Workplace in the morning is its own reward

Golf course grounds keeper Mike Baker, 54, has found it surprisingly easy to make the transition from late riser to early bird.

Mike Baker mows the lawn around the first tee box at the Fairways of Last Hill Golf and Country Club northwest of Eckville.

Mike Baker mows the lawn around the first tee box at the Fairways of Last Hill Golf and Country Club northwest of Eckville.

Golf course grounds keeper Mike Baker, 54, has found it surprisingly easy to make the transition from late riser to early bird.

Since last spring, Baker has been putting his landscaping talents to the test as a seasonal worker with the Last Hill Golf Course, just outside of Eckville. He and his co-workers hit the links at 6 a.m., giving them one hour to make sure the 18-hole golf course is ready when the first players arrive at 7 a.m.

Greens have to be mowed first thing and, depending on weather conditions, may have to be mowed again later in the day. Any damages from the previous day have to be fixed and the holes are changed to give golfers a fresh course every day, says Baker.

More accustomed to seeing the sunrise at the end of his day than at the beginning, Baker says he is finding exceptional beauty in the early morning light. The golf course is alive with birds and wildlife out looking for breakfast while the grass and trees are still wet with dew.

The first few golfers who come onto the course are also quite different than those who arrive later in the day, says Baker. The early risers tend to be the better golfers and more inclined to walk the course rather than use a cart. They also arrive singly or in pairs rather than in larger groups.

Baker says he has not trouble at all getting up early to start his shift.

“Once you get to work at a place like that and see the beauty of it, it’s not that hard to get there. The sunrise is definitely a lot nicer than it used to be.”

Despite looking forward to his early mornings, Baker still prefers to sleep in on his days off.

bkossowan@redderadvocate.com