The free rounds to anyone willing to walk the city-owned course after it reopened last week will come to an end Monday. Golf carts, hauled away by Club Car after a lease deal with Scottish businessman Brian Hendry fell through, will be available starting Monday and fees will again be charged.
To maintain the course until new management is secured, the city brought in inmate crews and city staff using borrowed Recreation Department equipment. About 50 to 65 people have played each day since The Patch reopened, said Ed Howerton, the interim course manager.
“The rough’s cut, we cut everything from tree line to tree line,” Howerton said. “The course is in a lot better shape. It really does look good.”
The city began its search for a new management company or a buyer Tuesday when it sent out a request for proposals to 35 companies and individuals in nine states, according to documents obtained by The Augusta Chronicle. The request seeks proposals from companies able to make revenues at Augusta Municipal Golf Course “cover operational and maintenance expenses,” something the city management hasn’t been able to do in recent years.
It offers those firms the option of a five-year management contract with the city paying a fee, or a 10-year lease with the company paying the city rent. A third option seeks proposals from companies to buy the course.
Howerton said the course will honor the memberships sold by the prior operator, The Patch in Augusta LLC. The firm headed by Hendry also left about a dozen employees jobless and owed back pay when it stopped officially operating the course Sept. 5. It had not paid its $1,000 monthly rent to the city since April 11.
According to Augusta General Counsel Andrew MacKenzie, the city will reimburse the employees today.