of new information and photographs. This ambitious undertaking starts in the 1890s on the shores of Jericho Beach in Vancouver and in Beacon Hill Park in Victoria, and ends with the final thrilling holes played in the Victoria Open this June. The author has travelled the province, building a wide offering of anecdotal history from the Kootenays to Haida Gwaii, Victoria to Port Alice and across the Lower Mainland.

The book contains the earliest course development and carries through to the ups and downs of the current era. We meet great players, including William Oliver, the first BC Amateur champion in 1894; Violet Pooley Sweeny, the “Queen of Northwest Golf”; the father-son duo of Davey and Ken Black; plus another 50 personalities that moulded the game across BC. There are club pros like colourful Dunc Sutherland and popular Phil Taylor, PGA tour nomads like Dick Zokol, LPGA winners Dawn Coe and Lisa Walters, reigning PGA Canadian Seniors champion Jim Rutherford, the Asian Tour’s journeyman Brent Franklin, the consummate amateur Doug Roxburgh, and young college phenoms like James Lepp, Nick Taylor and Eugene Wong. 

Backspin covers tournament golf and exhibition events and introduces some of the international visitors from Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen to Britain’s Joyce Wethered. BC golfers are on stage in events played in BC and across the globe from PGA successes to the startling Canadian victory where three BC boys, Dave Barr, Rick Gibson and Ray Stewart, brought home the Dunhill Cup. Olson details the five Canadian Opens played in BC from 1948 through 2011, detailing the last Canadian victory by Pat Fletcher in 1954 through to Adam Hadwin’s sterling effort at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club last year when he set his sights of becoming the first Canadian to win in58 years.

Finally Olson pays tribute to caddies, sponsors, golf media pioneer Bill Good Sr. and countless others while also recalling some 19th-hole hi-jinx and the lighter side of the game.

Backspin includes a thoughtful foreword written by BC golf professional Ward Stouffer, a PGA BC member who first met Arv Olson during tournament play around Vancouver in the 1970s.

Support BC Golf House

The book will be sold as a fundraiser for BC Golf House. Executive Director Barrie McWha is asking all BC pro shops to support the province-wide sales effort. Golf Shops can contact Neil Wedin at Heritage House: 250-370-9964 or [email protected] to order a baker’s dozen. 

Books can also be purchased online at

Individual book purchases will be available through the BC Golf House website. The site will also provide a list of golf courses selling the book.