Levin Golf Club has farewelled a greenkeeper who probably knows the course better than anybody else on the planet.
Peter Bull first started work at the picturesque 18-hole Moutere Links course near Hokio in 1983, when he was just 23 years old.
He would just about know every blade of grass, and all the nooks and crannies, as he first set foot on the course as an 8-year-old, and had continued to play there for more than half a century, too.
The 60-year-old hung up his greenkeeping gloves late last year to take up a new role as groundsman at Speldhurst Country Estate at Ōhau, near Levin
"I enjoyed the job. It was just time for a change," he said.
As a young man, prior to the greenkeeping job, he was working in a factory in town, in a room with no windows.
Yearning for a change and a job with wide open spaces, he started volunteering at the Levin Golf Course during his annual leave.
One day, while playing in a tournament at the course, he approached the head greenkeeper to inquire if there were any job vacancies.
Bull was hired on the spot. Learning firstly from course superintendent Keith Monk, he would go on to be head greenkeeper at the course for decades. For a period of time he lived on the course, too.
Looking back, he said being a greenkeeper was a rewarding job and allowed him to combine his work with his passion for golf.
A powerful and long hitter in his prime, he first started playing golf at Levin at the age of 8. By the time he was 12, he had a handicap of just nine.
The improvement continued and for years Bull played off a one handicap. He was a mainstay in the club at pennants team at tournaments for years. Twice he won the Levin Open tournament.
A highlight for Bull was qualifying to play in the New Zealand Open at Paraparaumu in 1985, warming up in the group behind the legendary Sir Bob Charles the day before the tournament.
But while he failed to make the cut after the first two days of play, he led the field early in the tournament and was actually in front after two holes.
"But that was because I was the first to tee off," he said.
These days he plays off a handicap of seven, although he hadn't played for four months due to a crook hip.
He was proud of the fact that during that time he had trained nine apprentice greenkeepers at Levin, including son Ethan, who was now tending to the Yamba Golf and Country Club in Yamba, New South Wales.