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MUNICIPAL BOND
MICHAEL BAMBERGER
April 04, 2011
Groucho Marx famously quipped that he would never join a club that would have him as a member. So what would he have thought of The Patch? The door at this golfing institution in Augusta is open to everyone
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April 04, 2011

Municipal Bond

Groucho Marx famously quipped that he would never join a club that would have him as a member. So what would he have thought of The Patch? The door at this golfing institution in Augusta is open to everyone

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I played my first round of the year the other day at The Patch. Actually, I had two other games elsewhere. No pars. I'm not counting 'em. The Patch's real name is the Augusta Municipal Golf Course, but only the phone book is so formal about it. Its nickname comes from the vegetable and fruit garden the longtime course manager, the late Lawson (Red) Douglas, planted on the left side of the 10th hole, hard by the fence that separates the course from Daniel Field, where Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman and Sean Connery have landed their private planes.

Once, years ago, a commercial 737 landed there, the pilot getting tiny Daniel Field mixed up with the regional airport, which U.S. Air, Delta and TWA (Tiger Woods Airline) fly into. Another time a student pilot misjudged the runway, and his plane came to rest just off the 13th green. In his little rectangle of a garden next to the Daniel runway, Red Douglas grew tomatoes, watermelons and cucumbers—"nothing that wouldn't be sightly," his son Lawson told me. If you take Gordon Highway to The Patch from downtown Augusta you'll go past Honey Hole (a liquor store), Augusta Repo (a mobile home sales center) and Masters Lanes (a bowling alley). If you take another route, by way of Walton Way, you'll pass a series of antebellum brick mansions, with iron gates and slate roofs. Have you ever been to Augusta? It's some place.

In the men's room near The Patch's sparse pro shop, there was a green sign above a urinal that read:

MASTER'S

WEEK

LOW LOW LOW

PRICE

$30

My afternoon no-cart green fee was $23, including a bag of amazing range balls. There was a Callaway with a red line so thick it rivaled the stripe on the Red Stripe beer bottle. There was a yellow X-out Top Flite XL. There was a gorgeous Titleist Pro V1 that I did not pocket. There were Noodles and Pinnacles and an old Maxfli Red Dot among other vintage varietals. It was like a golf ball museum.

Later, when I got to 15, I found out why. Sliced tee shots off the tee at the par-4 wind up in the driving range. Maybe you know somebody who slices. Anyway, the range is excellent, with an elevated, confidence-boosting teeing area and many patches of thriving spring grass to hit off.

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