Forest Hills picks Usry for position

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It didn't take long for Forest Hills Golf Club to hire a new head pro/general manager.

David Usry: Augusta native was the head pro at North Augusta Country Club from 1998 until late February.  File/Staff
File/Staff
David Usry: Augusta native was the head pro at North Augusta Country Club from 1998 until late February.

Less than 48 hours after Scott Allen was out, former North Augusta Country Club head pro David Usry was in.

Usry was approved for the job Wednesday morning by the Forest Hills management committee's executive committee, and then was introduced to the staff.

"We've looked and talked to a lot of people and he does have a lot of good experience," said Don Grantham, the management committee's chairman.

Usry, an Augusta native who was a nationally ranked junior golfer in the early 1980s, had been the North Augusta Country Club head pro from 1998 until late February when Fred Layman purchased the course. Usry was also the North Augusta club manager from 2005 until he left.

Prior to his stint at North Augusta, Usry worked at three South Carolina golf courses and also worked at a golf instructional center.

"His track record is rather impeccable as far as what he's done," Grantham said of Usry, who is 43. "We were delighted David was available to us."

Grantham said a Forest Hills member alerted him to the fact that Usry was no longer at North Augusta Country Club, and talks began in early March, he said.

"I'd like to put it on the record: I didn't pursue Scott's job in any way," Usry said. "I'm sorry about the way it was handled. I know there is a lot of negativity going on and I'll have to deal with it. I just hope people give me a chance."

According to Grantham, Usry's No. 1 priority will be to bring back interest in Forest Hills. Play has dropped off since a 2003 renovation that closed the course for 11 months. When it re-opened, the character of the course had changed. It was more difficult, and outside play suffered.

"They want to change things around and try to draw some revenue," said Allen, who commented on his departure for the first time Wednesday.

"Once we get the golf course where he needs to be, we're going to hit it very hard with a marketing plan," Usry said, referring to the conditioning of the course.

"We've got to get the course back to where it is respectable within the community," he said. "We've got a lot of hard work ahead of us to bring it up to the standards Augusta State and the Augusta Golf Association want. I do see us getting back to the level we need to be at."

Grantham said the decision to move Allen out after 22 months on the job was based on a "mutual understanding."

On Wednesday, Allen didn't want to get into a war of words with his former boss.

"I probably shouldn't say anything bad," said Allen, who started at the club as an assistant pro in 1992. "I don't know what to say. They made their decision."

Allen was surprised by his ouster at a meeting Monday afternoon, but now thinks "this decision was made months ago."

He will stay on through Wednesday; Usry takes over the following day.

"I'll finish here and start looking," Allen said of his plans. "I haven't really thought about it. I'll figure it out; it will work out for the best."

When the announcement was made that Usry would succeed him, Allen wished him good luck.

"I know Scott; he's a great guy," Usry said. "I met with him today (Wednesday) and we had a good conversation. He held no ill feelings towards me."

Reach David Westin at (706) 724-0851 or david.westin@augustachronicle.com.

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member
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member 04/19/07 - 06:53 am
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unless they do another

unless they do another "renovation", things won't change at forest hills. for all those who played it for years, the first renovation changed the character alot. this last one ruined it.

shivas
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shivas 04/19/07 - 07:00 am
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Mr. Grantham and the rest of

Mr. Grantham and the rest of these committee members should publicly apologize for butchering a historic Donald Ross course, and then resign. To make Mr. Allen a fall guy is despicable, and consistent with this committee's personality. Forrest Hills will never be the same. It's like putting lipstick on a pig.

hockeypuck
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hockeypuck 04/19/07 - 08:10 am
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I love the new plan...what a

I love the new plan...what a joke! Bringing Forest Hills back....another good one. It can't happen under the current conditions. Between all that was said yesterday and so far today, it is obvious that the redesign is horrible and nobody likes it....that is established. So we have a difficult/player unfriendly course...then, you have a maintenance budget that I'm sure is as low as anybody in the area trying to maintain this mess. Then comes the great marketing plan from Mr. Usry...unless the AGA decides to pony up more for marketing, it will be up to David and his buddy Don to dress up like Bobby Jones and Arnold Palmer-standing on Wrighstboro Rd. giving away 2 for 1 passes.
To FIRE Scott is an absolute injustice. Where any Forest Hills members aware of this change? How do they feel about Scott?
Where do Dr. Bloodworth, Clynt Bryant, Josh Gregory, and Laura Coble stand? I'm curious if the entire AJA was even aware or if this was mainly a Grantham decision? Those of us that know Scott know the answers to these questions. Scott is a well-liked, hard working professional and in no way deserves to be the scapegoat.

