Originally created 04/09/06

Helping the hall



Eight acres of pure botanical heaven. Not your typical "storage area," is it?

But officials of the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame have taken to saying that the hall has been in "storage" on the beautiful manicured grounds of what used to be known as Augusta Golf and Gardens on Reynolds Street downtown.

All that is about to change.

Through the dynamic leadership of Executive Director Dianne King, Marketing Director Robyn Jarrett and board Chairman Dr. John D. Reynolds III, the hall and botanical gardens seem poised for some big things.

For instance, the "hall" exists largely in homeless exhibits. Jarrett says the memorabilia will be put into a traveling exhibit soon. And a 5,000-to-8,000-square-foot building is in the planning stages.

As early as this summer, an 18-hole miniature putting course - featuring holes patterned after real golf holes in Georgia - will open to the public.

All the while, the staff and board members have tried to be realistic. When it became apparent that the 55,000-square-foot mansion that was originally planned might see heating bills alone of $8,000 or more a month, plans were scaled back. And the hall has taken over maintenance of the botanical gardens to save money.

And while the emphasis has changed from the gardens to the hall, King and Co. want this to be a welcoming place. So, besides the fact that it's available for weddings, corporate outings and other events, the hall grounds also hosts the free annual Mayor's Masters Reception the Monday of each Masters tournament - perhaps the Masters week event most accessible to the public. Indeed, 8,700 gathered on the hall's grounds Monday to watch Mayor Deke Copenhaver honor the 1976 Masters winner on "Raymond Floyd Day."

"It shows the true hospitality we want to be known for," says Jarrett.

All the while, the hall's team has been building relationships with lawmakers and others who can help the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame be what it should be: a fitting honor to those who have dedicated their lives to the game.

But guess what: They need your help, because it's being done on a shoestring; the hall gets a fraction of the state money other like institutions receive.

Check out volunteer and membership opportunities at www.gghf.org, or call 706-724-4443.