Family Ties: Amy & Barry Baker


Photography by Scott Avra, Mark Davidson and Pat Lassy

The Baker residence is always in motion. With two professional parents and the entire family blessed with natural athletic ability, the household (which includes Dad Barry, Mom Amy, Brandace, age 28, Bryce, age 19, and Lane, age 15) requires an ease of convenience as well as multiple rooms for entertaining, relaxing, and their wide range of personal hobbies. Within this spirited environment, complex schedules are balanced between plenty of game time – from board games and pool games to on-site tennis matches and, of course, some friendly, family competition on the golf course.The Baker women

“You can’t possibly get bored here at BIGHORN, especially with active kids,” says Barry Baker – whose favorite moments at home are spent lounging poolside “listening to Frank Sinatra and looking at those gorgeous mountains.” Barry is a Senior Advisor at Lee Equity Partners. Some of the companies he advises over are Cadent Network, Papa Murphy’s, Eating Recovery Center, Jason Wu, and Ric Edelman Financial. He has been a global communications and branding Internet executive for almost 40 years. Before joining Lee Equity in 2013, Barry served as a General Partner and Managing Director of Boston Ventures, specializing in the communications and entertainment business. His broad background has led to many board appointments and to being a CEO coach for many of Boston Venture’s portfolio companies that include Production Research Group, American Media, Vue Cinemas, Camp Systems, Richard Petty Enterprises, Smith TV, SJL Broadcasting, World Publications, American Home Pages, and Backyard Broadcasting.

Prior to Boston Ventures, Barry served as President and Chief Operating Officer of USA Networks and all USA Interactive properties. His business savvy led him to oversee the acquisitions of Hotels.com, Match.com, and the transformation of Ticketmaster to an online platform all during his tenure. Prior to that, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Sinclair Communications, overseeing the business of over 100 television and radio stations in 28 states.

It was his experience in cable, broadcast TV, and radio broadcasting that led him to founding River City Broadcasting in 1989.

Brandace Baker

Having taken up golf in her twenties, Brandace is really coming into her game – and why wouldn’t she be? Coming from naturally athletic parents and loving the fun, family camaraderie on the course, golf has become an exciting part of her vacation time. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, her focus in communications, sociology, and Spanish set her off to a great start with Ohana Real Estate Investors, an investment and development firm focused on high-quality hotels and fully serviced residential communities. She has recently returned to Los Angeles to work as an Assistant Director of Development for the Anti Defamation League. When it comes to free time, she loves to spend the bulk of it with her tight-knit family. To Brandace, that means time at BIGHORN. Because her family lives for golf, she has embraced lessons and playing time so they can spend as much time together as possible. Golf Instructor Bill Madonna shares, “Brandace has great ability and the natural talent to take her game to the next level, which will give her a brighter future in the business world. Through golf, she will be able to connect with colleagues and leadership in a more relaxed environment which will also allow her to explore the possibilities of her brilliant ideas with confidence.“

“The great part is that working my business from here is a breeze,” says Barry, citing his affinity for the smart, eye-pleasing architecture of their family home designed by Kristi Hanson – along with the ease of knowing he can telecommute from his home office, day or night with complete focus.

Because balance is one of the keys to his success, Barry loves playing in the Men’s BIGDEAL Golf Tournament alongside former guests who have recently become Members after falling in love with the Club. “BIGHORN has the ‘youth factor’ that other clubs don’t have,” Barry surmises. “We also have so many Member and private events that when people want to celebrate, they can. And whenever the family decides to head to El Paseo, we’re so close we can be home in minutes.”

When he isn’t running a global communications empire, Barry’s philanthropic efforts include positions as Chairman of the Park City Medical Center and sitting on the Advisory Board of the Newhouse School. Barry and Amy are responsible for two of the world’s leading voice and cancer research labs and chairs at Harvard’s Mass General and the Vanderbilt Medical Centers.

Amy Baker’s career is just as vast and appealing, filled with many stories as a 20-year veteran of NBC. She began her career working alongside David Brinkley with NBC News in Washington, D.C., from 1975-1980. Amy recalls, “Brinkley was the most brilliant newsman on the planet. He wrote all of his own copy and never used a teleprompter.” In 1980, Amy relocated to NBC’s entertainment/ programming division in Los Angeles. She hired all the professional voiceover talent and worked on a series of network shows. One of her most unforgettable experiences was sitting in on a rehearsal for Frank Sinatra. “I remember sitting in the audience at rehearsal for one of his legendary concerts. As Sinatra sang with his 50-piece orchestra, I could not stop smiling. When he took a break, he said to me, “Did you enjoy that?” I replied, “That was the greatest high of my life.” He smiled and said, ‘I’m glad.’”

The balance of her career at the network was in various management positions, including Director of Program Production running daytime, primetime and late night programming for shows. She hung out with comedians, her favorite was Howie Mandell. But it was at a National Broadcasting Association convention 25 years ago in Las Vegas that her life forever changed when a mutual friend introduced her to Barry. An instant connection led them to dating long-distance before eventually marrying 21 years ago. Amy then worked in public relations for internationally known Fleishman-Hillard. In 1996, the family moved to Baltimore, where Amy joined the board of Port Discovery, which was, at that time, the second largest children’s museum in the country. Since then, Amy has been on numerous boards, worked on various shows and is a partner at Jupiter Bowl, in Park City, Utah. Jupiter Bowl is a family entertainment center that features 16 luxury lanes of ultra-modern bowling plus a billiards lounge and arcade. “Jupiter Bowl has been such an incredible business to co-own. We have the right people in the right places, and it’s so easy to manage from wherever we are,” praises Amy.