hockeypuck
0
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hockeypuck 04/19/07 - 08:17 am
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cont'd...where else can you

cont'd...where else can you be a valued 15 year employee and be FIRED for NO reason. Grantham and the rest of the AJA need to get out of Forest Hills. There are no AJA members that are members at Forest Hills so why do they/he(Grantham) push the buttons. The AJA (Grantham) needs to apologize then mutually agree to be relieved of his duties (ha!) For all of those that support Scott and the good days at Forest Hills, it is time to give up your memberships, no longer support the Birdie Club, and find new places to play. I have taken my last steps on what used to be a fun place to visit and play. It is a shame this elitiest group has brought a great place to the ground. ASU Admin., Forest Hills members, ASU Alumni, etc. STAND up and be heard.

golffan
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golffan 04/19/07 - 08:24 am
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The AGA needs to be held

The AGA needs to be held accountable for the mismanagement of the course and the FIRING of Scott Allen. Dr. Bloodworth has also been quiet on this and as everyone knows the course belongs to ASU, not the AGA. Don Grantham has showed his true colors in all of this and is a COWARD. The only respectable player in this entire mess has been Scott. As for Usry, yeah we believe you that you didn't lobby for this job. Hell, until Monday noone even knew it was "open". You must have really been a hot commodity. I will no longer support FHGC, the Birdie Club, nor any ASU fundraisers. I hope hundreds follow my commitment. Best of luck, Dob!! Hope you land somewhere close!! By the way, I would love to see Westin tell the entire truth for once, Get to the bottom of this!! lets look at what the AGA has really done to help FH and ASU lately.

nomoreFH
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nomoreFH 04/19/07 - 08:39 am
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As a member (but not for

As a member (but not for long) of Forest Hills, we need to boycott - all the standing members who show up every and I mean every weekend to play needs to go to another course for at least two full weekends! AGA forgets who pays the monthly dues - hit them where it hurts. There is alot more dirt that needs to be uncovered - how the revenue from the course is used, where it goes, who determines where it goes.........the members of FH needs to be active - could ASU upkeep this course without the members????? Come on FH Members - this is our club - we should have a voice - if not, Bartram, Jones, The River, Pine Ridge, etc., are all happy this happened - let's stand behind one of our own! Soctt we are here for you!

darr350
2
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darr350 04/19/07 - 08:40 am
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Mr. Grantham has to have had

Mr. Grantham has to have had a history with David Usry, but he has no history in running a golf course. If Granthams true interest is to bring back people to play this goat path of a golf course hiring a diffent pro is about as stupid as it gets. It matters not what lavis resume and accomplishments Mr. Usry may have the fact is he has no personality at all. He will have no inpact on increasing play or bringing new members to Forrest Hills. Heck, he want speak to half of them. He left North Augusta with his two chairs and TV that he put in the golf shop and he will relocate them to Forrest Hills. When you enter to sign in he may speak to you and he my not, depends on whats on TV. To be a head pro you have to have a personality and cater to your members, you can not do as Mr. Usry and Mr. Verdery at the River Golf Club and act as if the members are doing you a favor to show up at your golf course. Mr. Grantham has made a serious mastake to let a very well liked and hard working head pro go to bring in his friend, there is polotics in everything. Time will prove me right. Just a thought, How many new members did Mr. Usry bring to North Augusta? None that stay.

jswalla
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jswalla 04/19/07 - 09:20 am
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Prior to the renovations a

Prior to the renovations a marketing plan wasn't needed. Please Mr. Westin, sombody do a little research and dig up the truth. This is a joke!
I honestly fail to see how a marketing plan will change things in a true golfing community. Do you think people don't know about Forest Hills? Do you honestly feel like people aren't coming because they just don't know The Hills is around? I think the powers that be need to take a serious look in the mirror, when your done doing that, resign.

georgiadawg1
1
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georgiadawg1 04/19/07 - 09:21 am
0
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Unbelievable! It's obvious

Unbelievable! It's obvious to anyone that has played Forrest Hills recently why there is little play at the course, BECAUSE IT SUCKS! That course is in the worst condition of almost any course in the area. The greens have patchy sod-work on them, bunkers are not maintained properly, trash and cigarette butts litter the course and the driving range is by far the worst in the area. Forrest Hills could be a great course if they actually put some money into making it better condition wise. They could immediately draw revenue if they just started by making the driving range a decent area to practice at. Spend some money to get new driving range balls that actually have dimples still on them. Get some nice grass to grow there and I guarantee you that people will come to spend money. Until they do show some attention to the course, play won't increase no matter who you fire or hire to run the show. It's a shame that a decent, respectable pro who was loyal to FHGC for so many years would get treated this way. I have only played FH a few times in the last couple years and each time I didn't want to go out there and I swore that I would never come back. Now I definitely won't

slowfunk
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slowfunk 04/19/07 - 09:29 am
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I am a FH member and I expect

I am a FH member and I expect Don Grantahm to give us (the members ) an explanation for this. We were NEVER informed of this decision and have no idea of what the new approach to FH will be. Speak up DON! YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED! Don't worry Dob, a bigger and better opportunity will come along soon.

