Time to Patch the hole

City needs to seek professional help in running beloved municipal golf course

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It's wonderful that, in a city so closely associated with golf, there's a municipal course here that's affordable and approachable for all.

But running a golf course is a very delicate, specialized endeavor, one that Augusta has been losing money at -- and must concede past mismanagement of. It's OK to admit someone else can do it better.

And that's precisely what the city of Augusta ought to do.

Augusta commissioners have looked at everything from letting loose of the course, affectionately dubbed the "Patch," to having a private entity lease and take it over.

A more moderate approach is taking hold: The city would retain ownership and hire a management company to run it.

That may be just the ticket.

Some will fret over employees losing jobs -- that always seems to be the paramount concern with some, rather than inefficiency or cost to the taxpayers. Another, less talked about factor, is that some golfers have enjoyed sweetheart deals at the Patch; the talk has long been that favored folks fly free, for instance.

Let's hope even the political class is beyond protecting such questionable patronage, and will finally look out for the taxpayers of Richmond County. With the city's projected $7 million budget deficit, it's time commissioners took bold steps to streamline every operation of government -- as they did by agreeing to privatize the operation of city buses recently.

The only reason to oppose such attempts at savings is to look out for city employees or their friends, at the expense of the citizenry.

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Riverman1 06/07/11 - 05:09 am
The Patch is simply more

The Patch is simply more income redistribution. Those who pay big property taxes funding recreation for those who pay little. Of course it's all about that lucrative business of taking money from Richmond County taxpayers via unneeded government jobs. A commissioner in Augusta is like a Chicago ward boss. The mayor is as much of a leader as a photograph on the wall behind glass in an ornate frame.

devilsadvocate 06/07/11 - 11:02 am
I love golf, and I love the

I love golf, and I love the patch... but, we must decide where the money needs to go. First of all, a management company would make sure that all the golfers pay (not happening now) and that all the employees are productive (definitely not happening now) and that the fees produced a profit. The commission needs to ignore the howls of those that might lose their jobs in such a change. If they are productive, let them apply for work with the new management. Hard times must be met with hard choices. Out of this would most likely come a better course with better management.

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