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News from Barbados Golf Club

Peter Bishop Returns to BGC!

Peter Bishop worked for Miller Bros & Buckley 47 years ago on a 1 year contract helping to create the original Golf Course from a sugar plantation and quarry, he was involved in the design / installation of the irrigation system. Peter and his wife Sandra re-visited the Club for the first time last week after all these years. This is what Peter had to say about his time working at BGC:

“My tour of your course with the Green Keeper and Shawn Kinch helped  rekindle my memories, it was good to see some of the original TORO equipment still in place.

I arrived in Barbados 1970 to design and install the irrigation system and a lake during the construction of the new Golf Course designed by Robert Trent Jones.

When meeting the Miller Bros & Buckley Team and walking the old sugar plantation and Quarry site for the first time I realised this was going to be a big challenge as there was very little soil available for the fairways after the greens and tees were being created, which meant we would have to trench through the rock to install the pipes and sprinklers.

I was able to get the pipes and sprinklers on site in 4 weeks, the main pump and rubber lining for the lake after measuring took a few more weeks.

It was a good job I had ordered 10% extra of all parts to cover possible change of design.

I recruited a team of local Bajan plumbers and labourers including 1 electrician to complete the installation total number 10, when they knew my standard of workmanship required we all became a very strong team.

First job was to install a wheel move sprinkler system to feed the Bermuda and Georgian grass in the nursery.

We were soon up to speed pushing the main contractor hard to complete their part to allow us to do ours,  the  pipe work on greens and tees were easy due to plenty of soil.

We could not get a Trencher to dig the fairway rock, there for we had to do this by using hand held air breakers which was very hard work.

The design of the course around the lake changed a few times also the creation of a concrete ditch through the course to feed more water to the lake caused extra work.

When the Quarry was clear of sharp rocks we were able to cover with sand and fit the liner which I notice is still there ,this took about 3 weeks to complete we were then able to install the main pump incorporating a fountain in the middle of the lake.

We were all very excited the day starting the pump to test the system for the first time, it took about a week to correct a few problems and making sure the sprinkler coverage was satisfactory in line with the prevailing wind.

I always encouraged good humour amongst my team, this paid off when asked to work weekends to get the contract completed in 12 Months, hence my comment (when it rains last one to the rum shop buys the round) always me.

Good luck to you and your team in making your Golf Course one of the best in the Caribbean, special thanks to Shawn Kinch and your green keeper for showing us around the course also Richard your ball finder who remembers delivering lunch to some of his family working on the course.”

John Jacobs was golf’s greatest ‘unsung hero’

John Jacobs, described as golf’s greatest ‘unsung hero’ passed away on January 13th 2017.

Mr Jacobs is remembered by Roddy Carr, one of our Directors here at BGC in an article which can be viewed by clicking here.

Below Denny Foster, our Club Professional recalls the time Mr Jacobs visited Barbados and more specifically Barbados Golf Club.

Remembering John Jacobs’ visit to Barbados Golf Club

2007

Quite out of the blue one day, I received a phone call from John Jacobs’ daughter-in-law, Sheila. My name had been given to her by a mutual friend. Could I help her arrange a really special holiday in Barbados for her father-in-law, John Jacobs? She asked. Well, of course, I would certainly give it my best shot, but how could I possibly help? And so, she gave me his wish list. He would like to play a few rounds of golf at Royal Westmoreland, Sandy Lane and Barbados Golf Club. Easy enough, sure thing. Consider it done. Oh, and he would love to go deep sea fishing. Ok, I thought, not a problem. I knew just the man with just the fishing launch – Ralph Johnson whose son, James, was Barbados’ #1 golfer. Oh, and dad’s sporting hero of all time is Sir Garry Sobers. He would give anything to meet him. Done. As it turned out Sir Garry was more than pleased to meet the greatest teacher of golf of all time.

And that is how I met John Jacobs while he was on holiday in Barbados. But what I arranged for him did not compare to what he did for me.

At the time, I had completed the draft of a Learning manual. Mr. Jacobs, on hearing this, offered to edit it for me. I still havethe copy with his question marks and exclamation marks, corrections and comments – on every page. When he was finished with his editing he sat with me at the golf club and we chatted and discussed the manual in detail. I was completely flabbergasted. Here was arguably the most influential teacher of the modern era taking time out to help me improve my understanding of the golf swing and how to better teach it.

After our discussion, he asked me if there was any part of the game that I found difficult to get across to my students. Definitely, yes, I replied. The standard pitch shot is always the most troublesome. Why do you think that is? He asked. Because most students try to lift the ball in to the air by flicking their wrists. He suggested that we go out to the practice area and, right there and then, he shared with me the concept that I should concentrate on teaching the pitch shot being controlled from the core and its rotation and not by the arms or hands.

While on holiday, Mr. Jacobs insisted on conducting a clinic with my juniors. He was in his element, observing their swings and chatting with them, moving from one to the next, always with a word of encouragement, a witty comment and some little corrective action. “I enjoyed being with your juniors immensely,” he wrote me afterwards. “You must be very proud of them.”

Mr. Jacobs was much more than a knowledgeable professional. He was a most remarkable person. He was generous, sincere and kind; and he was gracious and witty. When in his company you knew you were in the presence of a wise and happy and good man. I still treasure every minute that I spent with Mr. Jacobs and I am sure that I am not alone.

Denny Foster

 

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