Eagle Point's totem pole comes to life

When golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. and new Eagle Point Golf Club owner Bob Hyer first met for a round of golf in July, the former had one pressing question: "How's my totem pole?"

When Jones built Eagle Point in the mid-1990s, it featured a unique landmark. He had been given a totem pole as a gift and had it delivered by helicopter and placed near the tee box on the third hole.

The pole had seen 16 winters and is a favorite of target of woodpeckers. It had not been kept up, and the wear was evident.

Hyer planned a celebration in Jones' honor this week and made it a priority to rejuvenate the pole. Jones arrived to find the sculpture alive with vibrant colors.

Jones received the pole as a gift from a friend, Dennis Washington, who lured him into designing a nine-hole course for him. Washington had property in Stuart Island, B.C.

"He seduced me to come up there to go salmon fishing," says Jones. "He said, 'Bob, I just want to put a couple little greens in here.' I said OK. Nine holes later, I said, 'You know, I do this for a living, Dennis.'"

Washington saw Jones admiring a totem pole of his, and he said he'd repay the course designer with one of his own.

"It's right where I wanted it," says Jones, who lives in northern California. "I owned (Eagle Point), so I put it here. What am I going to do with a totem pole in California."

Jones has a spiritual bent. He writes poetry, often about venturing into the Pacific Northwest wilderness to be at one with nature. He says he's aware of tribal feelings toward nature and that totem poles tell meaningful stories.

"That totem pole has a story," he says, "but I'm not going to tell you what it is."

The pole was carved by George Gulli, Sr., who had a business with his son, George Jr. The elder Gulli passed away in 2000, and the son still carves.

There are five elements on Jones' pole: from the top, eagle, wolf, raven, beaver, salmon.

The eagle, according to the Gulli website, represents intellect and resourcefulness.

The wolf is a powerful totem who can help people that are sick or in need.

The raven is a mercurial trickster of Northwest lore, curious and mischievous.

The beaver symbolizes creativity and determination.

The salmon symbolizes instinct and persistence.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email ttrower@mailtribune.com

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