WOBURN — The region’s grateful golf community came out to pay homage to Lynn native and longtime PGA professional Paul Barkhouse (and wife Nancy) Nov. 17 at an emotional retirement party held at Woburn Country Club.
“To have you all here for me tonight is unbelievable,” the ever-humble Barkhouse, 76, told the gathering of close to 150. “It is really something for a kid from Lynn.”
Barkhouse, best known as the head professional at Woburn the past 17 years and earlier in his career for 12 years at Ferncroft Country Club, was especially moved by the presence of 13 of his fellow PGA pros, including former Ipswich CC head pro Steve Carter, who flew in from Akron, Ohio, where he has been a general manager for 10 years.
Among the other professionals in attendance were North Shore favorites Bob Green, Jim Tobin, John O’Connor, Donnie Lyons, Jim Lane and Bill Lindquist, plus Joe Carr, David Lane, Dana Janis, Andy Froude, Jack Neville and Tony Morosco, former PGA of America Professional of the Year. Tobin, Lyons, Jim Lane, and Morosco are members of the New England PGA Hall of Fame, as is 2000 inductee Barkhouse.
“Paul has been one of the best club professionals in Massachusetts and New England for a very long time,” said Green, who will be serving as Tedesco’s head professional in 2018 for the 40th consecutive year. “We all know he was a legend as an amateur around here. He only enhanced that legend during his outstanding career as a PGA professional.
“When I was a kid at Happy Valley (now named Larry Gannon Municipal) in Lynn, Paul was the Pied Piper as Larry Gannon’s assistant, the way he could hit the ball a mile, be such a fine player and be so helpful to any kid he saw. He was always willing to give gentle guidance to one and all. He was the same way throughout his professional career,” continued Green. “He never changed as a person either, even after his time on the PGA Tour and later as one of the best players the NEPGA ever saw.”
Green closed his remarks by relating a story told by just-retired Bear Hill head pro Eric Stevenson. “When Eric bumped into some Philadelphia-area pros and he mentioned the name Paul Barkhouse to them, they replied, ‘You mean Bionic Barkhouse?’ ”
Jesse Menachem, executive director of the Massachusetts Golf Association, called Barkhouse, winner of the 1976 Massachusetts Open in a dramatic playoff with Bob Menne and Bruce Douglass at Worcester, “as storied a golf professional as we have in Massachusetts today; a true ambassador of the game.”
Carter, Barkhouse’s multi-year partner in the NEPGA Pro-Pro championship, called Paul “my favorite player in the world. He gave me a wonderful outlook in the game and my career. And he always made golf fun.”
North Shore Golf magazine columnist Gary Larrabee shared with those in attendance his 50-year relationship with Barkhouse, which started in 1968 when he latched on as Barkhouse’s permanent caddie for two seasons. “I later became his unofficial publicist, or so people thought, when Barkie became head pro at Ferncroft and I covered his exploits for The Salem Evening News. We won a few NEPGA Pro-Press titles together and he set me up with some special interviews with Ferncroft guest golfers Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays and Brent Musburger. I consider myself blessed to be able to honor Paul tonight, a half century after we first met.”
Three letters of congratulation were read, one by Larrabee from PGA of America president Paul Levy, one by Carr from NEPGA president Ron Bibeau and one by emcee Barry Donovan of Woburn CC from Pete Bevacqua, CEO of the PGA of America. Donovan was the chairman of the event.
Also attending were Paul’s wife of 47 years, Nancy Galeazzi Barkhouse, their daughter, Tracy Winter, and her three children – Savanna, Vin and Dagan.
It was a marvelous night for North Shore golf. Barkhouse has been an exemplary face of professional golf for 53 years, a champion player, instructor and mentor; a friend to all who love the game.