Originally created 03/09/99

Commission OKs land for golf course



The First Tee project that will make golf accessible to Augusta children who ordinarily have no exposure to the sport moved forward Monday with a city commission vote.

The city's public services committee approved leasing 40 acres on Damascus Road near Augusta's new aquatics center to the Fore! Augusta Foundation Inc. for $1 a year. The lease will be for 20 years with two 10-year options to renew.

The full Augusta Commission also must approve the lease and design at the March 16 commission meeting.

The proposed facility will include a driving range, putting green, five-hole golf course and teaching facility. The course will be used exclusively by children or adults playing golf with children.

Children will play at no charge, according to Paul S. Simon, who represents the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame and the Fore foundation.

The foundation will raise the money to build and operate the course. The city's only contribution will be land, Mr. Simon said.

Operating expenses will come from contributions, sponsors and fees charged adults who play the course with children, Mr. Simon said.

The First Tee organization will donate $100,000, Mr. Simon said.

"Our plans are to have the ground-breaking during Masters week this year," Mr. Simon said.

First Tee is a national initiative organized by the World Golf Foundation.

The national First Tee organization is also providing engineering and architectural services as well as golf balls, clubs and gloves, Mr. Simon said.

The First Tee project also includes a putting green on Reynolds Street that will be on the Golf Hall of Fame property near the gardens.

Sylvia Cooper can be reached at (706) 823-3228 or sylviaco@augustachronicle.com.