News 12 at 6 o'clock, April 10, 2009
AIKEN CTY, S.C. --- With the golfing world here in Augusta, courses around The National are looking for big bucks, but most places aren't coming up in the green.
It's so bad at some courses, they're calling this week a disaster. That disaster is not their scores, but the lack of people hitting the fairways to play a round before heading over to The Masters.
We did catch up with Dominic Senn, an Olympian from Switzerland, who was out on The River Golf Club. We caught him blasting out of the sand trap on the first hole, one of the many shots he took this year. "It's really nice to play because there's not much traffic out here."
That of course is good for him to play a nice and easy round. But, it's not good news for Wayne Ackerson and The River. "It's the perfect storm," he says. "The economy, the weather wasn't good and it's Easter weekend. Some days have been busier than others."
Of course, on Tuesday, we had terrible weather conditions but that has since improved. But, combining the weather problems and the higher prices to hit the fairways, it is keeping some people and some of those big corporate groups off the greens.
"But, you can try to negotiate it down a little bit, everyone tries to make a deal," says Dominic.
Down Highway 1 at Midland Valley Country Club, GM Rusty Flanders says, this Masters Week is simply bad. "We haven't even come close to our expectations this year," says Rusty. "We knew it was going to be a bad Masters Week."
Rusty says he stopped relying on Masters Week years ago, but the lack of dough still hurts the budget, the course and the golfers. "Repairs... new bunkers, new things--it cuts back on that," says Rusty.
It's not all bad news in Aiken County though. The Palmetto Golf Club in Aiken says they're doing well this week and have gotten a lot of walk-on's this week.
It's bad for some businesses, but a big draw for Dominic and his friends, from across the pond. "We like it," he says. "There's more space to play and easier to get a tee time."
Wayne says the operation of The River Golf Club will not change with the lack of money. That, while Rusty says he is planning to talk to other golf courses in the area to team up to reverse this trend from the '09 Masters Week.