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The Corvallis Country Club, an institution that hit its 100th anniversary this year, is heading in a different direction for its second century.

New ownership, led by general manager Randy Folk and Joe Mayo, plans to invest $2.5 million in upgrades at the southwest Corvallis facility as well as retiring the club’s $1 million in debt.

There is a new name, too, as Folk and Mayo are rebranding the facility as the Corvallis Club, and pitching it as a social and cultural entity that also offers golf.

“It’s a big change,” Folk said during a Wednesday interview at the club. “We want to focus on changing the model from an old-school golf club to a social club.”

“Perfect life balance” is the new motto for the club. Folk said he wants the Corvallis Club to be “the place to go to get away from everyday work stress.”

Key goals for the management group, Folk said, were to maintain the promise to keep the club private, not to develop the land for housing, retire the debt and invest in capital improvements.

The $2.5 million upgrade is planned for four phases. The first phase, improving the swimming facility, is halfway there. Next is the dining room, which will be transformed into a fine dining area, a martini bar and a casual pub-style facility. The third piece is an outdoor pavilion.

“This is one of our most exciting components,” Folk said. He hopes to put on a summer concert series and said the facility “will be a great place for corporate events or weddings.”

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The fourth phase is a wellness center that will include fitness areas and yoga as well as upgrades to the locker room.

“Our locker room is so dated,” he said. “In nine months it’s all going to be state of the art.”

Folk received some consulting assistance from an unusual source, Oregon State University business students. A series of 28 teams examined the club and submitted proposals.

“There were things (the students suggested) that we didn’t put at the top of our list that we wound up thinking that we needed to include,” Folk said.

The golf course itself is in good shape, Folk said, noting that the greens are "as good as you’ll find anywhere." He said there will be some minor design changes and a $150,000 boost to course maintenance.

The new club also plans to be more environmentally sound, both in terms of water use and waste. The club plans to use only rainwater to irrigate the course from October through April.

The club has approximately 350 members, with about 250 of them golf memberships. Going forward the model will be that all memberships will be “social” ones, with individuals having the option to add a golf membership. Membership approval of the new ownership and rebranding was required under the club's by-laws.

“You won’t see pretentiousness here,” Folk said. “I want the property to be inviting and fun. That’s the first thing … it has to be fun. We want you to elevate your emotional state. We’ve done our job correctly if our guests and members, when they leave our property, feel better than they did when they came here. That’s the key to our success.”

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Contact reporter James Day at jim.day@gazettetimes.com or 541-758-9542. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.

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