A Virginia Beach, Va., firm with an Augusta connection is promising success at Augusta Municipal Golf Course where others have failed.
Virginia Beach Golf Management boasts a combined 66 years’ experience as PGA professionals by principals Mike Fentress, Andrew Menk and Eddie Luke.
The company has leased three Virginia Beach courses since early 2011 with successful results, Fentress said Monday.
“We’ve increased play here by about 60 percent,” said Fentress, whose firm was one of the first to respond to Augusta’s September request for proposals.
The firm’s bid follows The Patch in Augusta LLC’s abandonment of its lease of the course and failed negotiations between Augusta officials and three local brothers who sought to take it on.
The course remains assigned to a city enterprise fund, meaning it’s expected to turn at least a small profit. Its inability to break even under city management in recent years led to the Augusta Commission’s decision last year to outsource it.
The city’s acting recreation director, Deputy Administrator Bill Shanahan, has recommended a five-year lease for Fentress’ firm with a five-year renewal option.
The recommended plan, which goes before the commission Tuesday for approval, has the firm paying Augusta a total of $250,000 in rent over the 10 years, with incentives if revenues increase, and with the city responsible for capital improvements that exceed $5,000.
Fentress said he and his partners visited the course in October when they interviewed, but they were already familiar with “The Patch” because Menk is an Augusta native.
“Andrew grew up playing The Patch,” Fentress said. “So many people grew up playing The Patch, and that’s our biggest thing, getting that golf course back in shape so that the whole community can use it.”