Historic Bowden Golf Course is set to undergo $340,000 in renovations and upgrades to its greens, and a public information session will be held in the Clubhouse (3111 Millerfield Road) there on March 12 at 6:00 p.m.Funding for the improvements comes from the voter-approved Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).
Staff and partners will present to golfers and other interested parties about the changes they can expect to see, what the estimated timeline for the project will be, and how this will improve the overall golfing experience. It will also provide people a chance to ask questions and provide ideas.
The project includes a complete renovation of the greens and tees, and most of the bunkers. The Course will have a much more consistent putting surface, and many of the current problems (bare spots, drainage, etc.) will be addressed.
“This will make Historic Bowden Golf Course comparable to other courses around the region, something we have struggled with over the years, and now it’s possible thanks to the SPLOST,” says Brandon Doles, General Manager of Golf. “We want people to come out Monday and learn more about what we’ve already done to improve the Course, and how excited we are for its future.”
The project is expected to begin in early April, with a Grand Re-opening of the course near July 4, 2018. For the first part of the project, 9 holes will be closed and reshaping will begin; after those first 9 are reshaped, the driving range and the other 9 will be closed down. Once the second 9 holes are closed, then the entire course will be shut down for the duration of the project. The project timeline is dependent, in part, on the weather, and Brandon Doles, General Manager of Golf for the Course, would like to reopen to golfers before the Grand Re-opening in July.
“This is just one of the pieces of the puzzle to getting Bowden Golf Course back to where our community deserves,” Doles adds. In the future, prices and fees will be updated, more kids’ activities will be offered, more benefits to membership will be offered, golf leagues for all ages will be started, and more tournaments will be hosted.
About Bowden Golf Course
In February 2015, Bowden Golf Course was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The nomination was sponsored by the City of Macon and the Macon Golf for Kids program. Since 2013, approximately $625,000 from the voter-approved Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) has been spent on improvements at Historic Bowden Golf Course.
In January 2016, the Macon-Bibb Commission set new prices for playing golf at Bowden Golf Course. An annual membership costs $600. Daily rates are $20 for Monday through Thursday play, and $25 for Friday through Sunday play. There is also a disc golf course at Bowden, and it costs $3.21 to play 18 holes.
This 18-hole public golf course was designed in 1938 by John “Dick” C. Cotton (1907-1994), a Macon professional golfer and businessman. Cotton and other local golfers approached the City of Macon about the need for a public course after the Lakeside Course in Macon closed in the mid-1930s. The mayor of Macon, Charles Bowden, agreed to assist in any way, except financially because the city had no money during the Great Depression to build golf courses. A former, but vacant, airfield in east Macon, known as Miller Field, proved to be the ideal spot to lay out an 18-hole course. With the help of Works Progress Administration (WPA) labor, equipment from various businesses throughout the city, and the sale of subscriptions to fund materials, the course was completed and opened in September 1940.