News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, Oct. 5, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Augusta's Paine College is taking a swing at the golf business by setting its sights on Augusta's Patch golf course, but there is a catch. School leaders say they need more time to prepare a formal bid.
"You want the Patch to be a household name," said Paine College VP Brandon Brown. "The opportunities are endless for what we could do."
The formal bids were due today, and Paine is not on the list.
"In order for us to do it," Brown said, "we would have to have more time."
The request might not be too far fetched. The city's attempt to snag a management company was riddled with mistakes, and the shortened time frame to respond has the city considering going back out for bids to manage or purchase the course.
"Yes, we were trying to turn that around pretty quickly," said City Administrator Fred Russell. "I'm not too sure what the wisdom in that is now looking back."
Brown believes the Patch should remain the city's municipal golf course.
"We would look at how we could facilitate a management team," Brown said. "The municipal golf course means something. It means that some in the community that are under-served have the ability to go play golf."
We spoke to golfers earlier in the week who were pleased with the new lower rates that went from $34 to $20 for 18 holes of golf.
"Affordable golf has to be a part of the conversation if it is to be protected by the taxpayers," Brown said.
Paine Golf Coach Herman Belton is already interim manager at the course.
"Any time you have something first-class," Brown said, "Paine wants to be a part of it."
The college is now making a play to move in full time.
"Yes. We are very interested with the opportunities," Brown said. "But time is something we would have to have more of."
Brown says the college needs time to complete a feasibility study. Commissioner Corey Johnson is leading a charge to go back out for proposals on the project.