Brian Hendry, of Aberdeen, Scotland, hunkered down at a corner table with several associates, negotiating equipment leases and making other arrangements in advance of January, when his firm will take over management of the city-owned golf course.
On a sunny November day with about 20 golfers playing the course, about twice as many as were in the clubhouse talking.
“I’m going to build on that,” said Hendry, the chairman of The Patch Golf Club, the course’s management company. He was visiting Augusta from Aberdeen by way of Chicago, where he spent several hours with David Ogilvie III, the grandson of David Ogilvie, a Scottish immigrant who served many years as pro at Augusta Country Club and designed Augusta Municipal Golf Course, known affectionately by most as “The Patch.”
Hendry plans to officially change the course’s name to The Patch. His card and necktie sport the Ogilvie tartan, while the new Patch logo bears Scottish and American flags and a tiny head of cabbage.
Hendry is enthused about reclaiming the course’s Scottish ties, its connection to the Ogilvies and its roots in Augusta golf history, though he acknowledges Augusta already is home to the world’s greatest golf course.
“Why would anyone even think of trying to compete with that?” Hendry said.
His firm, which will rent the course from Augusta for $1,000 a month, plans changes to two of its most visible holes – transforming a nearly flat bunker on No. 13 into a forboding pit reminiscent of a deep Aberdeen granite quarry, and remaking a pond on No. 14 into a lush water feature, he said.
They won’t do it on the backs of players, Hendry said. The club’s annual $500 adult memberships will provide a weekly golfer “some of the cheapest golf in the United States,” while walk-in rates will remain as they are now, he said. Senior and junior memberships will be less, Hendry said.
The plans are set to go live soon at www.thepatchaugusta.com.