Golfing Gearhart Golf Links

Tim Boyle, CEO of Columbia Sportswear, owns Gearhart Golf Links with his wife and children.

Our Coast: What led you to purchase Gearhart Golf Links? What year was that?

Tim Boyle:We’ve had a place at Gearhart more than 30 years. I didn’t start playing golf until 1990. I learned at Gearhart.

There was a fire at Gearhart and the owners, the Kelly family, built the big lodge building and did some improvements. But it didn’t work.

They put the property up for sale. A group of 15 of us ended up buying the business. Over time, when other investors lost interest, I bought their positions. I ended up with the whole thing. That was four to five years ago.

After a year into our ownership, Jason Bangild was running the business. Jason runs the golf course now.

OC: Beyond improved course maintenance, your managers have made some changes in the course’s fixtures, such as taking out a number of trees. What is that strategy?

TB: Gearhart was designed as a links course. Links courses have no trees on them. In the 1950s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided the whole North Coast should have shore pines on it. That’s where those trees came from.

I like links golf. I wanted to get as close as possible. We had a couple architects look at it, including Jim Urbina and John Strawn. And David McLay Kidd — who designed the Old MacDonald course at Bandon Dunes — commented on the work done by Urbina and Strawn. That helped in what we call polishing the gem.

Between those three guys and their view of what the course was, we took the trees out. We did that for two reasons: to make it better and make it different from the Astoria Golf & Country Club.

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