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MailTribune.com
  • Streets sweep up club titles at RVCC

  • It truly was a family affair when the Street clan descended on Rogue Valley Country Club for the club championships last weekend.
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  • It truly was a family affair when the Street clan descended on Rogue Valley Country Club for the club championships last weekend.
    Not only did Alex Street win the men's division and Aubrie Street claim the women's — the first time, it's believed, that siblings have held the titles simultaneously in RVCC's long history — but brother Will was the third best player in the men's field, and Mom and Dad were there for support.
    "We were trying to get my dad to play and maybe sneak in there in the seniors," said Aubrie, who will be a senior at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., and plays on the golf team. "But he was on call this weekend."
    Dad David caddied for Will, and Mom Letitia "was out filtering between the two groups," said Aubrie, "so it was a nice family day on Sunday."
    Aubrie shot a 3-over-par 221 gross score with rounds of 76, 71 and 74 (two rounds were played at par 73). She won her second club championship in three years, finishing six shots ahead of Trina Jones.
    Alex successfully defended his championship with a 7-under 209. He shot a second-round 65 — holing out a 120-yard approach for eagle on No. 3 on the outside course — and sandwiched rounds of 70 and 74 around it. Kevin Klabunde was second at 221.
    All three children had successful high school golf careers at St. Mary's, each placing in the top five at the state tournament.
    The competition within the family was mostly between Alex and Will, who as a senior this past spring helped St. Mary's to its third straight state championship. The brothers played in the same group the final two days.
    "They kind of egg each other on," said Aubrie. "I think Alex comes out on top most of the time. Will gets a little distracted in the competition part, but it's fun."
    Alex said the brothers weren't too hard on each other.
    "We're usually pretty competitive with everything we do," said the recent graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Ga. "We were just playing golf, so when it came down to it, we both kind of left each other alone so we could do what we could do. It was nice playing with him because it was a comfortable pairing."
    Alex played for Mercer and competed in about half the tournaments. The Bears placed fourth in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
    "The team was pretty good, actually," he said. "As a golfer, I learned how to play golf rather than just how to hit golf balls on the range. It made me a lot better."
    His next step is getting his master's in business. He starts school Monday at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., and plans to continue playing as opportunities arise.
    Like Alex, Aubrie won't be here to compete in the upcoming city and Southern Oregon tournaments.
    She'll be busy with the Paladins, who were second in the Southern Conference this past year. She had a 79.5 stroke average over 27 rounds, and her best finish was tied for eighth in a tournament hosted by Florida State, when she had personal-best rounds of 72, 73 and 73.
    Aubrie, who is studying math and economics, received numerous academic accolades, including a spot on the National Golf Coaches Association All-America Scholar Team.
    In the club championships, she took advantage of her length.
    "I was hitting wedges really well," she said. "(The course) plays pretty short for me, so that was kind of key, giving myself a lot of good looks with my wedges. I had a lot of birdie opportunities, but I missed a couple. I wasn't really rolling the ball too well on the putting green, but I made a couple and ended up playing pretty well."
    Other club champs were Steve Wood in the senior men's and Jim Wise, the club's former longtime head pro, in the super-senior men's.
    u
    A COUPLE THINGS have to happen before a golf course management company, such as Touchstone Golf, takes on a new client.
    The course has to have something to offer, and the management group must believe it can make improvements.
    In Eagle Point Golf Club, which was recently purchased by Portlander Bob Hyer, industry fixer-upper Touchstone found a gem. The management group was brought in in April to help run the bank-owned course, and it will continue to manage day-to-day operations under Hyer Golf, LLC.
    The first task for Touchstone, which is based in Berkeley, Calif., and manages 31 courses around the country, was to engender a smooth ownership transfer, said Mark Luthman, the company's executive vice president and chief operating officer.
    Now, its role is more hands-on.
    When management groups are hired, said Luthman, "It's not because everything is going swimmingly well at the facility.
    "Normally, there's an opportunity to improve some part of either the guest experience or the financial stability of the facility or something along those lines, so every golf course that we operate is a little bit different."
    Touchstone took stock and was immediately able to check off one big box, said Luthman. There are no issues with the condition of the Robert Trent Jones, Jr.-designed course.
    Food and beverage, and marketing and pricing, are other key areas, he said, and it's with the latter that Touchstone rolled up its sleeves.
    "Here, we've done something with the membership and lowered the initiation fee for a limited time," said Luthman.
    Eagle Point is a semi-private club with 172 members. It has come up with some enticing offers to attract more.
    The initiation fee, through the fall, is $500 for an individual (down from $2,500) and $1,000 for a family. Monthly dues are $152 for an individual, $189 for a family.
    Head pro Patrick Oropallo, who has been at the course for eight years, is especially excited about a junior-executive membership intended to draw younger players. For those under 35, the initiation is $250 for individuals and $500 for families, and monthly dues are lower.
    Hyer is interested in developing a corporate membership as well.
    "This course has a good reputation already," said Hyer. "People love to play it, and I don't think it's been noticed as much over the last several years, for whatever reason."
    Enter Touchstone.
    "This is not an average golf course," said Luthman. "This is a first-class golf course, the type that makes you want to play it. Everything is already here. It's the type of place you can get really excited about."
    u
    KEVIN MURPHY IS excited about Eagle Point. The soon-to-be Oregon State player from Rogue River bettered the course record from the gold tees with a 63 on Tuesday.
    He shared the former record of 65 with Ron Rautenberg of Eagle Point.
    Murphy made nine birdies (five on the front nine) and nine pars.
    Have a local golf story idea? Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email ttrower@mailtribune.com
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