Monday, April 22, 2024

Passion for golf leads to green

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As a black boy growing up, he focused on the little white golf ball and succeeded.Peter Andrew Harewood, 48, now lives in Switzerland where he owns and operates his own golf company, PA golf. He teaches the sport, gives fitness and mind training from his own fitness centre and even designs his own entire line of golf clothing completed with shoes, hats and accessories.But who exactly is Peter Harewood and how and when did he became a successful black businessman living in a predominantly white country?Harewood’s journey started right here in Barbados where he was born. He was raised in and around the Bank Hall, St Michael community before leaving the island at the age of 18. He is the third of seven children; four girls and three boys. Harewood attended the Wesley Hall Primary School and then went on to St Leonards Boys School. According to him it was during his secondary school years that he worked on a golf course “every evening” after school. It was there that he developed a very strong passion for the sport.“Before I left Barbados I was doing a little bit of caddying at Sandy Lane just to get some pocket money. I would take the bags and find the balls for the rich tourists and all the rest of the folks. It kind of inspired me. “So I said, ‘one day I would like to be in a position to do that funny sport that they do and get a lot of money’. But it wasn’t the money that intrigued me it was actually the way they were.“It was back in the 1970s. It was like the high point of the day for me after school. I would sometimes show up right after school in my school uniform hoping that there was somebody playing golf so I could carry their bag. It was like the order of the day. That was what inspired me,” he said.In 1980 Harewood moved to England with one of his aunts where he spent five years. It was during that time he met his wife Ajoke and they made the move to Switzerland.“When I finally moved to Switzerland that is when my golf career took off. It actually took off in 1995. I did the courses that were necessary in order to be an amateur professional. “Then I worked my way up to becoming a teaching professional and it snow balled since then. Year by year I got better,” quipped Harewood, who now works with a team of six including models.
He said golf was his passion and despite the many challenges that he faced early in his life growing up in a poor family in Barbados and during the time he pursued his career, Harewood didn’t let those “birdies” hinder him from realising his goal and true potential.“No matter what tribulations or disappointments I had growing up, all I wanted to do was to make sure that this little black boy focused on that little white ball and succeed. I waited for the right opportunity that never came so I took it in my own hands and grew it like a tree. I never gave up,” said Harewood.In 1999 he returned to Barbados with his wife and had the opportunity of staying and working in a hotel doing what he liked but that was not to be. He worked only one year as an assistant golf operation manager and then he had to make a decision. “In October of 2010 my wife came to me and said ‘Peter, I can’t stay here anymore I want to go home. I cried, but I love my wife. At the time we had two children. I spent a lot of money to ship our things here. We did not have the amount of money to ship them back so we sold everything and moved back to Switzerland with only two suitcases. And that is when my passion for golf came back even more. I was a bit sad at some point, but my career grew and grew and grew,” admitted Harewood.He said he became the first black man to take golf “to a level never seen before in Switzerland”.
In 2005, while riding the train to work one morning, the golfer said that was when the thought hit him about getting his own line of clothing since “golf is not just a sport”, but he had a few doubts at first.“I thought to myself, why not get into clothes. But then I said there are all these other brand names. Everybody had golf clothes and trying to sell them but I said, why not go back to the original, the Knicker? It was my son Zaza, who was five at the time, who came up with the logo, PA golf,” said the father of four boys.Over the years Harewood has been travelling to countries such as Russia, Italy, Holland and Singapore, among others, where he shares his knowledge and skills and also promotes his work and does promotions for others. During this time he met a lot of famous people including world renowned golfer, Tiger Woods.This golf enthusiast has received over a dozen trophies over the last six years and credits some of his achievements to his business partner, Ernst Suter who he said helped him tremendously.When he is not playing or teaching golf or involved in modelling or fitness training, Harewood can be found spending time with family who also play and enjoy golf. Harewood recently came to Barbados with three of his children to show them some of the local golf courses. He said two of his sons, Obed, six and Zaza, nine, are both junior golf professionals at their age, practicing up to five times per week.Despite all the troubles he had, Harewood considers himself a success story.He now hopes to return to Barbados in the near future to share his knowledge as he believes he has a lot to offer. He said his intention was to “open up a golf academy in Barbados”.

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