“It’s going up every day,” said Ed Howerton, who is managing the course since negotiations fell through and it shut down Sept. 5 for five days. “They just keep coming out.”
About 100 golfers turned out for a free round Friday, Howerton said, up from about 70 on Thursday and 50 on Wednesday.
Reopening the course, which was neglected over the past few months by The Patch in Augusta LLC, has meant hard work for a small city staff assigned to run it until a new operator is found.
Howerton said he and a few others have spent five hours or more each day mowing, taking breaks, then resuming “to cut some more.”
Players “will see a whole lot better course than there was a few weeks ago at least,” Howerton said.
They are returning despite the absence of golf cars or concessions, which were removed when The Patch in Augusta, headed by Aberdeen, Scotland, businessman Brian Hendry, pulled out after not paying rent for five months.
A decision on bringing in a few golf cars and some snacks might come next week, Howerton said.
Negotiations with Paine College, which City Administrator Fred Russell said might lend golf coach Herman Belton to manage the course for a few months, haven’t sent the golf pro or Paine’s team to The Patch, Howerton said.
On Monday the Augusta Commission authorized Russell to rebid management of the golf course, hold Hendry in default, seek temporary assistance and complete numerous needed repairs at the course and clubhouse, using a sales tax allocation that voters approved for The Patch.