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NZ: Barber set to leave Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club

POSTED ON May 13, 2024 @ 7:50 am

For the last 18 years, Leo Barber has been the face of the spiritual home of golf as its superintendent and general manager, and one of many key people who have been part of the club’s upward trajectory.

But all good things must come to an end and Barber is leaving to start a new job with PGG Wrightson Turf servicing turf managers in the Wellington region and growing business abroad.

His last day at the club is early next month but he plans on being a member and enjoying some “hassle-free” rounds of golf.

“I will now be able to enjoy a sunny day instead of thinking if the grass is drying out.

“I can enjoy the sound of rain on the roof without having too much emotion about if it is going to flood or create some disease.

Over the years Barber has overseen a lot of improvements around the course, and the clubhouse, and has always sung its praises.

“It was nice to be part of the renaissance of the club.”

He had seen membership go from “struggling to thriving”, the club go from being “over $1 million in debt but effectively debt free”, and a “shift from one of austerity to one of growth”.

Barber felt “extremely privileged” to have led the golf club’s custodianship and worked with many passionate and hardworking individuals both on and off the course who shared a common vision of continual improvement and delivering an authentic links experience every day for players.

Moreover, his time at the club had led to “so many incredible experiences, personal and professional development, a huge deal of job satisfaction, and I have been fortunate to meet so many great people in the course of my job, many of whom ultimately became close friends”.

Some of the many highlights included playing a round of golf with Sir Bob Charles (the 1963 British Open winner) and bestowing honourary membership on him as well as Steve Williams who was Woods’ caddie for a long time.

He enjoyed hosting a dozen people from Augusta National who were part of a wider delegation during the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship held at Royal Wellington.

Barber enjoyed helping host many tournaments, the ability to visit other clubs around the world, sharing special moments with club members, seeing youngsters such as Alec Prentice excel, and staff reach their potential.

He was rapt to receive the Golf NZ Administrator of the Year award as well as the environmental award.

Club president Glen Mitchell said Barber’s time at the club “will certainly be remembered for the transformation of our golf course from one that had lost some of the fundamental characteristics associated with pure links golf to a course which today is again regarded as a world-class example with world rankings to match”.

“Working under the direction of multiple chairpersons and management committees over that time, his vision for Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club is now reflected in the wonderfully restored links, a healthy balance sheet, and high-water marks for membership and rounds of golf played.”

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