Few people know the extreme good fortune that converts a pastime into a career. Even fewer are those to whom such a scenario brings success and rewards beyond imaginings. Barry Ward, one of Greetham Valley’s senior members, is one of the latter and after a life-time in golf writing he is still counting his blessings. He calls it his improbable journey, one which came about through a chain of events that almost defies credulity.
Introduced to golf by chance in consequence of an overseas posting, he virtually fell into golf writing within weeks of taking up the game and has never looked back. Now, after more than five decades of travelling the globe reporting on golf, its memorable places and the people who play it at the highest level, he is still playing and writing about the game he adores to distraction.
“Envious friends have frequently suggested I find a proper job,” he says, “but I can’t think of one that would bring such fulfilment and delight. In any event, I think I’ve left it a bit late to change tack.”
Now in his 81st year and as active as ever, he decided that the time was opportune to gather his memories and record them in book form “for my family and friends, and anyone else who loves this wonderful game of ours.”
Only then did he come to realise the difficulties he faced because “my early material, pounded out on a typewriter for newspapers, had long since gone into oblivion, my files lost for all time after countless domestic moves. Only material produced for magazines in the age of computers and word processors has survived, and indeed not all of that.”
So he has collated a small selection of the latter, “plus a piece or three dug from the memory bank or plucked from old printed publications that have somehow become fixtures in my golf library.”
The chosen pieces were written for various British publications, chiefly Golf Monthly magazine and, in recent times, his web site (www.posh-golf-travel.com) but also for Golf Links magazine, the original Golf News, plus a number of trade and consumer publications and newspapers, The Times of London among the latter.
“Like my career, producing the book has been a labour of love,” he says. “But that applies to anything with golf at its heart. May you enjoy the words as much as I have enjoyed the recollection.”