Photo of the Augusta Municipal Golf Course, or "The Patch"
Augusta, GA -
Officials with Cypress Golf Management out of Orlando Florida, were already out at the Augusta Municipal Golf Course, or "The Patch", getting the lay of the land. They see a diamond in the rough, a golf course that's not to far gone.
“No, absolutely not, there's a lot of grass in the ground here. It just needs the care that we can give it and get it back going,” said Tim Coolican, of Cypress Golf Management.
Augusta city leaders are ready to get going with the Augusta Commission Public Services Committee recommending that Cypress Golf Management operate the course for a $3,000 a month fee, and when the course beginsmaking money in three years, profits will be split with the city 70/30 in the city's favor.
“The company makes money, if we make money. I think that's a good thing, it's not like the past that we had,” says Commissioner Bill Lockett.
"I'm excited about this proposal. This company has a good history helping distressed courses get back to where they need to,” said Commissioner Mary Davis.
The company will bring its expertise in running golf courses, however the cost of operating the golf course and the company’s fee will be the responsibility of the taxpayers.
“Will your money be going to pay those employees up there now?" we asked John Fogel, who is president and COO of Cypress Golf Management. “No, no, the city is still paying for them,” said Fogel. “So, the city will pay the staff that's there now?” we asked. “Correct,” said Fogel.
Paul Simon, of First TEE of Augusta, also made a proposal to operate "The Patch" and says Commissioners should not be considering the Florida firm.“Profits that they make go out of town. Profits we make go back to the kids...not to us, to the kids,” said Simon, who asked Commissioners to reconsider.
By hiring a management firm, the city has added a $36,000 expense to the golf course budget, expected to lose more than $170,000 this year, even with Cypress Golf Management on board.
“Isn't that like an extra expense out there?" we asked August Recreation, Parks, and Facilities Department director Bob Levine. “You know what Doctor Phil says, how's that working for you? That's what we've been doing, and how's that been working?” said Levine.