Originally created 03/25/01

Golf & Gardens to open this week



Augusta Golf & Gardens, more than two years in the making, will open to the public Saturday.

The grand opening of the eight-acre display garden will be one of the highlights as Augusta prepares for the Masters Tournament with several golf-related activities.

"It's been a long time coming," said Charlie Strawser, project director for the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame. "We think the people will all enjoy it when they get in to see it."

Augusta Golf & Gardens is the future home of the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame, which will feature a 55,000-square-foot main building and exhibit hall. A Hall of Fame rotunda, theater and gift shop also are planned.

Although more than 50 golfers have been inducted into the hall, organizers are still raising money for the main building. The total project is in excess of $30 million, Mr. Strawser said.

Construction of the gardens portion began in January 1999. Roger Davis of Augusta was the landscape architect for the project.

The gardens, located on Reynolds Street, will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and several performances are scheduled. Admission is $3 with children 5 and under admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult.

The gardens will open Friday for a special Artists in the Garden preview, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Various local artists will be painting in the garden all day; admission is $5.

The garden is actually a series of more than a dozen display gardens, Mr. Strawser said. Each garden has a different theme.

Sculptures of famous golfers will be displayed in the gardens. So far, bronze sculptures of Arnold Palmer, Bobby Jones, Raymond Floyd, Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Jack Nicklaus have been unveiled.

"It takes awhile to just walk around and try to see everything," Mr. Strawser said.

For more information about Augusta Golf & Gardens, call 724-4443.

Other events scheduled during Masters Week include:

A golf tournament for Special Friends of First Tee Augusta will take place Friday at the six-hole course on Damascus Road. The tournament is for sponsors by invitation only.

On April 2, a grand opening barbecue will be held at the First Tee Clubhouse/Training Facility on Damascus Road. Tickets are $50 each.

Mayor Bob Young will hold the third annual Masters Reception on April 2 at Julian Smith Casino, 2200 Broad St. The event, which starts at 6 p.m., is free and open to the public. Mayor Young will hold a key presentation at 6:30 p.m. Four golfers have confirmed they will attend the reception this year. They are: Paul Lawrie, Charles Coody, Shingo Katayama and Aaron Baddeley.

A lecture on Augusta's historic golf course architecture will be presented at 7 p.m. April 3 at Augusta Museum of History, 560 Reynolds St. The speaker is Dr. John D. Reynolds III, vice chairman of the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame, director of the Robert T. Jones Memorial Scholarship Fund and a past president and trustee of the museum.

After the lecture, a new exhibit, Presidential Golf: Memorabilia of White House Golfers, will open. Those attending the lecture may visit Augusta Golf & Gardens from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. Reservations for the garden visit and lecture are required by Thursday. Call 722-8454.

Saxophonist Kenny G will perform in a fund-raising concert for Fort Discovery National Science Center at 9 p.m. April 6 at Bell Auditorium, 712 Telfair St. Balcony seats are $41. Call 828-7700 or e-mail www.ticketmaster.com. Sponsor tables, $2,500 and up, include a pre-concert gala with musicians at Fort Discovery and concert, dessert and beverages. Call 821-0648.

Reach John Boyette at (706) 823-3337 or jboyette@augustachronicle.com

What's happening

Saturday

At garden entrance:

9:45 a.m.: Grand opening ribbon cutting with music by Amy Miller

10 a.m.: Gardens officially open

At main stage:

10 to 11 a.m.: Army Signal Corps Band

11:15 to 11:45 a.m.: Georgia Southern University Wildlife Show

11:45 a.m. to noon: Bagpipe entertainment by Shane Parris

Noon to 1 p.m.: Summerville Rags Fashion Show

1 to 1:30 p.m.: Augusta West Performers

1:30 to 2 p.m.: Georgia Southern University Wildlife Show

2 to 3 p.m.: John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School Jazz Band

3 to 3:15 p.m.: Bagpipe Entertainment by Shane Parris

3:15 to 4 p.m.: Footloose & Fancy Free Cloggers

Events in gardens:

10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: The Home Depot birdhouse workshop for children

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Georgia Southern wildlife booth

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Simply Pets Petting Zoo

Also: Trackless train, Augusta Southern Nationals boat display, SouthTrust Bank hot-air balloon, Golf Augusta's golf swing analyzer and Cadillac display by Johnson Motor Co.