At last week's meeting of the Buckhead Business Association, members were given a chance to hear from Roxanne Smith and Robert Hughes of the the non-profit Bobby Jones Golf Course Conservancy about plans to renovate Bobby Jones Golf Course and Atlanta Memorial Park.
The Bobby Jones Golf Course and Park Conservancy is seeking to create an experience memorable for fine shots and challenging holes rather than bad sand traps and bare greens. The conservancy, which is cooperating with the , also hopes to improve the adjacent , across Northside Drive.
Back in February, Hughes told the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods that a key component will be revitalizing Peachtree Creek, which runs through the golf course, and Tanyard Creek to reduce the impact of flooding. Another key will be renovating the course's vintage clubhouse and creating a path around the golf course that unites the neighborhoods surrounding the course.
Perhaps the most interesting comments at the recent BBA meeting, though, came from golf course designer Bobb Cupp about the subject of "alternative" golf. Cupp explained that he is toying with the idea of turing Bobby Jones into a "reversable golf course," which he said he hadn't yet revealed even to either Smith or Hughes.
A reversable course, Cupp said, would allow the golfer to play a round and then reverse it and go the other way.
"You would actually have another nine holes that are totally different. This is not a new thing but it is a new and interesting possibility for Bobby Jones," he said. "Making it fun to play is the only thing that matters."
At the BCN meeting in February, Cupp had already mentioned the possibility of converting Bobby Jones from 18 to nine holes with practice green to help improve safety on the congested course. But Cupp told the BBA that the true determining factor for the radical changes will come down to revenue projections, regardless of the safety issues.
Can a course with nine holes generate as much revenue as one with 18? Cupp said he feels confident that revenue streams would be equal but that they are still waiting on information from studies currently being conducted.
As for the Memorial Park renovation, Hughes told the BBA that they are seeking to maintain it as a passive green space and not convert it into a sports field of any kind. Included in the budget is the planting of 50 trees in the first year, fixing erosion problems and ridding the park of evasive plant species, he said.
Smith said the conservancy is well on its way to making its 2012 budget, which is paying for the feasability study and the development of the master plan.
"Its the only original park in Atlanta that does not currently have a master plan," Smith said of Memorial Park.
Six south Buckhead neighborhoods (Peachtree Battle Alliance, Collier Hills North, Collier Hills, Memorial Park, Springlake and Channing Valley) formed the Bobby Jones Golf Course and Park Conservancy to help bring the well-known public golf course to the grandeur deserving of its namesake, making Memorial Park more people friendly and useful while reducing flooding in the area.
Both Hughes and Smith said they fully intend to get input from the various neighborhoods and turn it into an area they can all be proud of.