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Golf pro makes a hobby of weather forecasts

Commentary

If you want to know the official weather forecast, Steve Pellegrine can tell you.

If you want to shave strokes off your golf score, Pellegrine can tell you that, too.

What? Who is this guy, Superman?

Pellegrine is the new head golf professional at Quail Point Golf Course, having a arrived there in July. During off hours, he indulges another passion as a part-time morning weatherman for KOBI television of Medford.

Sounds like a busy guy. Pellegrine has dabbled in a curious mix of jobs the past 15 years. But at age 33, he's settled on one profession -- being a golf pro. Forecasting the weather is a hobby.

As a golf pro, his duties are teaching others to play, organizing the pro shop, managing course activities and playing the game.

The latter may be his favorite part of the job, but time to do so is limited. He will make time, however, when he attempts to qualify for a Nike Tour event this weekend at Eugene's Shadow Hills Country Club. He plays Thursday on an Oregon club professional exemption.

Pellegrine won the 1995 North Texas PGA Match Play Championship -- an event for club pros -- and had some success on the Lone Star and Hooters tours in recent years.

The combination of being a golf pro/weatherman just happens to fit Pellegrine. He says he's fascinated with the weather, forecasting it and trying to understand it.

Other major interests in his life are his family, his religious faith, and teaching the rudiments of a good golf swing.

He says he was surprised when KOBI News Director Elliott Eki called about two months ago and asked if he was interested in being a part-time weatherman for the station's morning show.

KOBI people heard I had done weather for television stations in Texas and Oklahoma, says Pellegrine. It's fascinating to me.

I was working for a television station in Paris, Texas, and working as an assistant golf pro near Dallas, says Pellegrine. The station went out of business, and my time was cut short there. I always wondered how that might have turned out if I had stayed longer.

Pellegrine says he tries to keep things light during his weather forecasts, although he doesn't have much time to stray off his forecasting.

I watch our meteorologist (Jeff Heaton) and I take what he says for the next morning, says Pellegrine. Then, I look at the weather maps when I get in at 5 in the morning to get the rest and see if anything might have changed.

KOBI plans to use Pellegrine's golf and weather expertise. Two weeks ago, he was at the Rogue Valley Country Club giving reports from the Southern Oregon Golf Tournament.

It's a good way for him to meet more local golfers and to become more visible in the community.

He's done a great job for us so far, says Eki.

He has some good weather in his background after forecasting the weather in what's called Tornado Alley in Oklahoma and southwest Texas.

When he got back into it, he discovered the technology of forecasting the weather has improved greatly. I think he was happy about that.

Eki was impressed by the golf-course reports.

We used him during the Southern Oregon Golf Tournament to talk about how current weather conditions, heat and wind, playing early in the morning when the dew is still out, and how golfers need to approach those things, says Eki. It was fascinating to hear his tips.

Pellegrine had to clear his new part-time job with officials at the Rogue Valley Manor.

The Manor owns and operates the golf course.

They feel it means more exposure for the course and the Manor, as long as it doesn't interfere or conflict with my full-time job of being golf pro, says Pellegrine.

Pellegrine had another professional sports job earlier in his career -- he bowled from 1984-87.

His idol at the time: Medford Hall of Fame bowler Marshall Holman.

(Randy Hammericksen is the Mail Tribune's sports columnist. He can be reached at 776-4499 or by e-mail at — )