Owning a golf course in Upstate New York has its challenges. Weather, especially along the shores of Lake Ontario, can be unpredictable, and the dramatic swings in temperatures and conditions can limit the number of days that golfers actually want to hit the greens.
“We’ve been through the drought, the rain and everything in between,” said Scott Baker M’08 CAS’13, who co-owns Stone Creek Golf Course in Oswego. “Snow can come early, and stay late. We cannot control it, and we continue to focus on improvement regardless of what Mother Nature deals us.”
But despite the unique challenges, he and his childhood golf partner, William Weimer, purchased the course, formerly named Griffin’s Greens, in 2016. Their goal for the course is reflected in its motto: Growing the game of golf.
“The putting greens are an integral part of the golf course,” he said. “This is why we spend as much time and capital on them daily to produce the best putting surface we can. This includes chemical application, mowing, rolling, watering, aerifying and testing.”
While the physical qualities of the course are important to its success, Scott said the most important part of running a successful business is fulfilling its commitment to customers.
“The atmosphere and environment are what make a golf course exceptional,” he said. “Servicing the individuals who support the business is what creates success. Feedback from those who spend time at the course drives our daily operational intent.”
In addition to owning the golf course, Scott works as a physical education teacher and golf coach at North Rose-Wolcott Central School District, and he balances his multiple careers with his responsibilities as a husband to Melissa Blanchard Baker M’09 and father to their two children. He said he depends on a great team of people to help run the day-to-day work of keeping the course in shape.
His approach to ownership of the course is better characterized as “leadership.”
“Leadership, as I learned through my education at Oswego State, is about putting the right people in place to create the product,” Scott said. “I give credit to my partner and our team for the success at Stone Creek.”