Ty Cole and Steve Baker

Cherokee County Country Club Golf Pro Steve Baker, right, shakes hands with last year's Dub Ellis Invitational winner Ty Cole. Baker announced Monday his intention to resign from the country club, effective July 30. Photo by Shannon Fagan.

CENTRE - Steve Baker has been a member of the Cherokee County Country Club since 1974, and while he still has a passion for golf, he recently decided to step down as its manager.

Baker made his intentions known by turning in his letter of resignation on Monday evening. His last day as club manager will be July 30.

"I nearly came to tears when I started reading it (Monday) night," Baker said. "I've enjoyed my time out here, and I told them I would still support the country club. Even though I won't be out here working, I'll still be out here. I'll still take part in the fundraising activities and try to help out as much as I can."

A big part of Baker's decision was another passion of his: softball. He recently accepted Gaylesville High School's softball head coaching job, and he wants to devote all the time he can to that.

"I passed by the board of education office one day and I saw a sign that said 'Accepting applications for substitute teachers,'" Baker said. "I thought I could go back and be a substitute teacher and work basically when I wanted to work, mainly at Gaylesville, and be there the days we had games. I just decided it was the right thing to do.

"I'm back at Gaylesville, and I'm going back into it with full force and all my heart. I told the girls if they have a volleyball game, I'll be there. If they've got a beauty contest, I'll be there. I supported everything at the school when I was there. I'll probably keep the clock at basketball games, and I might be on the sideline keeping stats for the football games."

Baker's second go-around as club manager began in July, 2015. Since that time, he said he hasn't been able to play in as many tournaments as he would like.

"When I started playing golf I fell in love with it," Baker said. "There's a senior tournament every Monday, so I've gone without playing for two years in those. I'll start back playing if I can find a partner."

Baker's search for a partner could begin at this weekend's Dub Ellis Invitational. This year's tournament is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, which will also feature a senior division.

"I leave with no hard feelings toward anybody here," Baker said. "I just felt like it was time for them to make a change and time for me to make a change."