First Tee wants to manage The Patch

News 12 First at Five / Monday, July 15, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Augusta's only public golf course could have new management soon. The nonprofit First Tee of Augusta wants the job.

Commissioners have been looking at the details and found it could cost taxpayers $2 million to make the two become one. Some commissioners also have a problem with how long the agreement would last.

The city has not had a good history when it comes to privatizing The Patch. Some are calling The Patch and First Tee a collaboration instead of privatization.

"We're just bringing them in to manage it and share costs," said Commissioner Corey Johnson.

The Patch is full of memories. Some remember the course by the high grass and off-colored greens.

Augusta Commissioner Grady Smith grew up playing the course.

"Two holes have changed since I last played it back in the 1970s," Smith said.

It's estimated that the city is losing around $200,000 a year to operate The Patch. Former Director of the First Tee of Augusta Paul Simon would like to change that.

He's proposing leaders spend around $2 million to renovate the course. The First Tee will manage it, but the city would only get half the profits.

"I've been talking with some folks about repairing the greens for half the cost we're being projected," Johnson said.

"What do we do, just let it die? It's kind of like growing plants, we have to throw a little more seed and everything out," Smith said.

Some are questioning spending those tax dollars on a golf course when employees haven't had a raise in years.


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