President & Founder
LaBar Golf Renovations
Interview with Matt Ward
Rich LaBar is president and founder of LaBar Golf Renovations (LGR, LLC). LGR was started in 2012 and is ranked a top U.S. golf renovation and restoration company. LGR works with top architects including Hanse Design, Keith Foster, Fazio Design, Nicklaus Design at some of the country’s most exclusive private golf clubs.
LaBar graduated from Rutgers University in 1991 with a Bachelors of Science in Economics and Business. In 1993, he completed the Rutgers Turf Management Program. He lives in Harding Township, New Jersey with his wife and two children.
The LaBar Story —
During my college years, I spent my summers working at Crystal Springs Golf Club – NJ – as a general laborer.
After graduation, I had hoped to land a job on Wall Street, however my career path changed due to an opportunity presented to me by Gene Mulvihill — developer and owner of Crystal Springs Golf Resort in Northern New Jersey.
I ended up taking a position as project manager for the construction of Black Bear Golf Club, in Franklin NJ, and then went on to build Ballyowen Golf Club and Wild Turkey Golf Club for Mr. Mulvihill.
You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion?
To be the best golf course renovation company in the United States.
You are working in an endeavor that clearly interests you — what makes the work so compelling?
The love of the sport… To work in an industry with which I have passion and to be in charge of my destiny and provide opportunity for my team.
How has the industry evolved from when you first started to present day?
The industry has evolved due to the technology that is now available. For example, we install Precision Air Systems, Sub Air Systems and Hydronics Systems, and much-improved bunker lining systems.
In your efforts — you actually take an idea concept and make that into reality. Do most golfers fail to appreciate the skills required to do just that?
Yes, most golfers have no idea what goes into the design and build of golf course renovation and restoration.
What’s the most challenging aspect in what you do?
Three things come to mind. First, pick the right projects that fit with our schedule
Second, learning to say no to great projects that do not fit our schedule. Finally, weather is also a huge challenge as it impacts our ability to meet deadlines and we like to meet deadlines.
A number of golf clubs / courses are looking to stay relevant and have opted to go forward in upgrading / restoring key design elements. Have such efforts been a boom time for your services?
Yes, it absolutely has been a boom time. We pride ourselves doing a quality job that has led to a high demand for our services.
How do you see your business efforts going forward given the impact of the pandemic?
Thankfully, golf is something people can do with social distancing. Our clients are doing the best they can under the current circumstances. Projects to renovate and restore have continued across the Country.
If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
The one thing I would change about golf… growth of the game and more accessibility. Introduce more people to the game of golf through expanded programs.
If you had one of round of golf to play — where would you tee it up and who would be the three other people joining you?
Cypress Point, Monterey Peninsula in California. I have been fortunate to have played there several times. One of my favorite walks in all of golf! I would take my wife and two children next time.
Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from?
Treat all people, no matter what their place in life, with the same respect.
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