First Tee Patch Plan Panned - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

First Tee Patch Plan Panned

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It's an idea some city leaders are ready to swing at, getting The Patch in play.

"We're the golf capital of the world so we need to keep it what city wouldn't want to have a golf course especially Augusta, Augusta is known for golf," says Commissioner Marion Williams.

Paul Simon, of First Tee, let Augusta Commissioners know at a work session Monday his plan for the Augusta Municipal Golf Course, also known as "The Patch". He says First Tee will operate the city golf course, and it will make money in three years, but the city will need to do a $2 million  renovation of the course.

"We don't have the money you're talking about, for what's needed in this proposal," says Commissioner Mary Davis.

Under Simon's plan, the city would be responsible for all losses at the golf course.

The two golf operations would share some workers and materials, with the city of Augusta paying 75 percent of the costs. But, what bothers some Commissioners is that if the course makes money after renovations, profits would be split 50-50. 

"I disagree with splitting the profits 50-50. We going to put up all the money, we might as well do it ourselves," says Williams.

Simon told Commissioners that, under First Tee management, the course could make more than $300,000, three years after the course is renovated.

"Sure, I'm skeptical. Like I said, those are very optimistic numbers, I feel," says Davis.

Though the city would be putting up the big numbers getting the course in shape and funding the operation, City Administrator Fred Russell says it would be an investment that helps The Patch, First Tee, and the entire city of Augusta because it helps the kids.

"Part of the investment that they get goes back into our community. It's not going into the pocket of somebody who lives in Timbuktu. At this particular point in time, it's going back into a nonprofit that helps our youth," said Russell.

Commissioners said they want a different profit sharing arrangement, saying up to $100,000, it could be 50-50, but at $200,000 thousand or more, the city should get 65 percent of the profits. There's no word on when the city will vote on the proposal.

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