Rethink the Patch

Don't give up on outside management for city golf course

There may be a worse owner of a municipal golf course in this country, but we’d hate to imagine it.

Once again the Augusta Commission has failed its most basic stewardship responsibility for the city course known affectionately as “The Patch.” The city has lost hundreds of thousands on it, while allowing it to deteriorate – and while
allowing loosey-goosey collection of greens fees and other administrative foibles.

And yet, it has again turned away a capable management company willing to help taxpayers avoid continued losses and help the city improve the course’s ragged condition.

Besides dodging six-figure annual losses at the course, the city even would’ve been paid $250,000 in rent over 10 years under a contract it rejected Dec. 18 with Vir­ginia Beach Golf Man­age­ment.

After another company broke its management lease earlier this year, a trio of Augusta brothers stepped up to run the Patch – and even helped clean the course up for a charity tournament. All they asked for was some badly needed repairs. The city rejected the offer nearly out of hand.

Now that same city is in charge of the course, for good or ill.

This situation would be less than ideal in any burg. But in Augusta, known internationally for golf, it’s a veritable affront to a most dignified game.

There was behind-the-scenes talk of a special commission meeting before the end of the year to rethink the contract with Vir­ginia Beach Golf Man­age­ment. That would be nice – a last-minute opportunity to salvage something for the Patch out of a dreary year for the old girl.

Commissioners owe it to the city, and its golfers – many of whom are entry-level and low-income players who rely on the Patch’s affordability and accessibility.

The name of the course shouldn’t refer to the patch being placed on its chronic management wounds.

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Rick McKee Editorial Staff