Golf statues arrive at museum

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Jack, Bobby, Byron, Arnold, Ben and Ray stood upright for the first time in almost three years Monday at the Augusta Museum of History.

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Wesley Hilliard guides a bronze statue of Bobby Jones into the Augusta Museum of History. On Monday, six bronze statues of golf greats came out of the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame's storage. The public can see the statues in the rotunda beginning Friday.  Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Wesley Hilliard guides a bronze statue of Bobby Jones into the Augusta Museum of History. On Monday, six bronze statues of golf greats came out of the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame's storage. The public can see the statues in the rotunda beginning Friday.

"I wanted to get these statues up in time for the Masters," museum Director Nancy Glaser said.

The larger-than-life bronze statues, all but one commissioned by local sponsors for display at the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame, have remained in storage since September 2007, when the golf hall ran out of money.

Costing an average of $100,000 and weighing between 700 and 1,200 pounds each, the statues were hoisted by forklift into a truck and driven slowly to the museum, where they were lifted out and turned upright onto pedestals in the museum's rotunda.

The statues of Jack Nicklaus, Bobby Jones, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan and Ray Floyd will return to public view Friday along with the opening of a permanent golf exhibit. The museum, which has had to reduce its hours in a tight budget year, funded the exhibit through grants and donations, including a $4,000 gift from Bank of America for the cost of installing the statues, Glaser said.

The museum has a temporary agreement with the golf hall to display the statues through June 30 and is seeking a 15-year arrangement with the statues' owner to house them, she said.

That long-term lease will be with whatever state agency takes over when the golf hall dissolves. But Glaser doesn't expect the weighty statues to move.

Rep. Hardie Davis, D-Augusta, who introduced a bill last month transferring the statues and the golf hall's 17 acres to Augusta for $1, said he expects somewhat different legislation to be signed.

"For Augusta's purposes, our goal is to move swiftly in getting the hall of fame abolished and have all real and personal property transferred over, and that includes the statues," he said.

The city will pay fair market value for the property, Davis said.

The market price will reflect both the $2 million the state still owes on the golf hall land and the "significant community investment" that Augusta has made toward the golf hall, he said.

The Statues

Donors paid $250,000 for the commissioning and maintenance of the six statues:

- BOBBY JONES, co-founder of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament; Sponsor: Callaway Golf Co.

- ARNOLD PALMER, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964 Masters champion; Sponsor: Bankers First Corp., which is now part of Wachovia

- JACK NICKLAUS, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1986 Masters champion; Sponsor: Morris Communications Co.

- BEN HOGAN , 1951, 1953 Masters champion; Sponsor: Georgia Power's East Region office in Augusta and Regional Vice President Tommy Stone, who retired in 2002

- BYRON NELSON, 1937, 1942 Masters champion; Sponsor: The Creel Foundation, an Augusta-based philanthropic organization whose founder, Howard Creel, was a friend of Nelson's and a fellow golfer

- RAY FLOYD, 1976 Masters champion; Sponsor: Club Car Inc.

IF YOU GO

Augusta Museum of History

560 Reynolds St.; (706) 722-8454;

Hours: Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 1-5 p.m.

Masters Week: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 3-10; 1-5 p.m. April 11

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iletuknow
8
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iletuknow 03/16/10 - 04:54 am
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RAY FLOYD seems to be a spoof

RAY FLOYD seems to be a spoof in that line-up.

Riverman1
83852
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Riverman1 03/16/10 - 04:57 am
1
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As I said before, the people

As I said before, the people and businesses of the CSRA paid for those statues and they belong in Augusta. The one sponsor from outside the area, Calloway, surely wants them in Augusta, too. If the GGHOF had tried to take them out of Augusta, they would have been attacked by golfers so riled up it would look like they had just come out of the smelly snackbar after playing 36 holes in July and rehydrating with beer.

ColCo
780
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ColCo 03/16/10 - 06:28 am
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The city will pay fair market

The city will pay fair market value for the property, Davis said. The market price will reflect both the $2 million the state still owes on the golf hall land and the "significant community investment" that Augusta has made toward the golf hall, he said. Will somebody please interpret this Hardiespeak for me? I guess in his mind, the value of "the significant community investment" will be $1,999,999.00, putting the value of the property at $1.00. If Deke wants a stadium there, get Cal to retire the bond, buy the property at fair market value himself, put together a group of investors and build whatever he pleases. Don't expect the taxpayers to pay for a dream, Sam Nicholson had one in the early '80's and we ended up with the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame.

disssman
6
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disssman 03/16/10 - 09:06 am
0
1
Sure seems like a shame to

Sure seems like a shame to drill that beautiful floor to anchor these without knowing beyond June. Riverman, what makes you think yhe people of the CSRA paid for them? As near as I can tell they were built as a tax avoidance project by people who liked golf. In other words they had a choice of paying their employees a bonus or taking a tax write off for a non-profit. Well we know what was important. I say melt them down for the embarassment they are.

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 03/16/10 - 10:29 am
0
0
Nice to know the City is

Nice to know the City is getting back into the real estate business again... Meh!

Riverman1
83852
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Riverman1 03/16/10 - 02:42 pm
1
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Dissman, when the statues

Dissman, when the statues were sculpted donations were solicited from the community. There was no tax money involved. Many contributed a few bucks although the large concerns gave a lot as the story notes. The point is that those who gave thought they were donating to something that would stay in Augusta. The GGHOF dropped hints before that they didn't have to leave them in Augusta. Wrongo, Bob.

corgimom
32345
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corgimom 03/16/10 - 07:31 pm
0
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The City has agreed to buy

The City has agreed to buy the property for $2,000,000? Really? Where are they getting the money to do that?

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 03/16/10 - 08:04 pm
0
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Corgi, probably from the

Corgi, probably from the sherriffs office

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