This deserves another shot

In city renowned for golf, 'Patch' shouldn't be neglected

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We’d love to give the city a mulligan on this one.

The Augusta Commission earlier this month failed to approve a $300,000 sales tax investment in the city-owned golf course affectionately known as the Patch.

The vote actually cost the city another $300,000 – as the management firm that began leasing the course from the city in January offered to match the city’s investment in badly-needed improvements.

We hope the commission will reconsider – especially since the vote on the matter was 5-4 in favor, only lacking the six-vote majority that most of its actions require.

Tellingly, The Chronicle’s Susan McCord wrote recently that “some commissioners have questioned why a private operator should get the money.”

In truth, the city would get the benefit not only of its own sales tax money, as was long intended, but also of the management firm’s money. The course, you see, is still owned by the city and its taxpayers.

That sales tax money wouldn’t have gone to the management firm; it would’ve been put into a municipal asset that had been neglected for far too long.

As Mayor Deke Copenhaver so rightly noted at the March 6 meeting, a lot of folks here and across the planet consider Augusta the golf capital of the world. What a shame if its own municipal course isn’t even close to what it can be.

Moreover, if the city isn’t willing to invest in itself and its own high-profile assets – remember, a ton of golfers will descend on the city the first week of April – then how could we ask anyone else to?

Some lament that the city’s return on the course now is but the $1,000 a month rent from the management firm. But remember: The commission had several choices when it decided last year to lease the course to a management firm. Another proposal would’ve given the city more of a return than the $1,000, but would’ve also entailed more risk. This is the path the commission decided upon.

If commissioners wanted to wash their hands of it, why didn’t they just sell it and get some cash?

Instead, some appear willing to see the golf course continue to be neglected – just under someone else’s name. What’s the use of that?

Brian Hendry won’t allow it.

“I think we’re making it better every day,” says the Scot whose firm manages the Patch now, and who flew here from Scotland to encourage the joint investment in improvements.

“Obviously, if you get extra money, and it’s matched by ourselves, I think things could’ve been even better.”

But Hendry – whose folks have already made a lot of inexpensive improvements in the grounds and the cart-path markers – is upbeat still, and so are we.

We hope once the Masters Tournament is over, the commission takes another swing at this.

Comments (7) Add comment
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Riverman1
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Riverman1 03/25/12 - 03:49 am
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If the city had taken the

If the city had taken the other proposal and paid a management firm to run the course the money for the improvements already approved would have occurred. I don't think it's right to keep the funds from the course now since it is still the property of the city.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 03/25/12 - 03:55 am
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What's going on in Augusta is

What's going on in Augusta is an anti-privatization mood by many in government. City jobs are affected when more efficient private operators come into the mix and the constituents of many public officials have city jobs. We constantly see the negative comments about not only the privately run Patch, but the city busses, ADP and recently with the schoolbus privatizing being outvoted.

agustinian
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agustinian 03/25/12 - 07:36 am
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How 'bout a compromise? The

How 'bout a compromise? The course operator advise the city where and what capital improvements need to be made and the city make them -- similar to a landlord improving his property and the renter telling the landlord, he will match the landlord's cost of improvements with his own.

That way the money never leaves the city's coffers except to improve a capital asset they own and will get back at the end of the rental/management term.

wondersnevercease
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wondersnevercease 03/25/12 - 09:04 am
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What is it in Augusta that
Unpublished

What is it in Augusta that blocks vision and common sense??.....

scorehouse
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scorehouse 03/25/12 - 11:01 am
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soapy, you've got soap on the
Unpublished

soapy, you've got soap on the brain. if you don't think master's visitors spend money, go try and get a tee time, hotel room, rental car, restaurant reservation(with their Master's week menu), etc. better yet try to get a landscaper or caterer. people shuttle in and out from atlanta and columbia because augusta can't accomodate all the patons.. try to get a flight in and out of augusta this week. you can't! please change your kool-aid.

scorehouse
196
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scorehouse 03/25/12 - 11:04 am
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try to get a tee time with
Unpublished

try to get a tee time with 100 miles of augusta soapy.

Riverman1
83766
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Riverman1 03/25/12 - 11:06 am
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Find a vacancy in a motel

Find a vacancy in a motel during the Masters.

scorehouse
196
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scorehouse 03/25/12 - 12:46 pm
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it's a new dawn! me and the
Unpublished

it's a new dawn! me and the R-man agree! hey soapy how bout gettin us a table at luigi's wednesday night? or maybe T-bonz. heck i love a 2-3 hour wait before dinner. just hate having to wait for all those commuters to clear out by midnight? oh well. liquid breakfast, liquid lunch, might as well throw in a liquid dinner. at least i'll get me an egg salad and pimiento cheese to snack on. hey what'd u expect? it's the MASTERS!

curly123053
4663
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curly123053 03/25/12 - 03:28 pm
0
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If the 5-4 vote would have

If the 5-4 vote would have been on any other commission or council it would have been a passing vote. As long as the Augusta Commission is operated on racist votes progress is slowed down. Any majority vote on any subject should be a passing vote if there is a quorum of commissioners present. Thank God the Aiken County Council don't operate like the Augusta Commission! I also don't think the Aiken County Council would be shafting the taxpayers to maintain a golf course.

allhans
23635
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allhans 03/25/12 - 11:35 pm
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soapy..You are behind

soapy..You are behind times..Bush Field has heavy traffic. A recent flight to Atlanta leaving Bush Field at 5:45 am and every seat was filled.

allhans
23635
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allhans 03/25/12 - 11:38 pm
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curly..A guy that claims he

curly..A guy that claims he will run against Hunt for sheriff is playing the race card big-time. I hope the people of Aiken County let him know that that act is old. It won't work anymore.

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