The public golf course was closed by the city despite efforts by a local trio of brothers who looked to take over the ailing property. Some members were informed of the decision while still in the middle of their rounds.
The once-popular Augusta Municipal Golf Course, known as The Patch, was quietly closed in Augusta, Ga., this week, The Augusta Chronicle reported.
City Administrator Fred Russell said the city has unspecified plans to put the lease or a management deal out for bids. The city was looking to break ties with Brian Hendry and his Scotland-based management group several monthly payments on the course’s lease agreement were missed, the Chronicle reported.
Three local brothers, Dennis, Brian and Pat Kelly, offered to take over the course if certain requests were granted, but the Augusta Commission decided not to turn management over to them, the Chronicle reported.
“We had a good alternative, but they didn’t like it,” Commissioner Joe Jackson said, referring to other commission members. Jackson said three commissioners, J.R. Hatney, Bill Lockett and Alvin Mason, did not help The Golf Course at Augusta LLC, the new firm headed by the Kellys. Jackson also suggested the city’s handling of the situation might warrant termination of top city personnel, the Chronicle reported.
Climent Gardner, a Patch member, was with a group on the 12th tee when they heard the course would be closing, the Chronicle reported.
“By the time we got to the clubhouse, there were signs that they were closed,” Gardner said. “The course [conditions] really got to the point where you could lose your ball in the middle of the fairway or in front of the green. It was really terrible. It’s something you wouldn’t believe would happen in Augusta, the home of the Masters.”
Trying to do business with the city left a bad impression with the Kelly brothers, Dennis Kelly said. He told the Chronicle they had already purchased food and equipment to prepare for the Mayor’s Cup Junior Tournament that was to be held the weekend of August 25.
“Nobody’s going to take that clubhouse, with its inoperable [air conditioning],” Kelly said. “It’s over; it’s in the hands of the politicians.”
Representatives of Club Car, which is based in Augusta, showed up at the course to take back 50 golf cars and three carry-all maintenance vehicles that had been leased to the previous management group, the Chronicle reported.
Michael Carlisle, golf coach at the University of South Carolina-Aiken and director of the Augusta Area Junior Golf Association, told the Chronicle that the closing was tough to hear about.
“It’s been a great place for people to afford to play,” he said. “This day and time, though, it may not be feasible, because every decision is made because of money. If there’s not any money to keep it open, that’s a tough one.”