PurpleHaze
0
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PurpleHaze 04/19/07 - 09:38 am
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Yesterday I commented on my

Yesterday I commented on my disappointment over Scott's release from the FH Golf Club. Not suprised to see today, there is not one positive comment from readers and players. The changes made to the course a few years back are the reasons play is down. Those of you who decided to change the course dramatically are to be blamed for the clubs' failures during the past 3 years, not Scott or the staff. Having been a member since the mid 90's, I have observed many additional golf facilities emerging in the area and like the tennis boom of the 70's and 80's, the market has saturated itself with more golf courses than players. The result will be fewer players at most courses. Forest Hills' could have improved the greens and lengthened a few wholes and that is all that should have been done. Instead, the amateur AGA "golf course architects" ruined Forest Hills with trying to make it tougher for a 3 day college tournament. What a pity!

shivas
2
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shivas 04/19/07 - 09:58 am
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If you want to know where the

If you want to know where the money and funds for Forrest Hills goes, just take a trip down Milledge Rd. to the Augusta Country Club. In fact, it was the country club boys who pushed to destroy FH, while they went and re-designed their own course to it's original Ross lay-out. Obviously, they did not want FH as a competition to their exclusive/exclusionary club. As an ASU alumni (1986) I will refuse to send any other checks until someone does something to this committee.

quickfeet
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quickfeet 04/19/07 - 11:43 am
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what a joke.

what a joke.

GranthamSux
0
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GranthamSux 04/19/07 - 11:59 am
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To all who adore Scott and

To all who adore Scott and are disgusted at what the Grantham crowd did to the course and FHGC: Strict PGA Code of Ethics where broken when, and I quote DonGrantham, "...talks began in early March" with David Usry. The PGA Code of Ethics state that one PGA Member (David Usry) cannot talk about or negotiate for a position being held by another PGA Member (Scott Allen) without the current job holder (Scott Allen) knowing about the discussion or the job being officially posted as vacant. The story says that "Allen was surprised by his ouster at a meeting Monday". The facts then are: Scott Allen was suddenly, and without warning or notice, ousted on Monday 4/16 while David Usry was discussing taking over his position in mid-March. The PGA will not stand for this behavior. I have retired from the business and live in the surrounding area now. You, the golfing public, have the control to make this known and changed.
Show Don Grantham that he and his Augusta Country Club snobs are not above the rules and that they indeed do NOT run the show. Call the PGA today. The Georgia Section office is 678-461-8600.
Also, I would encourage you to re-read darr350's remarks above.

darr350
2
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darr350 04/19/07 - 01:18 pm
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Sir, Augusta C.C. surly does

Sir, Augusta C.C. surly does think that they are above the rules, they believe that they can make the rules and what Mr. Grantham has done just proves the point.GranthamSux is exactly right if this article is fact, which I,m sure it is, David Weston would not write fiction, it is against the PGA of America Ethics Code to do what he did. Unfortunatly, nothing will come of this because it really affects no one personally but Mr. Scott. His complaints will just come off as sour grapes. So after a little fuss, life will go on as usual, Mr Scott will light somewhere else and those members will be glad to get him and Mr. Usry will stay at FH with his friend, Mr.Grantham until Grantham tires of him as other clubs in the area have over the years.Grantham and his Augusta CC friends ego's will grow bigger because the have made the rules again. It would be my hope that the members go elsewhere and they can plant turnups there. They would not have much sight prep work to do. Let D Usry tend the farm.

joejoe
0
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joejoe 04/19/07 - 02:01 pm
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It is a shame to read some of

It is a shame to read some of the negative comments concerning David Usry in the above e-mails. David has done a tremendous amount for golf in this community. He is very professional and I can assure you that he has not broken any Code of Ethics with the PGA. The person in the e-mail above does not know the whole story and doesn't need to comment until he does. This is how rumors get started. It seems to me, based on David Westin's article today, that all David Usry is trying to do is make Forest Hills a better place for the golfers and the community. I wish we had more positive people like David in this community.

