Operator happy with Masters Week 'Patch' bookings

Brian Hendry said his first Masters Week as the operator of Augusta Municipal Golf Course was a great start, but improvements are still needed there to increase membership.

Hendry, who had hoped to make up the public course's annual operating losses by catering to international tourists during Masters Week, said several friends from his home of Aberdeen, Scotland, and some European Tour members dropped by during the week, including 1999 British Open champ Paul Lawrie. Lawrie finished tied for 24th at the Masters Tournament this year.

"They liked it," Hendry said. "They were surprised at how good it was, from being a municipal course, and they know it's getting better."

The club, now officially called "The Patch" after its longstanding nickname, reserves the right to limit Masters Week play to those willing to pay a special rate, at $100 a round last week.

This year members were allowed to play alongside guests.

"We had enough good bookings spread out," he said. "We did it this year as a gesture to the members."

Hendry, who took over in January, wouldn't specify how much the course made during the week, but called it "our best week ever."

"We're very happy with how it went," he said. "We've laid the foundations. I'm confident now we'll be fully booked next year."

By then, he hopes the firm can complete additional improvements at the course.

Being on just a seven-year lease means he can't invest too heavily, but Hendry said he wants to finish clubhouse, driving range and sign improvements during the next few months.

The changes will help increase the regular membership base, which stands at 130, he said.

 

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