On Friday, November 17, 2006, the Florida State Golf Association inducted Bill Baker into its prestigious Hall of Fame. The ceremony was held at Palma Ceia Country Club in Tampa in conjunction with the Annual Dinner.
Bill Baker, a life-long golfer and former member of Jupiter Hills and Tequesta CC, spent most of his life in the Chicago area. He holds a baccalaureate degree from both Washington and Lee University and Northwestern University. He worked in warehousing and distribution and also served in the US Navy in World War II. Bill was a director of two of the most important golf associations in the country - the Chicago District Golf Association and the Western Golf Association. In the early 1980's, Bill Baker began volunteering with the FSGA after attending a Course Rating workshop in South Florida. From there, Bill got extremely involved in both course rating and tournaments and traveled just about anywhere he was needed for more than 15 years. Bill could be seen starting at almost every major Championship and was in charge of all qualifiers in South Florida. Bill was also a Vice-President and Board Member of the FSGA and a USGA Committee Member for several years serving on the Senior Amateur Committee. When he wasn't volunteering, Bill played in a few tournaments.
Bill is a nationally recognized expert in the field of course rating, having been actively engaged in it since 1938. He has rated literally hundreds of golf courses and has conducted numerous workshops for aspiring course raters. He designed and constructed one of the first computer programs for course rating under the USGA Slope Handicap System. He served as FSGA Handicap Chairman for several years, doing most of the computation himself. He subsequently designed and constructed a streamlined data collection and analysis system for course rating. He is literally the father of course rating in Florida and is largely responsible for the leadership role Florida has taken in the course rating field.
Bill was inducted into hte Palm Beach County Golf Association's Hall of Fame in 1992 as one of its initial inductees, along with Jack Nicklaus, Barbara Nicklaus, and Bill Erwin. In 1994, Bill received the Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award, created for the person who has dedicated his/her life to the betterment of not only the game of golf, but the people they touch. To say Bill Baker exemplifies this definition is like saying Nicklaus can play a little golf. Just ask anyone who has been offered his inspirational pep-talks on the first tee or anyone who has played a round of golf with him and realized what a beautiful game golf is regardless of a trivial thing called a score.