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EKU Distinguished Alumnus Jack Barber Speaks to PGA Golf Management Students

Jack Barber speaking to EKU golf management students

Eastern Kentucky University’s PGA Golf Management program welcomed Jack Barber, member of the Hall of Distinguished Alumni at EKU, as a guest speaker on Tuesday, February 26. Barber, a four year member of the EKU golf team and graduate in the class of ’72, shared with the class insight to his success over his 35-plus years as a member of the Professional Golf Association of America.

According to Ms. Kim Kincer, EKU's PGA Golf Management program director, “Having a PGA professional of Jack Barber’s caliber on campus was a real treat for our program. Mr. Barber’s expertise and knowledge of the golf industry will help our students as they prepare for a career as a PGA member.”

Barber began his career after earning his degree in physical education in 1972 as a first assistant to John Dunham. Dunham, his former unofficial assistant coach for the EKU golf team, was taking a PGA head professional position in Indianapolis. He once again became a student, learning the many roles a golf professional plays instead of how to better swing a golf club. Barber explained to the students that work ethic is critical to being a golf professional. “In our careers and lives, we have to take a lot of chances and make some tough choices,” he said. “You always have to be one step ahead and you have to be willing to go one step further than everyone else.”

The years under Dunham’s mentorship inspired Barber to pass that same knowledge to the young PGA professionals he met as his career advanced, first as head professional at Lexington Country Club in Kentucky, and then at Meridian Hills Country Club in Indianapolis. Barber emphasized to the students that people skills and personal skills were essential in developing their careers. “It’s shaking hands, smiling, looking people in the eyes, and remembering names,” he explained. Mr. Barber was a perfect example of this, as he took the time to introduce himself to each PGA Golf Management student as they entered the classroom.

Barber said that even though he is in his 28th year working in Indiana, it still feels like he just started. The greatest thing he enjoys now is the mentorship, helping young people. “If we teach the game, we grow the game,” he said. “And if you want to be a golf professional, you better learn how to teach the game.” He has created a program for Butler University to introduce the business students to golf and its importance in the business setting, as well as coordinated a national PGA Business School on Golf Shop Operations and Procedures Manual.

Barber has also been able to help several Professional Golf Management students from his alma mater in their early careers through summer internships. He said that their goal for their interns is to prepare them for a head professional job but, most importantly, have them finish their internship as a better person. Though he serves many roles in his profession as a teacher, player, and entertainer, Barber said that the passion, enthusiasm, and the way we take care of people is what being a golf professional is all about.

Jack Barber has earned numerous accolades at the section level in both Kentucky and Indiana while serving as president, vice president and state treasurer of each state section, including both Kentucky and Indiana PGA Professional of the Year awards. In 2009, he was named the National PGA Golf Professional of the Year, the highest award given by the organization to its professionals. Barber was inducted into the Indiana Golf Hall of Fame and the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame in 2011. He concluded his presentation by asking the students to challenge themselves in their careers and offering his help as they continue towards becoming PGA golf professionals.

Written by – Nicholas W. Vicini, Graduate Assistant in the CBT Dean’s Office

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Published on February 26, 2013

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