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Augusta Municipal Golf Course tries to play through

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Years of city government missteps, and more recently an ice storm, continue to plague Augusta Municipal Golf Course, the historic but scrappy city-owned course.

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As Course Manager Ira Miller explains the rules for the tournament, participants stand around him at the practice putting green.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
As Course Manager Ira Miller explains the rules for the tournament, participants stand around him at the practice putting green.

The inch of ice deposited last month took down dozens of trees and thousands of limbs at “The Patch.” Ira Miller, the course manager since the fall retirement of Ed Howerton, said staff quickly pushed the debris to the sides of fairways and cart paths and had 11 holes reopened within days.

Membership, however, has declined at the golf course since a private management fiasco three years ago. Miller said the course has 35 memberships compared with 180 in 2011.

That year, after the course had run for years at a loss and became the subject of a subcommittee’s study, the Augusta Com­mission voted to lease it to a private firm owned by Scotland businessman Brian Hendry and Sa­vannah businessman Michael Kistler.

After the firm abandoned its lease and left several employees unpaid, the city turned the course back over to city employees, who have run it since then.

After two more efforts to lease the course to private firms failed, commissioners rejected an offer from First Tee of Au­gusta to merge and share resources. First Tee’s bid, offered by its chairman emeritus Paul Simon, was rejected again recently when commissioners authorized a new request for proposals from private companies.

Classic Golf Management, of Marietta, and Cypress Golf Management, of Orlando, Fla., met the bid requirements, but no finalist has been recommended.

Members and guests played 800 rounds last weekend, Miller said, and Richmond County’s middle school golf program has been using the course every Thursday.

Miller said the course is getting ready for Masters Week.

“We’ve overseeded the greens, we fertilized the greens and they’re really looking good,” Mil­ler said. “It’s coming back; it just takes time.”

Like most area courses, it will raise rates for Masters Week he added.

“We did take the prices up just a little bit, $30, with a cart,” Mil­ler said.

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nocnoc
49554
Points
nocnoc 03/17/14 - 06:48 am
2
1
ARC still owns this Money Pit?

WHY, with all the Public Golf courses around the Augusta area?
Isn't this Government being in direct UNFAIR commercial competition?

Any Gov run course does not have to make a profit to stay open.
Because it has the Taxpayers wallets & Purses to operate at a continued loss, as long as the Taxpayers will put up with it.

Why sell it or expand Daniel Field or something.

Little Lamb
49246
Points
Little Lamb 03/17/14 - 06:59 am
1
0
Ratio

So members and guests played 800 rounds of golf last weekend. What the story does not say is how many greens fees were collected.

Marinerman1
5499
Points
Marinerman1 03/17/14 - 08:52 am
0
0
Inept Commission

Further proof that the commission cannot get things done. They should've taken up the First Tee partnership. At least the Patch would get some some good use by some future golfers, and it would infuse some money into the operation. I remember taking my son there when he was little. A shame.

itsanotherday1
48408
Points
itsanotherday1 03/17/14 - 08:54 am
0
0
Section 8 golf. Period.

Section 8 golf. Period.

Sweet son
11759
Points
Sweet son 03/17/14 - 10:35 am
1
1
Isn't that Alvin Mason's home course?

Wonder if he still is or ever was a member? Also looking for great things from money pit bus route to Ft. Gordon.

Hope I am wrong because none of the other routes with their low ridership are worthy of operation.

YeCats
12223
Points
YeCats 03/17/14 - 12:04 pm
2
0
35 members?

Augusta's most exclusive golf club!

Butterman
3696
Points
Butterman 03/17/14 - 02:14 pm
0
1
Thank Joe Bowles
Unpublished

Yet another one of Joe Bowles' fiascos. I've always said just sell the course if the city does not want to run it. Another one of Bowles' ideas, turning the city bus system over to a private company, is costing more than when the city more than when it was ran inhouse

Riverman1
94244
Points
Riverman1 03/18/14 - 06:02 am
0
0
2 Members Per Hole

35 members, 18 holes. About 2 members per hole.

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