Golf

Making the Rounds: Cameron and Grant Rappleye turn page on pro golf

Grant, left, and Cameron Rappleye are wrapping up their fourth and final year at Sacramento State by next week leading the men's golf team into its first Division I playoff appearance after more than 20 years at the D-I level in Sacramento, Calif., May 10, 2012. The brothers (part of triplets) grew up in Elk Grove and were a recruiting coup for Sac State and they have finally achieved some of the promise they held when they decided to stay local for college instead of taking higher-profile offers elsewhere.
Grant, left, and Cameron Rappleye are wrapping up their fourth and final year at Sacramento State by next week leading the men's golf team into its first Division I playoff appearance after more than 20 years at the D-I level in Sacramento, Calif., May 10, 2012. The brothers (part of triplets) grew up in Elk Grove and were a recruiting coup for Sac State and they have finally achieved some of the promise they held when they decided to stay local for college instead of taking higher-profile offers elsewhere. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

When to say enough is enough is a topic the majority of pro golfers have to confront well short of their ultimate goals.

Three years after turning pro, Elk Grove’s Cameron Rappleye is done.

“As in done-done,” he said. “And then add a couple more dones.”

Grant Rappleye, Cameron’s 25-year-old fellow triplet, is 99 percent there, too.

“I’ve set sail,” he said, “but my anchor still may be dragging just a little bit.”

The Rappleyes were local junior golf standouts before four solid years at Sacramento State. They knew they were longshots to make a living playing professionally, but they were young and had strong financial and emotional support from family and friends.

They had a five-year plan, but they bucked the trend by pulling the plug sooner, rather than later.

Cameron said he came to the realization that “you have to be really freakin’ good. I was only kind of good.”

Said Grant: “I know I’m good, but you have to be special. On my best day, I can hang with these guys. I had 15 to 20 best days (a year); you need 50 or 60.”

Cameron last competed in September. Two months earlier, he shot a 13-under-par 59 from the white tees at Valley Hi to set the course record. A month before that, he shot a 10-under 62 at Arrowcreek in Reno during a minitour event. It wasn’t enough.

On the minitour circuit, the top five in each event make money while the 10th-place finisher, give or take, breaks even. Cameron didn’t like the math any better from what he saw at the top levels of the game.

“Being completely honest with myself, I couldn’t picture myself getting to the PGA Tour and staying there,” said Cameron, who is a commercial insurance broker. “The idea of making a million bucks and not keeping your job, that was pretty disconcerting.”

Grant has not competed since suffering multiple herniated disks and torn muscles after being rear-ended in a car accident in March. Even after rehab, he said, “playing two days in a row left me feeling like I ran a marathon and then played in a football game.”

Grant shot a 60 from the tips at Valley Hi, something his brother acknowledges is more impressive than his 59. Grant had two second-place minitour finishes in his two-plus years as a pro.

Injuries and marital responsibilities dictated a new direction.

“If I hadn’t gotten hurt, I probably would be gearing up for one year of it,” Grant said. “I would have liked to have made that decision on my own.”

Grant became an assistant golf coach at Sac State in August, but he said he doesn’t plan to become a full-time coach. He’s considering working in commercial lending.

Though they didn’t succeed as pro golfers, they said they are better for having tried.

“I developed a lot of great relationships,” Cameron said. “There were a lot of silver linings, if not a lot of money.”

Said Grant: “It was an extremely enjoyable experience. We had a great crew of support. I got to travel, see different places without having to worry where my next meal was going to come from.”

Get a partner

▪ Almond Blossom at Arbuckle (Feb. 20-21) is a net event decided over the most diabolical greens west of Augusta, Ga.

▪ Granite Bay Four-Ball (March 14) is 36 holes in one day with open and senior divisions.

▪ Sacramento City Four-Ball (March 19-20, 26-27 at Bing Maloney) features match play after one qualifying round.

▪ During the Woodbridge Four-Ball (March 21), players can chat it up with assistant pro Bob Lunn, who won six times on the PGA Tour.

Steve Pajak: 916-326-5526, @Steve_Pajak

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