Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and The Masters Tournament, outlined a new ‘model for communities’ set-up to provide affordable public golf access and create employment opportunities for Augusta residents.
Speaking ahead of the 87th Masters Tournament, Ridley detailed how Augusta National will work with Augusta Technical College and The First Tee of Augusta to improve local facilities and teach the game and its values to children, and community members of all backgrounds.
The program will be based at the Augusta Municipal Course, known locally as “The Patch,” which is located less than five miles from Augusta National Golf Club.
“This initiative offers a unique opportunity to contribute to two areas of utmost importance to Augusta National’s mission, our community and golf development,” Ridley said.
“While in its early stages, this partnership can help produce the next generation of golf’s workforce and make the game more accessible and inviting to youth and residents throughout the community. I commend Augusta Technical College, The Patch, The First Tee of Augusta and all leaders involved in this project, and we look forward to supporting their partnership and this exciting new chapter for public golf here in our city.”
Augusta Tech’s golf course management and workforce programs will be relocated to ‘The Patch’ and assume responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the 18-hole golf course by 2025.
Augusta National says it will assist in the planning and execution of the partnership’s vision, including master planning the renovation of the historic pay-and-play course, which opened in 1928. The partnership will also redevelop the nearby First Tee of Augusta training facility.
It is the first time that Augusta’s neighbouring golf facilities have aligned their interests in order to develop the grassroots sport and elevate access to affordable facilities. Augusta National Golf Club says the partnership can be a ‘model’ for other private-public partnerships to develop equitable access to golf.