Local golf personality Forrest passes away

IN HIS ELEMENT: Barry Forrest playing in the Orbell Cup at Levels in 2006.
IN HIS ELEMENT: Barry Forrest playing in the Orbell Cup at Levels in 2006.

South Canterbury's best known golfing administrator, Barry Forrest, has died aged 87.

Mr Forrest's efforts on behalf of golf saw him awarded several life memberships and he was also inducted into the Timaru District Council's ‘Hall of Fame', as a nationally recognised notable New Zealander.

Born in Timaru in 1926, the same year his parents shifted into a new house next to the first tee at the Highfield Golf Course, home to the Timaru Golf Club at the time.

Golf became one of the major influences in his life, a path that he seemed destined to follow with both his father George and uncle Jim being golf professionals.

Mr Forrest started his working life at Pyne Gould Guinness, and only had two employers, an indication of two of his distinguishing characteristics, dedication and loyalty.

He married Ruth Walker, a nurse from Kaiapoi who trained at Timaru Hospital, and had three children Nicola, John and Jane.

At his best the avid golfer played off a scratch handicap, winning both the South Canterbury match and stroke play tournaments.

Golf administration, however, became his forte.

Mr Forrest was involved in the formation of the Mid-South Canterbury Golf Association, which gave locals the opportunity to play representative golf.

In 1966 he became the Mid-South's representative on the New Zealand Golf Council, the start of a long involvement with New Zealand Golf.

Mr Forrest went on to be a selector, with many highlights including managing the 1978 New Zealand team to Papua New Guinea, Eisenhower teams in 1980 to Pinehurst (United States), 1982 to Switzerland and Hong Kong in 1984.

In 1987 he was part of a rare feat that saw the thrashing of Australia in the Sloan Morpeth Trophy with a resounding 10½ to 1½ victory.

The long-time administrator was also made a life member of NZ Golf Association, the Aorangi Golf Association and the Timaru Golf Club.

It was appropriate his funeral was held at the Timaru Golf Club as he had been a member since 1939, giving him a 75-year association.

He sat on the various committees in many capacities including president and eventually patron.

In New Zealand Golf few would have matched Mr Forrest for service, spending 23 years as a councillor and 17 as a selector, as well as his team management roles.

Mr Forrest also had a dry sense of humour. In 2005 he was acknowledged by the Institute of Charted Accountants with a certificate for service.

He said it was a reflection of his life that when he started his career he was doing the accounts for the Plunket Society and when he finished he was doing the accounts for the Alzheimer's Society.

Mr Forrest helped many people in his life and inspired others.

The Timaru Herald