Augusta Municipal Golf Course tries to play through

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.

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.

Latest effort to hire "The Patch" manager under way
Patch-First Tee merger fails; ambulance contract gets OK
Commission to consider revised Patch plan
Michaux: Latest Patch plan might work
City course offers other side of golf
Commission to discuss Patch proposal
2 firms' Augusta Municipal Golf Course bids to get second look
Patch bidder backs out
Augusta commission OKs Patch management deal
Firm's pitch to manage Patch voted down
Virginia firm set to take over Augusta Municipal Golf Course
Is a pint-sized Patch the answer?
Topic page: Augusta Municipal Golf Course

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