By Susan McCord, The Augusta Chronicle
Each year the Augusta Mayor’s Masters Reception honors individuals who’ve contributed to the game of golf. This year, the event honored three of Augusta’s own.
At an event hastily relocated to James Brown Arena due to damaging thunderstorms, Mayor Hardie Davis presented a key to the city to Laura Coble, one of the most decorated golfers in Georgia history; Bev Dolan, the co-founder of E-Z-GO; and Jeff Knox, the noncompeting marker who rivals the pros when called on to play in a Masters Tournament.
“I grew up in Augusta and this is my hometown and I love it here,” said Coble, a 2013 Georgia Golf Hall of Fame inductee and the only three-time winner of the Tommy Barnes Award, given to the Georgia State Golf Association’s player of the year. “I can only hope that I can bring honor to the game that I love,” she said.
Dolan, 89, described founding the golf cart manufacturer with his brother, Billy, on Greene Street in 1954 before relocating it to Grovetown, then to the current headquarters on Marvin Griffin Road.
Now employing 1,000 people at the location, E-Z-GO Textron continues to expand, he said. “You’re going to see E-Z-GO really grow into one of our major manufacturers here in Augusta,” Dolan said. “I am very proud of E-Z-GO and what it has stood for in this community.”
Knox, raised in Thomson and head of the Knox Foundation, said golf has had a huge impact on the city’s economy.
“You just heard it there, with E-Z-GO, and Club Car, and so many others, the Masters golf tournament, and so many benefactors that have helped the city of Augusta,” he said. “I look forward to continuing the promotion of Augusta through my golf and civic duty,” Knox said. “Thank you, mayor, and thank you, Augusta, for this terrific recognition.”
Another golf legend, Arnold Palmer, was honored Monday with artist Jace McTier’s unveiling of two paintings. McTier recalled his first encounter at age 15 with Palmer, who died Sept. 25, at the 1996 Masters. “The interaction between Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Palmer was unbelievable,” McTier said.“It was one of those Augusta moments.”
Several dozen vendors relocated to the arena from Augusta Common to serve free samples that are part of the reception, which cost $10 to enter.
Ethan Brock, with Summerville Ace, said the crowd was better than he expected. “I’m very impressed they managed to put this together so quickly, considering the weather,” Brock said.
Reach Susan McCord at (706) 823-3215 or firstname.lastname@example.org. ❂