joejoe
0
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joejoe 04/19/07 - 02:12 pm
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Speaking of sour grapes, it

Speaking of sour grapes, it looks to me as if darr350 has a lot of them. I wonder how this person would feel if they were being attacked personally by someone who evidently doesn't have all of the facts. All we can do is pray for people like this.

dandydon1946
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dandydon1946 04/19/07 - 02:44 pm
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Don Grantham and the powers

Don Grantham and the powers that be, behind the scenes at Forest Hills, have made a miserable mess of not only the fine golf course they destroyed, but to cast blame on Scott Allen is criminal. Having grown up playing Forest Hills for the past fifty years I'm heartbroken over what they have done. I"ll not darken their doorstep ever again. Scott is a good, honorable person that deserves far better than what Don Grantham has handed him. If Grantham wants to move in "another direction" he should do Augusta a favor and move to Detroit Michigan, the armpit of America.

shivas
2
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shivas 04/19/07 - 02:55 pm
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The only thing more

The only thing more disgusting than the facts of this firing and the narcissm of Don Grantham, is the lack of intestinal fortitude and silence from the powers of ASU. This country club committee has now succeeded in butchering our course as well as the reputation of one of the finest indivduals who has been at its service. FInally, Usry may not have violated any policies of the USGA, but he certainly has violated the code of honor. This is the person to save FHGC?

dawgrific
0
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dawgrific 04/19/07 - 03:18 pm
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I would not be surprised if

I would not be surprised if "golfer" is not Usry himself, or a family member. This whole situation stinks to high heaven, and we all know that this was nowhere near a mutual decision. Grantham is a lying, two-faced scumbag, and the
personality-less Usry should have his PGA status stripped for the blatant ethics violation that he has committed. As an ASU Alum, and a soon-to-be ex-Birdie-Club member, I will ABSOLUTELY not contribute another dime to the college or ANYTHING having to do with the golf course. Scott Allen has obviously been made a scapegoat here, and I would hope that since David Westin can't the the story straight, that the Metro Spirit will truly investigate and expose the entire, sorry, story. Thanks Dobber for your 15 years of hard work and dedication, and be sure, you are BY FAR the biggest man of all involved in this.

godsglorygirl
0
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godsglorygirl 04/19/07 - 03:25 pm
0
0
Someone has gotten it all

Someone has gotten it all wrong I see! David Usry did a great job while he was at NACC. It is really a shame that someone like this person (darr350) could atttack him for no reason at all but to make him look bad! SHAME ON YOU!!!!!(DAR350)!

JOE1
0
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JOE1 04/19/07 - 05:01 pm
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This whole situation stinks.

This whole situation stinks. Scott Allen did the best job he could have done under the circumstances. Don Granthum and David Usry are the reason this FIRING happened. I know for a fact that David Usry lobbied for this job. That is a direct violation of the ethics associated with being a PGA professional. Mr. Usry should be banned from the PGA and Mr. Granthum should resign his position from the AGA. Also, where is ASU on this. We have heard nothing from the Athletic Director or the President of the University. I think it is obvious that they had no input on this decision. I am completely appalled and I will never play golf at Forest Hills again. DOBBER, thaks so much for your dedication to Forest Hills.

GranthamSux
0
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GranthamSux 04/19/07 - 05:37 pm
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Attention golfer and

Attention golfer and northagustanative: You need to read Article II of the PGA Constitution. Usry and Grantham in discussing Usry's replacement of Scott Allen before Mon 4/16 is indeed a clear violation of the PGA Code of Ethics. golfer, before type "I can asssure you he has violated no Code of Ethics with the PGA.", be certain there are no PGA Members/Life Members like me reading this information. You obviously are not associated with the PGA and you obviously do not understand what has already been put into motion even as a type. Mr. Usry should expect to hear from the GA PGA Exec Director and then the GA PGA Section Bd of Inquiry. This is a serious violation and has been put into motion. What is a shame is that the PGA will strip Mr. Usry of his PGA Membership and nothing can be done to the real problem here which is Don "Slick&Slimey" Grantham and all of his snobby cronnies over at Augusta CC who run FHGC and the rest of Augusta like it is his play thing.
For once you can make a difference! Don't just sit there and complain, call the Georgia PGA Section at 678-461-8600. Doesn't FHGC deserve better than someone who violates PGA ethics? You must call the GA-PGA!

