A proposed partnership between First Tee of Augusta and Augusta Municipal Golf Course is reviving hope among some city commissioners for keeping management of the course in local hands.
“The plan is good, but the plan is not new,” said Commissioner Bill Lockett, who led an Augusta Commission committee that sought solutions at the golf course, known locally as “The Patch,” three years ago. The commission is expected to bring up the matter at a meeting Tuesday afternoon.
After that committee failed to find a solution to the city-owned course’s management woes, a group led by Augusta businessman James Kendrick tried to unite community partners that included First Tee, Paine College and the school
system behind the course, Lockett said.
Commission members had other ideas at the time, however, and voted instead to lease the course to an entity known as The Patch in Augusta LLC, which quit paying rent shortly after Masters Week 2012 and left several employees unpaid.
After briefly closing its doors, the course has been back under city management since last fall.
A new pitch from Augusta businessman Paul Simon, the chairman emeritus of the First Tee of Augusta board and a co-founder
of the youth golf organization’s Augusta program, struck a chord with several on the commission last week.
“I certainly enjoyed the fact that he had listened to some of the comments that were made in the past and he’d come up with an idea that was workable for First Tee and the municipal golf course,” Lockett said.
Lockett said that although Simon didn’t mention the other entities Kendrick tried to bring together, he was certain they could be included in the plan.
Commissioner Joe Jackson, who missed Simon’s presentation to a committee last week, said he was skeptical.
“I’m not going to fund a deficit when we had a company that was going to do it,” Jackson said.
Virginia Beach Golf Management withdrew its bid last month after the commission refused to approve its lease.
“It’s trying to get it back to local control,” Jackson said.
Other Augusta Commission business today is expected to include:
• A 4 p.m. closed-door meeting with attorneys
• Discussion about asking Augusta’s legislative delegation to consider revising some or all of the salaries paid to Richmond County elected officials
• A 5 p.m. appearance by Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, who will speak about Augusta’s implementation of the revised Georgia Open Meetings Law and a statewide food drive
• A 5 p.m. public hearing on the Clean Augusta Downtown Initiative, which was advertised by the initiative but is not included on the meeting agenda
• The purchase of 30 Dodge Chargers for the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office from low bidder
Akins Ford Corp. for $1 million and the designation of the replaced vehicles as surplus
• A motion to uphold the Augusta Planning Commission’s recommendation against rezoning 1906
Phinizy Road from agriculture to professional for bondsman Larry Ennis, and the appointment of the Rev. Melvin Ivey to the planning commission.