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Local club gets out of golf game

The Oregon Golf Club has been sold to Tom and Lori Brown of Oregon. The new owners do not intend to reopen the course for golf.
The Oregon Golf Club has been sold to Tom and Lori Brown of Oregon. The new owners do not intend to reopen the course for golf.

OREGON – After nearly nine decades of operation, the Oregon Country Club will not be off to a shotgun start this golf season.

In fact, the nine-hole course on Daysville Road probably has seen its last golfers.

New owner Tom Brown of Oregon said he has no plans to open the scenic course, now or ever.

"We bought it with the expectation that we could not continue golf operations," he said Monday.

He and his wife, Lori, bought the course in March from Harvard State Bank for $400,000. Community Bank of Oregon is Harvard State's local branch.

The bank filed foreclosure proceedings on Dec. 30, 2011 after the previous owner, the Oregon Golf Club Rescue Partnership, failed to make mortgage payments. Court records showed then that the bank was owed $464,000.

The partnership was formed by country club members about 2 years earlier in an effort to keep the country club financially afloat.

Last year, the bank hired Green Golf Partner of Danville, Ind., to run the golf course for the season.

Brown said he tried to rent the property as a golf course, but found no one interested in operating it.

"Running a golf course in today's economic climate is an expensive hobby," he said.

The Browns bought the property for long-term speculation and have no defined plans for it, he said.

"I wouldn't want to see it broken up into a housing development, but I wouldn't rule anything out," he said.

The closing displaced the Oregon High School golf team, which has used the country club as its home course for several years.

Golf coach Jim Spratt said the team will be moving to Silver Ridge Golf Course, which recently reopened under new management after also being in foreclosure.

"We've already made arrangements with [golf pro] Andy Gramer out at Silver Ridge, and that's going to be our base of operations for the rest of the year," Spratt said.

Jestun Gatz of Sterling recently bought Silver Ridge, north of Oregon, from the Byron Bank.

The Oregon Country Club was founded as the Rock River Golf Club in 1926 by Horace Sheets and two others. It was a nonprofit corporation throughout most of its existence.

It became the Oregon Golf Club in 1941. The name was changed to Oregon Country Club Inc. in 1993.

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