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Augustine will get makeover

The new owners of the Augustine Golf Club plan to close the Stafford County course for months to restore it to its prior condition.

An ownership group including Raspberry Golf Management bought Augustine this past Wednesday for $2.75 million. The course will close after this weekend, and a restoration project that will run into the seven figures will start Monday.

When it reopens depends on the weather, said Steve Clark, a partner in Raspberry Golf Management. If Mother Nature cooperates the course could open for July 4. If not, it might be into August.

Raspberry Golf Management operates and is a part-owner in four other courses–Raspberry Falls in Leesburg, Old Hickory in Woodbridge, Bull Run in Hay-market and Royal Manchester in Mount Wolf, Pa. Those courses and four other clubs, including Cannon Ridge in Stafford, are part of the Raspberry Golf Trail.

The management group also includes LaMott Smith, Bob Swiger and Pat McGuire. The Van Metre Cos., which is based in Burke, is also an investor in the group’s courses. Clark will be director of operations at Augustine, a title he also holds at the group’s other courses.

Clark said the group has been eyeing Augustine for a while. Designed by Rick Jacobson, Augustine was considered one of the best public courses in the state when it opened in the 1990s. It’s lately fallen on hard times, and playing conditions have deteriorated.

Tim Freeland, who has worked closely with Hall of Fame golfer Gary Player, will be the lead architect on the restoration project. Freeland has handled other projects for Raspberry Golf Management. Clark said a decision was made to rebuild Augustine and open back up with a new product. The clubhouse will also be restored.

“We think Augustine has always been a great golf course,” Clark said. “It has a great layout and will have great conditions.”

The new owners will honor the membership terms of existing members at Augustine, Clark said. The memberships will be on hold during the renovation, and monthly memberships will be available at Raspberry Golf’s other courses.

Raspberry Golf Management runs a golf academy, and Clark said there will be ample instruction offered at Augustine. He said greens fees at the course are yet to be determined.

The new owners purchased the course from Augustine Golf Club LLC, which bought it for $8.53 million in July 2008, according to Stafford property records. Si Jun Lee was that LLC’s manager and sole member, according to the deed recorded Thursday.

Source: www.fredericksburg.com

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