Chuck Baer, the subject of the Nov. 25 Athlete Spotlight, has the freedom to train and compete in various field events because of his work situation.
The 55-year-old Evans resident designed, built, owns and operates Applewood Golf Course, about 45 minutes south of Augusta. He is the boss, and says his staff gives him the flexibility to train and travel for the shot put and discus events he has competed in for almost a decade.
Baer loves his work. That had not always been the case. He had worked previously as a corporate controller in Chicago before being burned out.
Baer said he would receive e-mails at 3 a.m. from his boss, a heavy smoker whom Baer said died at his desk.
"I said, 'I don't want to do that. That stinks,'" Baer said. "We decided we'd get into something we both liked to do. My wife and I both like to play golf."
The Baers bought into Heron Point Golf Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and worked three years learning to run a golf course. They then began looking for land of their own.
Baer designed the Applewood layout, using the same skills he once employed to craft budgets and financial plans. The front nine opened in 1996, with Baer working from a trailer.
A new bank in Hephzibah financed the second nine holes in 1997.
A tornado erased 500 trees two years ago. But other than aesthetics, Baer's course is viable.
"It hasn't been the most financially rewarding enterprise you can have," Baer said.
"But I'm making a good living at it, and we're making people happy. We got a nice facility now, and that's what the goal was. "
Baer said having a capable staff has allowed him the time to compete at the shot put and discus. He won a gold medal in shot and silver in discus in October at the World Masters Games in Sydney, Australia. Baer also competed in an indoor nationals event earlier in the year.
"It's been fun," he said of his work and hobby. "It's been a good ride."
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