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Virginia firm set to take over Augusta Municipal Golf Course

Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 6:00 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 1:20 AM
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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.”

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OpenCurtain 12/18/12 - 08:32 am
Have we reached the final round?

Will this group be able or allowed to step up to the plate?

Lets make sure there is a CLEAR delineation between what is Grounds up keep vs. Capital improvement.

I still say having a College operate it as a College course in Golf Course Management and Grounds Up-Keeping for a degree would have been perfect for a Augusta, given the Masters attention and tie in.

76mccully 12/18/12 - 08:36 am

i wonder if the fees will go up when the firm takes over. it is affordable at this time to the seniors, but i wonder if it will stay that way.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 12/18/12 - 09:55 am
Improvements vs. Maintenance

Open Curtain is correct about spelling out what is capital improvement and what is routine maintenance. When the clubhouse roof springs a leak and needs repair or replacement, that is not a capital improvement. Nonetheless, Virginia Beach is merely leasing the property. Isn't it normal for the owner to pay for repairs? I'm confused.

If the city is required to pay for improvements over $5,000 and Virginia Beach is required to pay for improvements under $5,000, isn't it logical to expect that most every improvement will cost at least $5,000?

David Parker
David Parker 12/18/12 - 12:50 pm
I commend them for taking it

I commend them for taking it on but The Patch is damaged goods, an epic fail. It WAS a unique name, memorable, nice layout, affordable and playable, but it's been through the ringer so frequently and its development been ignored for years, I don't know if it will recover. Re-invent the whole place and try to outrun the negative associations that have plagued it recently.

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