Lou Baker, 2019, St. Paul’s School

by Nelson Coffin

Calvert Hall coach Drew Forrester had a warning for any of his players who confronted Lou Baker on the golf course.

Before going into a match against the St. Paul’s School standout, Forrester cautioned that VSN’s No. 1 Boys Golfer of the Decade was very unlikely to make a mistake.

“He is a complete player,” Forrester told his players. “He’s always even or under par — you can count on it.”

Lou Baker has become one of the top golfers in the Atlantic 10 Conference, after two seasons at the University of Richmond, and has improved his length off the tee, since his days at St. Paul’s School.

Considering that Baker, recently named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year after a stellar sophomore season for the University of Richmond, was the best player on three MIAA A Conference championship teams, Forrester’s assessment of the Timonium resident was spot-on.

Baker has a more modest view of his own ability.

“I wouldn’t really consider myself a ball striker,” he said. “But my putter usually makes up for that. I’m more of a scrappy golfer.”

He proved as much with all the success he had at St. Paul’s while earning four All-Conference nods, starting with his freshman year when the Crusaders went undefeated.

“That one was big,” Baker said. “It was just so much fun playing with my teammates. It was great winning with your friends and for coach (Rick) Collins.”

Another highlight, Baker noted, was when St. Paul’s avenged a regular-season loss to Gilman by hammering the Greyhounds, 16-5, in the 2018 championship match.

“Everybody on the team committed to winning after that loss,” he said. “It felt so good. We brought our stuff for that match.”

Baker said that he can’t really account for coming up empty in the MIAA individual championship, finishing seventh as a freshman before two runners-up performances and one fourth-place showing.

“I wish I could have won one,” he said. “But I never could get one under my belt. There were a lot of good players in the league.”

Nevertheless, Baker was a top-notch junior golfer, claiming the 2018 Maryland Junior Amateur Championship trophy and back-to-back Denny McCarthy Invitational titles.

His collegiate career has been a continuation of the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder’s success at St. Paul’s and in the amateur ranks.

In his sophomore year, Baker led the Spiders with a 72.54 stroke average, the lowest by any Richmond golfer since the 2016-17 campaign while finishing no worse than 13th in all four of his full-field events.

He birdied the final three holes to finish tied for 11th at the Atlantic 10 Championship after claiming Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week honors for his performance at the Ross Collegiate and the Longwood at Richmond match.

Baker’s academic work mirrors his golf prowess, having won the Men’s Second-Year Academic Award from Richmond Athletics for a male student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA.

He won the freshman version of that award as well.

Besides hitting the books, Baker has been hitting the ball farther as a collegiate player.

“I’ve added about 15-20 yards (off the tee),” he said. “I’m still a little short, but right around average.”

“Lou is a once-in-a-decade player,” St. Paul’s Varsity Coach Emeritus Rick Collins said. “He won the (2018 Maryland Junior Amateur Championship) by five strokes. That shows how good he is.”

Pictured above: Lou Baker following his victory in the 2018 State Junior Championship.

No. 2 Golfer: Rij Patel, 2016, McDonogh School

No. 3 Golfer: Chris Navarro, 2015, Archbishop Spalding High School