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2 firms' Augusta Municipal Golf Course bids to get second look

Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 7:07 PM
Last updated Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 1:39 AM
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Two Florida golf management companies get a second chance at running Augusta Municipal Golf Course after management deals with at least three other private firms fell apart.

The city’s public services committee voted Monday to reopen negotiations with the second- and third-ranked bidders to run “The Patch,” the nickname many locals use for the course founded in 1928.

According to a bid award scoresheet, a procurement committee ranked Pope Golf of Sarasota, Fla., and Hampton Golf Clubs of Jacksonville, Fla., second and third behind Virginia Beach Golf Management, a Virginia Beach, Va., company whose management included Augusta native Andrew Menk.

Virginia Beach last week withdrew its bid to rent the course for $250,000 over 10 years after a third commission vote to approve a lease with the firm failed.

Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle said he called for continued negotiations Monday as the only fix for the money-losing course.

“We have the perfect golf course, because 199,500 people pay for it, but only 500 people play,” he said of the city-owned course’s declining membership. Commissioners opposed to outsourcing course management often cite similar operating losses at Augusta Aquatics Center and Newman Tennis Center, two other city-owned recreation facilities, as justification for keeping the golf course in-house.

Officials with Pope and Hampton weren’t available for comment Wednesday, but according to the firms’ Web sites and published reports each is involved in operations at several public golf courses.

Pope Golf, whose principals include Keith Pope and Jerry Moore, holds management contracts at the municipal golf course in Asheville, N.C., Bent Tree Golf Club in Jackson, Tenn., Manatee Golf Course in Bradenton, Fla., and others.

Hampton Golf, founded by M.G. Orender and Ed Burr, recently partnered with Tampa Bay Rays partner Randy Frankel to buy the Course and Club at Palencia, a golf community in St. Augustine, Fla., and manages the Course and Club at Verandah in Fort Myers, Fla., the Golf Club at North Hampton in Fernandina Beach, Fla., Hampshire Country Club, a private club in Westchester County, N.Y., and others.

Both Hampton and Pope presented management plans to the procurement comm­ittee for which the city would likely pay a fee, instead of the lease option that Vir­ginia Beach offered that provided the city rental income. It was also unclear whether either could offer a lease or purchase option, both of which were sought in the city’s original request for proposals.

Scored on qualifications, business plan, maintenance, vision, financial benefit and other factors, the committee assigned Pope Golf 115 points and Hampton 99 points out of a possible 150 points. Virginia Beach received 128 points.

This is the city’s fourth attempt at outsourcing the course since 2009. A first bidder, The Patch in Augusta LLC, abandoned its lease last year after four months and left several employees unpaid. Later last year, negotiations with three Augusta brothers who sought to run the course failed. The course was reopened in the fall under management by city recreation employees.

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dickworth1 02/13/13 - 09:12 pm
The patch

Anyone wanting to work with the city of augusta on anything has to be
out of their minds. This city is so racially divided and neither side trust the other and frankly I don't trust any of them. You better go back to Florida and forget this mess. I guarantee you will not have control over the course! There has to be better options in other cities to takeover
golf facilities.

triscuit 02/13/13 - 11:50 pm
Only in Augusta...turn down

Only in Augusta...turn down the best offer and go after lower ranked firms. What a bunch of clowns.

Fundamental_Arminian 02/14/13 - 12:06 am
Why not sell the Patch?

Why do we think we need the Patch? Aren't there plenty of good privately-run courses available? With the city having to dip into its reserve funds, a reasonable solution would be to sell the Patch. We could use the money from the sale, and it would be nice to collect taxes on the property.

countyman 02/14/13 - 12:12 am
Dickworth1... I think people

Dickworth1... I think people in the surrounding counties let the news influence them too much. The commission doesn't reflect the ordinary citizens of Augusta. The commission does tend to get stuck on certain issues, but it mostly comes down to democrat/republican.

How can Augusta be so racially divided? The white mayor won over 60% of the vote in two straight elections.. I don't see anything racially divided about the Arts in the Heart which attracts over 70,000 people from different cultures downtown.

You can fast forward to three minutes on the video..

justputtin 02/14/13 - 08:29 am
Clowns at play

Dickworth is right unfortunately...........

Riverman1 02/14/13 - 08:41 am
I Abstain

If we don't hear an, "I abstain," I hope they find a deal. The private manager should have it clearly stated what the county will pay in the future as far as capital improvements, if any.

What's often been rumored a knockout idea is a hotel there. It would be assured full occupancy a week a year at triple rates and could catch on as a year round resort. That location is not that bad. Daniel Village is nearby, etc. Daniel Field for wealthy folks to fly into.

I think Corey Johnson is turning out to be a voice of reason and may turn into a swing vote on this and other things. He doesn't have a lot of money and that may have a lot to do with it. Interpret that any way you want.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 02/14/13 - 08:56 am
Read and Understand

Don't overlook reporter Susan McCord's most crucial sentence in the story above:

Both Hampton and Pope presented management plans to the procurement comm­ittee for which the city would likely pay a fee, instead of the lease option that Vir­ginia Beach offered that provided the city rental income.

Our city commissioners are hard to understand. They turned down the proposal that was ranked the best and which was going to pay rent to the city; but now they want to entertain two lesser proposals which have the city paying the firm. I hope Procurement Director Geri Sams reads the fine print to Bill Lockett and Alvin Mason before they vote.

YeCats 02/14/13 - 09:29 am
I wonder

if either of these two firms are Minority Business Enterprises?

It might make the difference.

David Parker
David Parker 02/14/13 - 10:08 am
As dysfunctional as you like it

Good luck with that @the Commish and the lucky folks on contestant row!

GnipGnop 02/14/13 - 10:31 am
What is the minority in Augusta?

It's all about race. To bad some posters are so stuck in the clouds they cannot see that. Look at the votes. The whites (and half whites) vote one way, the blacks the other. Nobody votes for the good of the county and the tax payers. That's why we wind up paying out for lawsuits. Next up? Lawsuit against the wrongful termination in the solicitors office. BTW I didn't hear a peep about discrimination in that firing but I bet Marion would have hit the ceiling if the races were reversed. Deke is the circus master of the clowns the only difference being he doesn't make any decisions unless there is a photo op involved...

triscuit 02/14/13 - 11:19 am
The black commissioners do

The black commissioners do not want the Patch closed because there are too many "free" rounds of golf there for their cronies and neighbors. Everyone knows that's why that place never made money. Free refreshments and rounds for certain ones. Can't make money that way. THAT's it in a nutshell. Call it racism or not, it's the truth.

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