Augusta Municipal Golf Course Web site spells out rules, fees

Augusta golfers might be surprised by what they find at www.thepatchaugusta.com.

The Web site, which went live Thursday, spells out the rules and rates effective Jan. 1 at Augusta Municipal Golf Course under its new management by a private firm.

The site highlights a favorite topic of new operator Brian Hendry – the course’s Scottish roots, as it was designed by Scottish immigrant David Ogilvie, a longtime pro at Augusta Country Club.

It also lays down some rules at a course some say hasn’t been run right since its last private operator – Red Douglas and his family – relinquished management to the city recreation department in the 1990s.

Some of the rules, which Hendry says will be enforced, hint at troubles that have plagued the course. Card games are out, as are denim of any color, collarless shirts and coolers.

“Cards in a clubhouse is more trouble than it’s worth,” said Hendry, who has watched the games during recent visits.

There’s also a Scottish proverb on the site, a reminder of what’s to come: “Whoever pays the piper, calls the tune.”

Hendry explains: “The piper plays what you want him to play, as long as you pay him.”

The best things coming, however, might be the rates: $500 for unrestricted adult access to the course for 50 weeks of the year means frequent players get rounds dirt cheap, Hendry said. Senior and junior annual memberships are $400 and $300, although play is limited to after 1 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

The other two weeks of the year, Hendry plans to make up any losses by opening the course to Masters Tournament tourists. He said he already has booked some, who will be provided shuttles to Augusta National Golf Club during the tournament.

The new lessee does mean some city golf course staff, including course manager Ed Howerton, won’t be around, although Tom Beck, the city’s director of recreation, parks and facilities, said he has found other recreation posts for Howerton and one other staff member.

Hendry said he is keeping all but two of the existing personnel and expects the staff to grow.

Joining the operation is Gwynne Chase, an Augustan from the hotel and restaurant business, who will serve as the operations director, and Scottish golf pro Ronnie MacDonald, who played in two British Opens.

Hendry said he and MacDonald will bring in the new year in Augusta to welcome the first who come to play the new Patch.

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