Baggs Tournament was special

Published 8:05 am Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Saturday’s first annual Robert Baggs Memorial Invitational Golf Tournament was a special event, which I had the pleasure of covering.

Robert was an outstanding golfer, first at Bainbridge High School and later at the University of Florida.

Later he won numerous tournaments at Bainbridge Country Club, many of which I enjoyed covering.

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Robert was a great golfer, but if you just remember him for that, you miss a lot about what a great overall person he was.

When I first met Robert many years ago, he  taught students studying for their GED at the old Central Learning Center.

Later, he became a Presbyterian minister. His two sons, Mercer and Evans, who I had the pleasure of visiting with on Saturday, are both proudly following in his footsteps.

Mercer works for the Golf Channel in Orlando, Fla., and Evans is studying at a seminary in San Francisco, California. I know he was so proud of both of them.

The last time I talked to Robert was a few years ago. I was at Bainbridge Country Club covering a Bainbridge High School Bearcats golf match and he was sitting on the porch waiting for the participants to come in.

He was telling me how Mercer might have a chance to visit some legendary golf courses in connection with his Golf Channel duties and how proud he was of him.

I thought it was appropriate Saturday that Howard Griffin, one of Robert’s best friends, was on one of the tournament’s two-person winning teams. He and his playing partner, Justin Downing, shot a 12-under-par round of 60 in the best-ball tournament.

Proceeds from Saturday’s tournament will benefit youth golf programs at Bainbridge Country Club. That, too, would make Robert very proud.

He always enjoyed seeing young people succeed in golf and life. What a great legacy for anyone to have!

Through his memorial tournament each year, many young golfers will have the opportunity to learn and play the game.

I commend Bainbridge Country Club professional Jimmy Stevens and his colleague Brad Wages for putting on a first-class event Saturday in honor and memory of a great guy.

Joe Crine is the sports editor of The Post-Searchlight. You can email him at