Barnes was like many golfers of his era, and worked as a caddie and a club-maker"s apprentice while growing up. He moved to the United States and turned professional in 1906, but never became an American citizen. He arrived in San Francisco, and later worked in Vancouver, British Columbia, Spokane, Washington, and Tacoma, Washington, and then at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.
Barnes was also known as "Long Jim" for his height of 6 ft 4 in (193 m).
He later moved west to the Oakland, California, area where he resided for many years. Barnes authored several books on golf technique, and died at age 80 in East Orange, New Jersey.
Professional Golf Association Championship: 1916, 1919 United States. Open: 1921 The Open Championship: 1925 Barnes was one of the most prolific tournament winners of the first few seasons of the Professional Golf Association Tour, which was also founded in 1916. He led the tournament winners list in four seasons: 1916 with three, 1917 with two (shared with Mike Brady), 1919 with five and 1921 with four.
In 1940, Barnes was honored as one of the 12 golfers to be inducted in the Professional Golf Association"s inaugural Hall of Fame.
Later he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1989. Professional Golf Association Tour wins (21) 1916 (3) North and South Open, Connecticut Open, Professional Golf Association Championship Other wins.