News 12 First at Five, April 5, 2010
AUGUSTA---Lots of Masters fans bring their golf clubs to town with them to hit the links on local courses. Time spent at the course is keeping business booming for some Aiken County clubs.
Local golf club owners say they're using the Masters as a way to make some serious money.
"This week we'll have championship committee for the RNA, PGA rules guys, and people from all over the world," said Tom Moore of the Palmetto Golf Club.
Moore says Masters Week is the only time his club is open to the public. He says playing anywhere between 800 to a thousand golfers in one week with group rates as high as $700 means they make more money during Masters than any other month in the year.
Over at the River Golf Club, the moneymaking story's the same.
"It is an opportunity for us to generate some revenue which helps us maintain the course, which is great all year round and hopefully makes some capital improvements," said Chris Verdery.
And with people coming from as far away as New Zealand and China to hit local courses before the Tournament, it's also a time for the courses to show off all they have to offer.
"It's beautiful," said Robert Osinoff, visiting Augusta from Washington, DC. "We had friends who said it was a neat course, and they asked if we would play some of the divets they took out months ago...so we've got a job ahead of us. It's a beautiful course, a beautiful day and we don't have to work."
"A lot of the people come here year after year, and you make friendships, and it's good to see them come back," Moore said.
While the golfers see their time at the tee as play, local courses see it as a way to cash in and keep business going. Casual golfers and pros alike keep the money flowing in.
Courses in the Augusta area are also making more money this week. News 12 talked to people at the Augusta Municipal Golf Course, also known as The Patch.
Interim manager Ed Howerton says they bring in an extra ten to 15 percent during Masters Week. Howerton says people from Australia, New York, Canada, and Europe have all paid the $34 fee for 18 holes.
The Municipal Golf Course is also the home of the Adaptive Golf Tournament, held every Monday of Masters Week.