The Buie duo play, coach their favorite sport together
It was her wedding day.
Bobby held his only daughter, Bailey, close for a special dance. As the music faded, the duo grinned and took their stances for an impromptu golf swing in opposite directions. A hole in one to be sure.
Bobby Buie may have retired from a long career with UPS, but he’s best known around town for his golf skills. Buie was a member of Blackshear High School’s 1979 golf team — the first to win a state championship — and played two years for South Georgia State College after high school. He teaches golf to local youths six days a week now at Lakeview Golf Club, putting his knack for identifying and correcting golf swing problems to good use.
“I enjoy watching the kids get better … see the look on their face,” Buie says. “I want to see them learn to love the game. The game will help make them a better person.”
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in the Buie family. Love for the game of golf must run in their genes.
Bobby’s daughter, Bailey, had a club in her hand soon after she learned to walk. Her dad has been a lifelong coach, always by her side with a golfing tip or a word of encouragement, but it took some slight of hand to get Bailey playing golf competitively. Bobby entered her in a youth tournament when she was nine — without telling her it was a competition.
Now, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I like the competition of it,” Bailey says.
“She’s got a lot of competitive drive,” Bobby agrees.
Bailey has talent, but she also put in hours of hard work just like her father did back in the ‘70s, practicing three days a week at Lakeview and playing in weekend tournaments.
She met young golfers from all over the world and was a member of Ware County High School’s 2015 championship team before heading off to play collegiately at Armstrong State (now merged with Georgia Southern University) where she won the Peach Belt Conference as a freshman.
Most longtime golfers both love and hate the game and the Buie duo is no different.
“What isn’t challenging about golf?” Bailey says with a laugh.
“People don’t understand how hard the game is,” Bobby agrees. “But you never give up on it.”
The game of golf can frustrate and fluster even the most laid back folks. Those who conquer the mental aggravation of golf, however, are more determined and consistent when faced with other problems.
Bailey really grasped that concept in college when her swing went awry for months and couldn’t be fixed. She stuck with it through long stretches of poor games, and it made her mentally strong, she says.
“Learning how to be mentally strong out there (on the course) has taught me how to put it in other situations in my life,” Bailey says.
Bobby can’t hide his fatherly pride when Bailey describes the character traits she’s learned from the game they both love — and sometimes hate. Bobby wanted golf to build integrity and honesty in other areas of Bailey’s life more than he cared about the game itself.
Everytime a golfer fixes a ball mark on the green or smooths the dirt after hitting a ball out of the bunker, their integrity grows, Bobby says. Golf is also the only game where players can call a penalty on themselves — another opportunity to learn about ethics.
These days, the Buie golfers pass these concepts on to Pierce County kids together, side by side at Lakeview.
Bailey’s wedding day was just one chapter in her fairy tale. She lives the rest of it out on the golf course with her daddy, who is sometimes her caddy.
“To me, I have a storybook life,” Bailey says. “A lot of people don’t have memories like that with their dads … I don’t see how it gets any better.”