96-year-old golf course volunteer continues work amid coronavirus outbreak

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – He’s almost a hundred years old but he isn’t letting the pandemic keep him from his passion, golf. While he isn’t able to play, he’s still committed to keeping the greens, green and keeping golfers smiling.

Paul Baker got an early start Wednesday morning, trimming hedges and making sure the University of New Mexico North Golf Course has everything golfers need. “I’m not married and I got my house cleaned and I have to have something to do,” Baker says.

Baker has been volunteering at the course for 30 years. “The north course is his life it’s his reason to get up in the morning,” says head golf pro, Roger Case

KRQE News 13 was there in March of last year when course staff and players surprised him on his 95th birthday. Typically he plays a round after he sets up for the day but UNM North’s ban of golf carts right now has changed his routine. “I can’t walk so we have it open for walking only,” Baker says.

While golf courses were closed for more than a month, Baker was still busy behind the scenes. “With golf being shut down for a while he was even coming on his own when we weren’t even open and manicuring the grounds around the shop and spending time here keeping things spruced up,” Case says.

Staff at UNM North say they’re not surprised by any of this, “He’s just a giving guy and it’s not about the golf privileges he just loves to be here it’s his life,” Case says. Baker says he’s ready to get back on the course. “You know we had a regular foursome and played every day. So I’m anxious to get back to that,” Baker says.

The state is allowing golfers to use carts but people can only ride together if they live together. UNM North has chosen not to allow them but will reverse course if the governor loosens the rules on their use. Baker does use a cart for maintenance work.

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