As I walked the grounds of Augusta National last Saturday, I was in perpetual awe just like everybody else. If this past weekend is any indication, then the sport of golf as a whole is very, very healthy which brings me to my topic - Georgia Southern's University Park recreational development.
Located on the 167-acre tract of land formerly known as Southern Links Golf Course, University Park will be developed as a destination recreation venue given its 6.5-mile distance from the GSU's campus. As reported before, it will be anchored by an 18-hole championship golf course that will be open to the public and supplemented with complimentary recreational activities and support facilities.
At this point in time, no work has been done, but Georgia Southern has announced that it plans to begin construction in September, opening the course/facilities the following September in 2013.
Based on my research of the other institutions in Georgia's University System, Georgia Southern will be one of three public universities in the state with its own 18-hole golf course. The other two are the University of Georgia and Augusta State University.
For those of you that don't enjoy or follow golf that really doesn't sound like a very big deal, but in my humble opinion, it is. Georgia Southern is continuing to position itself as the jewel of southeast Georgia, which results in an ever increasing economic impact for this area.
A great golf course which is accessible by the public will be another reason to bring people to Bulloch County for recreation. That, in turn, results in more spending, thus more tax revenue.
When Augusta National was cut out of an old nursery in the 1930s, only Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts could envision what it might become. The economic impact of the tournament to the Augusta area is now estimated to be more than $200 million a year.
I am not saying that Georgia Southern's golf course could be the next Augusta National, but it could be a very positive sports venue for this area, and a very attractive one.
I caution you to have an imagination when you go by the facility in its current state. The course is over grown, and it does not look good, but it could be a beautiful golf course, and I bet it will be. Something tells me that it will have more than its fair share of azaleas and dogwoods.
So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.
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