How A Once Obsolete Golf Course Has Been Re-Designed To Grow The Game
- Category: Inside Golf
- Published: 2019-10-17
By MIKE BUTEAU, National Golf Foundation
When retired Atlanta attorney Marty Elgison set out to renovate the city’s long-ignored Bobby Jones Golf Course, he instead may have reinvented the model for how public golf courses can operate.
Elgison is the attorney for the heirs to Bobby Jones, the legendary American amateur golfer who co-founded Augusta National Golf Club and was one of the most influential figures in the game’s history. Elgison has spent most of the past decade working to rebuild the neglected course, squeezed into just 128 acres in the heart of Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. The Bobby Jones Golf Course was the first public golf course in Atlanta when it opened in 1932, a tribute to one of the greatest golfers of all time, but like many urban golf facilities, it fell on hard times.
“It was bad,” Elgison said of the original shoehorned 18-hole layout, which was run (not very well) by the city of Atlanta. “It was dangerous. There were blind shots all over the place. It was in horrible condition. It cost just 25 bucks to play it and I didn’t want to pay to play it. It wasn’t worth the 25 bucks.
“The family lore is that (Jones) played here once and did not really think much of the course and didn’t want it named after him, but he felt it would be bad form to say no.”
If Jones was alive to see his course now, he would most certainly feel differently.