Bryce Baker

Naturally gifted in skiing, golf, and tennis, 19-year old Bryce loves spending his vacations at BIGHORN between his studies in Economics at Vanderbilt University. In fact, he loves the desert so much that after finishing his spring finals, his first stop was The Pour House for lunch, and directly out to hit some golf balls before his tennis lesson that afternoon. Bryce praises his BIGHORN coaches for their expertise, not to mention the life lessons they have taught him through playing sports. “Dan is an awesome tennis Bryce Bakercoach,” he says. “I play left-handed, so Dan learned to play left-handed to show me the correct dynamics to play the game. After many years, the points he used to give me, I now give him, returning the favor.”

Junior Golf Director Bill Madonna “is really encouraging with every shot,” Bryce says. “He translates the importance of learning through your swing and keeps kids engaged – which is hard to do with their low attention spans and a very independent game.”

“Bryce is known around campus for the infamous ‘Bryce Baker Putt,’” grins Bill. “At the age of 11, during a Junior Putting Clinic on the original green by The Marketplace, Bryce sunk a 50-foot putt twice in a row! Then, when one of the moms came to watch, Bryce sinks three more putts in a row for a total of 5 putts! It was Bryce’s complete focus on his short game, reading the lie, and never giving up that led to his legendary success that day.”

In 2010, Bryce and dad Barry competed in the Parent-Junior Golf Tournament and won! Coach Bill notes, “This was a monumental moment for both of them. From then on, Barry began expanding Bryce’s playing groups to include his friends and tour players, expanding their relationship and building future contacts for Bryce.” PGA Tour Player Joe Ogilvie plays with Bryce often and has assisted in developing Bryce’s beautiful swing.

“Bryce will have a step up in the business world because of the traits he has developed through golf,” shares Bill. “He will feel comfortable in a competitive environment, be able to negotiate around hazards, and will find that he can focus his results like he focused on the legendary ‘Bryce Baker Putt.’”

Their first introduction to BIGHORN unfolded while on a 1994 vacation to La Quinta, during which they attended the unforgettable Skins Game on BIGHORN’s Mountains course when Payne Stewart played with Tom Watson, Fred Couples, and Arnold Palmer. “I remember saying, ‘This place is pretty spectacular!’” expresses Amy. They ended up purchasing their first house – a Guy Drierdesigned 9,485 sf home – in 2002. In 2005, when Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer, she immediately and instinctively headed for their desert home to recuperate. “I felt better in the desert, more at peace,” she explains, adding that she also was definitely warmer than at the Park City home where they were sharing their time.

As Amy recovered in their BIGHORN home, the family strengthened their bond – taking walks, enjoying breakfast at The Pour House or Golf House (which is still their favorite thing to do), and playing tennis. Bryce also started playing golf, so Barry connected him with Bill Madonna, Junior Golf Director. “The kids always wanted to be at BIGHORN,” continues Amy, “because of the extremely fun Blizzard Blast, Easter, Family Fun Days, Passover celebration and so many more events.” They enjoyed it so much that they moved Amy’s 91-year old mother into a home a few miles away. Their BIGHORN friends even go and visit her when the family is in Park City managing high school activities or away on business.

“Barry works out of his BIGHORN home office, and after work he has the opportunity to relax with the kids or with some of our many friends. We love to travel, but the place we like to travel to most is BIGHORN. We have everything that we love to do right here.” No wonder their three children never stray far.

Amy fell in love with a stunning spec home at a BIGHORN Properties mixer which was purchased by another Member. When the house came back on the market years later, Amy convinced her husband and children that it was time to move. The family’s tennis estate graciously accommodates the whole gang with five bedrooms (including a two-bedroom guest house) plus his and hers designer offices and a movie theater.

Additionally catering to their love for the outdoors, their home’s 2,108 sf outdoor living space features a spa flowing into a fulllength lap pool, oversized chess game played on natural grass, and a fireside outdoor living room. At the heart of the action is a sunken tennis court, a “tennis lounge,” and a luxurious entertainment patio with barbecue island, dining and bar seating, double-sided fireplace, and flat-panel television – perfect for unwinding after a casual, or heated, match! The guest house on property has it’s own full kitchen, pool and hot tub. Their friends love to visit.

Lane Baker

At age 15, Lane’s free time focuses on her passion for ballet and modern dance at the Park City Dance Academy, as well as competing on her school’s golf and tennis Lane Bakerteams. “Dance has helped Lane’s coordination and balance, which gives her great strength in her game,” Coach Bill explains. “And Lane’s game has just scratched the surface. She has natural motion, great rhythm, balance, and a grace that generates power.” In fact, Lane’s golf team at Rowland Hall dominated 2A Girls Golf in the Spring of 2015, building her confidence and elevating her to shoot in the 80s at a young age.

Lane’s game has improved by the year under the tutelage of Coach Bill, who annually helps young players adapt their swing to their body, knowing their bodies grow and change quickly. “I play my best golf when I’m working with Bill,” Lane beams. “He has smart suggestions on how to work with my particular skills so I can succeed.” Lane recently played in the BIGHORN BAM Golf Tournament in March alongside her mom, Amy, and her friends supporting breast cancer patients. Lane says she had a lot of fun that day and felt like she was a contributing partner to her team. “I’m really lucky to have the opportunity to do what I love and explore new experiences,” she says, “but I also really enjoy my down time whenever I’m at BIGHORN.”

 

Post a comment