Belle Terre Pro Baker finds joy in game

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 25, 2008


Sports Editor

George Baker’s first love in life was music, and why not? He played for over 10 years as part of two different bands, and thoroughly enjoyed himself all the while.

But we don’t always marry our first love. Neither did Baker. Later in his life, he found a new passion, one that many have adopted after taking it up for the first time – the game of golf.

And that passion brought Baker to Belle Terre, where he has been the country club’s Golf Pro since December, when he took over for former Belle Terre Pro Bruce Bell.

 “I’m really enjoying things right now,” said Baker, 54. “This job gives me a chance to not only play and take care of the membership, but to work with the business aspect of the game, which I enjoy.”

Baker has been involved in golf for the last 16 years. After playing for awhile, then walking away from the game, he was reintroduced to it through unfortunate circumstances – the death of his father in 1993.

“My brother was having trouble dealing with it,” Baker said. “So to try and get his mind off of it, at least for a little while, I asked him to come and play a few holes.

“After getting back into it, I said to myself, ‘Maybe this might not be a bad way to make a living.’”

Baker did just that. He first took a job working at Bayou Barriere Golf Club for $5 an hour, and worked his way up from there. He would move on to Stonebridge Golf Club, where we would become the Golf Pro there.  He remained there for nine years, until the club temporarily closed.

He’d relocate to take the same job at Quail Hollow in McComb, MS.

But Baker came home to be with his family. After Katrina hit, he would be out of the game for a little over two years.

Then, opportunity knocked, and the Belle Terre job would be his. It fits like a glove, he says.

“My first job in the sport was at a country club, as is this one. It’s been great,” he says. “I work for two good owners at something I love to do.”

Baker, who generally shoots between a 70 and 75, had the opportunity to play in the Zurich Classic earlier this year. As a Class A Club Pro, he was required to play from the tips, where the golfers on tour tee off from – the furthest distance from the hole.

He was paired with Warren Taylor, an established, experienced player. He shot an 83, and was pleased with his performance.

“I’m pretty happy with that,” Baker said. I was 11 over par, It’s a different game with those guys.”

That game is one that Baker can’t help but enjoy, in any capacity.

“It’s hard not to enjoy work, when you’re getting up every morning and going out to the golf course,” said Baker. “If you can’t be happy doing that, then something must be wrong.”