Southern Oregon Living in Full Swing.
EAGLE POINT, OR – Bob and Chana Hyer have been busy putting their shine on one of the jewels of the Rogue Valley, the Eagle Point Golf Club. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., the course was named one of the ten best in the country in 1996 by Golf Magazine. When the couple bought the course on July 30, 2013, they got to work bringing the fairways back to their former grandeur.
They upgraded the 250-seat events pavilion so that it is welcoming year round. They improved the Talon Grill, and it is now frequently overflowing with customers. The course is striving to create more programs that welcome women golfers, young people and create a more family-friendly atmosphere. Eagle Point Golf Club employs up to 65 employees in peak season, and the Hyers say employment costs for the course runs about $1 million annually. Next on their list of projects is an ambitious plan to create a boutique hotel on the course, which will make it more of a destination that will attract corporate events as well as provide a place to stay for wedding parties, and golfers wanting to spend the weekend.
If you hit a hole-in-one twice on the same day, it might give you some idea of the excitement Bob Hyer felt on July 30, 2013. Not only did he close the deal on the purchase of the Eagle Point Golf Course, but Hyer met Robert Trent Jones Jr., the famous designer of the 7,099-yard course, named one of the ten best in the country in 1996 by Golf Magazine.
“It was a phenomenal day,” remembers Hyer. “Robert Trent Jones Jr. invited me to play Chambers Bay with him. A friendship was born.” To this day, those serendipitous events still stir up a lot of feelings inside Hyer. The only thing missing was actually hitting a real hole in one.
Moving from Vancouver, Washington, the couple had successful careers before they came to the valley. Bob had a Financial planning practice, and Chana is a well-known landscape designer. Growing up in Southern California, Bob’s favorite sport at the time was baseball, which he continued to play through school and a six-year stint in the U.S. Air Force. After his military service, he came back to the Northwest and started playing a bit of golf. He wasn’t enamored with the game, however, until he played one of Jones’ courses, Keystone Ranch, in Colorado. From then on, he wanted to play on every Robert Trent Jones Jr. course he could find because of the way they seamlessly flow with the terrain, and how he felt immersed in the nature that surrounded the fairways.
Coincidentally, when Robert Trent Jones Jr. built the Eagle Point Golf Course in 1996, the Hyers were busy with their own landscaping project. Chana had found a 20-acre parcel north of Vancouver and had a vision for the property, which was overgrown and required a lot of hands-on work. They found structures hidden in the vegetation, and they turned the property into their own version of Butchart Gardens. It became popular for weddings and other special events.
When the opportunity to buy a Robert Trent Jones Jr. course came up, Bob was on a plane to Southern Oregon the next day. When Bob first proposed the opportunity and the move, Chana was hesitant. But after her first visit, the Eagle Point Golf Club, the wineries, the hiking, the music scene and the beauty of the Rogue Valley appealed to her. “We have to live here,” she said, reminiscing about her change of heart. “We have to be involved in the community. We need to embrace the community and the community has embraced us.”
Rather than the golf course being separate from the community, the couple has worked hard to establish a solid relationship with the city of Eagle Point and its residents. They enjoy working with local businesses and felt a real sense of belonging to the valley. “We felt there was a disconnect between the golf community and the town of Eagle Point, and our objective was to bring them together,” Bob said.
After improving the course for almost three years, the Hyers are ready to take it to the next level. They upgraded the 250-seat events pavilion so that it is welcoming year round. They improved the Talon Grill, and it is now packed with customers. Chana said the course is striving to create more programs that welcome women golfers, youth and create a more family-friendly atmosphere. The course employs up to 65 employees in peak season, and the couple says they are able to attract many people from the local community and also use a lot of local contractors from the Rogue Valley. “Our staff right now is really high end, quality people,” Chana said. “You’ve got to create an atmosphere where they want to work.”
The Hyers are working on the prospect of providing overnight lodging on the golf course. This will open up Eagle Point to more tourists, and create a venue that will attract corporate events as well as provide a place to stay for wedding parties and golfers alike. If that isn’t enough, the Hyers plan on building their retirement home next to the golf course, which will include plenty of room for their three grandchildren.
Before they came here, only Bob had the golfing bug. Chana now looks at the design and attention to detail of the Eagle Point Golf Course and refers to it as “a work of art” and now enjoys playing also. Now the couple shares the same passion for the Eagle Point Golf Course and the community. “We were grateful to be able to have the opportunity, and the timing was just right so that we could obtain the golf course and move here and be part of the community,” Chana said.