EATON — The Eaton County Club has long been the home of the Eaton High School golf team. They have resided there since 1963.
But the country club has brought some new faces on board as of late.
Twin Valley South reinstituted their golf program after a four-year hiatus and chose the ECC as their newest home.
“They’ve been very accommodating and we are happy to be on board,” said South’s Athletic Director, Tony Augspurger.
For both schools, the clubs proximity and accommodations have proved very beneficial – making it easy for Eaton to start a team 52 years ago and South in their reinstitution of golf in 2015.
“Coach (Dick) Wells knew he could build a successful program (in 1963) with a golf course so accessible and players whose parents played golf,” said current head coach Randy Titkemeyer.
Over the course of the years, much success has been had from players who were regulars on the ECC’s greens.
Ron Ferreill was the Southwestern Buckeye League’s medalist as the team finished second in their first year as a school sport.
In 1967, John Kramer became the first state qualifier for Eaton – going undefeated in dual matches and leading the Eagles to the state tournament. In the next year, Bob Mercer helped the team to a 21-1 season and was an individual state qualifier. From 1969 through 1972, the team did not earn any titles, but Steve Earman was an individual standout and state qualifier as well.
After 13 years, the 1985 team qualified for state once again while Brad Bolick was a medalist at regionals and Jimmy Caplinger became the AA Ohio State golf champion. Nate Roth then qualified for the state meet in 1994.
The Eagles were in their longest drought – 18 years of it – before Cameron Willis brought home another state championship in 2012. The next year, he earned another trip to state with his younger sister, Sarah Willis, following her brother by qualifying in the girls division in 2014.
Eaton’s program has only had three head coaches in its history.
“All would agree that this success would not be possible if not for the availability of Eaton Country Club,” said Titkemeyer. “The best players have spent many summer hours honing their skills on the small greens and narrow fairways. The draw of this old club is the convenience it offers the community by its proximity and through the years fathers and sons have played and enjoyed each other’s company.”
With South now joining the ranks of the small community course, they can soon begin writing a storied history as well.
Jeremy Erskine may be reached at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH