Jack Barber, a native of Ashland, Ky., became in 2009 the second-ever member of the Indiana PGA Section to receive a PGA Golf Professional of the Year award. Barber, 60, grew up as an ardent fan of the Cincinnati Reds and didn’t begin playing golf until age 14. Playing golf until dark, putting under the lights of a car, Barber was unable to afford golf lessons.
He gave up a dream to be a professional baseball player while he improved his golf skills and went on to help Russell High School finish runner-up in the 1968 Kentucky State High School Golf Championship. He went on to earn a golf scholarship to Eastern Kentucky University, graduating in 1972. During the summer, Barber competed in the U.S. Amateur and Western Amateur Championships.
Barber married his high school sweetheart, Becky, and began his professional career as an assistant at nine-hole Ironton (Ohio) Country Club, where he handled all duties with the exception of greens keeper. In 1974, he received an invitation from a former Eastern Kentucky assistant coach turned PGA Professional, John Dunham, to serve from 1974-76 as an assistant at Highland Golf and Country Club in Indianapolis. From there, Barber was hired at age 27, as the head professional at Lexington (Ky.) Country Club.
Barber was the 1981 Kentucky PGA Horton Smith Award winner and the 1985 Kentucky PGA Golf Professional of the Year. He went on to serve on the Kentucky PGA board, and served as president for 1984-85. He was named PGA head professional at Meridian Hills Country Club in Indianapolis in 1986, where he has worked for the past 25 years.
He went on to serve as Indiana PGA Section president from 2008 to 2010. While at Meridian Hills Country Club, Barber has mentored 20 assistant professionals and countless club personnel. Currently, nine of Barber’s former assistants are PGA head professionals. Barber has served on multiple Indiana PGA committees and the 1985 PGA Education Committee.
Since his career began in the Indiana PGA Section, he is a three-time Section Merchandiser of the Year award recipient; the 1993 Section Teacher of the Year; 1996 Golf Professional of the Year and the 2003 Bill Strausbaugh Award recipient. Among Barber’s on-course successes include his winning the 1978 Kentucky State Open, finishing runner-up in 1979; competing from 1979 to 1986 in the PGA Professional National Championship; and capturing the 1983 Kentucky PGA Match Play Championship and the 2002 Indiana Senior PGA Championship. Barber and his wife, Becky, live in Indianapolis, and are the parents of sons Jason and Jesse, and have one granddaughter.