Step up for the Patch

City should do the right thing to save popular golf course

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New managers have come forward to take care of the municipal golf course affectionately known as “The Patch.”

Now it’d be nice if the old owners would step up, too.

Augusta commissioners, tired of six-figure losses at the course, voted last year to simply rent it to a Scottish businessman for $1,000 a month – and let him figure out how to turn a buck out there.

Eight months into the arrangement, though, he’s gone for having failed to pay rent since March, and three Augusta brothers have agreed to assume the arrangement.

It is completely a labor of love. It’s safe to say they found things in a state of disarray. The clubhouse leaks so bad that the kitchen subflooring is spongelike; the kitchen’s air conditioner doesn’t work; much of the groundskeeping equipment doesn’t either; and the finances are in a shambles. The membership rolls are, too.

The Kelly brothers – Brian, Pat and Dennis – had to scramble to get the course playable for a First Tee tournament last weekend at their own expense, having to do some triage on some equipment while bringing in other pieces. They’ve got a lot of other maintenance work ahead of them as well.

They sure as heck don’t need to be sinking a bunch of capital improvement funds into the course, and they shouldn’t be expected to. Nor will they.

It’s still the city’s course, after all.

The city long ago issued $300,000 in bonds for improvements at the Patch, but apparently that money has yet to be spent.

Now would be a good time, as local managers with an abiding affection for the old course take over and give it as much TLC as they can.

“They’ve got to step up to the plate and do the right thing,” Dennis Kelly said of the city.

In a letter to the city attorney Monday, Kelly makes it clear that if an agreement on the various responsibilities of the city and the Kellys isn’t finalized by Friday, the new management deal is already off.

Augusta commissioners were no doubt delighted to rid themselves of some $300,000 in annual operating losses when they got the outside manager last year. But there’s a big difference between that and simply washing one’s hands of the course.

We trust the city won’t do that.

Augusta is the national home of golf. Masters Tournament visitors surely expect more from this city’s municipal course than they’ve been seeing. Residents of Augusta and members of the Patch deserve better than they’ve been getting.

Most of the Patch’s devoted golfers carry with them the memory of a friend or relative who had a special place in their heart for this modest patch of heaven. It’s not just a golf course to them. It’s a memorial to their loved ones and the moments they shared there.

If Augusta commissioners don’t feel a sobering sense of responsibility for that legacy, then they’re just not doing it right.

Step up, Augusta. Do it right.

It can’t all be up to managers who pay $1,000 a month to run it. The city must act like the owner and landlord that it is.

Comments (7) Add comment
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palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 08/29/12 - 11:01 pm
2
4
Hmm..seems to me that the
Unpublished

Hmm..seems to me that the ACES position would be that private sector, the market economy, should drive all enterprise. Why, in the first place, is the city owning a golf course? A necessary local service?. Let it die a slow or fast death....like all the rest on the public dole. Or is golf different??

Riverman1
79223
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Riverman1 08/30/12 - 04:30 am
6
0
Two different situations. If

Two different situations. If you want to sell the course, well, fine. But if the city is going to own it, the capital improvements should be made to protect the value of the property. It's the same as an apartment. You can't expect the renter to fix the roof.

seenitB4
81170
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seenitB4 08/30/12 - 07:59 am
3
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The article says...

The Kelly brothers – Brian, Pat and Dennis – had to scramble to get the course playable for a First Tee tournament last weekend at their own expense, having to do some triage on some equipment while bringing in other pieces. They’ve got a lot of other maintenance work ahead of them as well.

AMEN...They love Augusta...they will make it work....step up to the plate & make this happen.

soapy_725
43553
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soapy_725 08/30/12 - 08:03 am
0
1
Dr. Azziz says we need to move forward
Unpublished

stop being mired in the past. The history of Augusta is a negative we must peel from our collective onion. Old buildings, old ways, old names and all of the weights that are slowing down the New Vibrant Augusta or NVA. Move on. Give GRU the Patch. Or as we would say the GRU-P.

Little Lamb
43821
Points
Little Lamb 08/30/12 - 08:36 am
1
1
Fairness

It would not be fair to spend the $300,000 in capital improvements for the Kelly Brothers without first offering The Patch, LLC the chance to continue his lease agreement with the city making the capital improvements for him.

scorehouse
196
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scorehouse 08/30/12 - 09:50 am
0
1
this is ez.
Unpublished

call that genius azziz. he'll rename it augusta national south. then move the ag school from athens to grow crops on the fairways from may until october when the course is closed. or maybe the national will buy it. that way they just won't have ladies tees but a whole ladies course.

YeCats
10005
Points
YeCats 08/30/12 - 12:31 pm
1
1
If the patch belongs to the

If the patch belongs to the city, why haven't they sold it? Highest bidder. Like foreclosed properties.

pimpernell
94
Points
pimpernell 08/30/12 - 01:59 pm
1
0
Don't throw me into that..... Patch! ."Brer' Rabbit-Uncle Remus

There has been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over the ill fated
Augusta "Patch". There have been recriminations over monies appropriated but not spent. There have been failed management enterprises. There has been a default. The place is crumbling. But consider this. What happens when the City withdraws support, Management fails, Volunteers depart, the cold cold wind is blowing down the Hill, and the wolf is at the door? But wait! Did someone say lawyers were asking questions and making comments about the Patch's salvation? Consider this scripture line from
Matthew 24:28
Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
Any Questions?
H

pimpernell
94
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pimpernell 08/30/12 - 02:04 pm
1
0
post script

Need I mention that someone is planning to pick up the Patch for pennies on the Dollar? Ever wonder who will be facilitating this?

YeCats
10005
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YeCats 08/30/12 - 02:48 pm
0
1
Wow, pimp,thanks for the

Wow, pimp,thanks for the enlightenment. I'm really sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting to see how this one turns out.

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