Sea Pines employee has 50 years on the greens
He remembers visiting the Sea Pines Resort half a century ago.
Acie Baker Jr. — and what a name for a devoted golf employee — was in his early 20s and working at Port Royal Golf Club when he visited workers at the Ocean Course to see how it looked. That’s when the Sea Pines Resort superintendent asked Baker if he wanted a job.
And 50 years later, he still does.
“I’ve been working here ever since,” said Baker, now 73.
“He’s the oldest guy on my crew and he can do everything, and more,” said Jim Cregan, golf course superintendent of Ocean and Heron Point courses.
Cregan said Baker gives him peace of mind: There’s no need to check up on Baker’s work, “because I’ll know he’ll do it right,” Cregan said.
Baker mows greens, tees and fairways and works on irrigation, among other jobs.
Sometimes, he plays a little golf with friends and co-workers, though he won’t say that he’s good at the sport. He just enjoys it.
He started working at the Sea Pines Resort on Jan. 15, 1965, three years after the Ocean Course was designed. It was the first golf course on Hilton Head Island.
But he won’t say that he knows the course better than anyone. Other staff members have worked there a long time, too, according to Baker, including Cregan, who has been there 22 years.
But maybe he’s being modest. The Bluffton resident remembers when golfers on the Ocean Course shot for holes cut elsewhere on slopes angled otherwise. He remembers its undeveloped surroundings and lighter foot traffic. “But everything’s built up now,” he said.
And he repeatedly sees as many as 150 golfers daily play on the course. He didn’t see that activity 50 years ago.
Cregan doesn’t think he’s seen anyone like Baker.
He is the man at cookouts turning the burgers just so, and he’s the prized coworker who enjoys feeding colleagues. Baker recently brought pulled pork, beans, coleslaw and cornbread that he cooked at home for the workers.
But, cooking aside, Baker is set apart by working 50 years at the same place. “I’ve been on the island a long time, and I don’t recall anyone working for 50 years,” Cregan said.
Baker said he’s heard of job-hopping, but it’s not for him. People leave to work elsewhere, but they might not like it when they get there, he says.
How can he stay on one job for 50 years? “A lot of people ask me,” he said. “Well, I say I get up and go to work, and don’t have any problems.” He likes the people at Sea Pines, and says that his strength and health are good.
Baker believes that he’d have problems if he didn’t work. He doesn’t want to retire. He believes that moseying around the house
would cut his life short. “I don’t want to die right now,” he said.
“He never sits still,” Cregan said.
He probably never will. “No, I’m going to keep working … I’ll live a little longer,” Baker said.
“He’s a pretty unique guy,” Cregan said. “I’m glad he’s around.”