GranthamSux
0
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GranthamSux 04/19/07 - 05:45 pm
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For Augusta, for Forest Hills

For Augusta, for Forest Hills Golf Club, for all of the memories we all have created on the ORIGINAL Forest Hills Golf Course, I urge you to call the Georgia PGA Exec Director and alert him to the article in today's paper, alert him to the timing of Mr. Grantham's interview's with Mr. Usry, and alert him that a wrong has been done.
Then, call the Augusta Chronicle, call all four television stations, and call 10 people you know.
There is always a "straw that broke the camel's back" and this could very easily be it. We are all tired of Augusta being treated like this by people like Don Grantham. Let this be the watershed moment that we take Augusta back, take FHGC back, and return both to the dignity they deserve.
Enough is clearly enough.

Doesn't our beloved FHGC and the reputation of golf in Augusta which a reputation that goes well beyond the Aug Natl, doesn't Augusta and the reputation of Augusta deserve better than someone who blatantly breaks PGA Code of Ethics rules?

Will you be able to look your playing partners in the face on the first tee next time if you do NOTHING!

Call first thing Friday morning. 678-461-8600

Do it for our golfing tomorrows!

GranthamSux
0
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GranthamSux 04/19/07 - 05:45 pm
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For Augusta, for Forest Hills

For Augusta, for Forest Hills Golf Club, for all of the memories we all have created on the ORIGINAL Forest Hills Golf Course, I urge you to call the Georgia PGA Exec Director and alert him to the article in today's paper, alert him to the timing of Mr. Grantham's interview's with Mr. Usry, and alert him that a wrong has been done.
Then, call the Augusta Chronicle, call all four television stations, and call 10 people you know.
There is always a "straw that broke the camel's back" and this could very easily be it. We are all tired of Augusta being treated like this by people like Don Grantham. Let this be the watershed moment that we take Augusta back, take FHGC back, and return both to the dignity they deserve.
Enough is clearly enough.

Doesn't our beloved FHGC and the reputation of golf in Augusta which a reputation that goes well beyond the Aug Natl, doesn't Augusta and the reputation of Augusta deserve better than someone who blatantly breaks PGA Code of Ethics rules?

Will you be able to look your playing partners in the face on the first tee next time if you do NOTHING!

Call first thing Friday morning. 678-461-8600

Do it for our golfing tomorrows!

PurpleHaze
0
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PurpleHaze 04/19/07 - 05:48 pm
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WOW!!! Does anyone doubt

WOW!!! Does anyone doubt that we that love Forest Hills' are [filtered word]??

shivas
2
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shivas 04/19/07 - 05:58 pm
0
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Mr. Grantham, could you

Mr. Grantham, could you please respond? I am sure you are currently having drinks at the Augusta CC with your Lilly White friends, having a good laugh at how you and your spoiled lap dogs have destroyed FHGC and put a good man out of a job. ASU, where are you??????? Disgusting. By the way, Usry is a victim as well. How can he ever show his face at FHGC after putting a knife in the back of Scott. Good luck Usry, I am sure Mr. Grantham will give you 100% support!!!

dawgrific
0
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dawgrific 04/19/07 - 06:43 pm
0
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Besides demanding Mr.

Besides demanding Mr. Grantham's resignation, I am also demanding some response from President Bloodworth, AD Bryant, and coaches Gregory and Coble. Stand up and do the right thing for Scott Allen, as I can guarantee he would do the same for you! Also, members at FHGC, NOW is the time to finally stand up and be heard, as it is supposed to be YOUR golf course.

doogman
0
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doogman 04/19/07 - 07:36 pm
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Well, Well, Well. Lots of

Well, Well, Well. Lots of interesting discussion. I have been a member of an outstanding course for about 10 years. It's name is Forest Hills, in Augusta Ga. It is a place I can walk in and feel like family, we laugh together, we fight together and we cry together. This week, we have had a second deep wound to our home and family. The first wound was the redesign of a course that was simply beautiful. It only needed new greens. The second and most unacceptable was the firing of our General Manager and Club Pro, Mr. Scott Allen. I have taken action and asked for a meeting with the President of the AGA and he has accepted my request. He hopes to have this meeting on April 30th. I will be posting flyers if this is confirmed. I have also called the GA-PGA and requested a formal look at this situation. I don't know the whole story, nor do I assume to, but this was handled in a fashion that was unprofessional and unacceptable. I hope the Augusta Chronicle digs into this and really gives us the whole story, since it is a state entity and all information is public information. Scott, one thing I think that needs to be said. Keep your head high and stand proud.

dawgrific
0
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dawgrific 04/19/07 - 07:45 pm
0
0
Well Said!!!!

Well Said!!!!

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