AUGUSTA — Nearly a decade after ground was broken, the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame remains an unfinished project.

Today, all that can be found on the 17-acre site is a small office and botanical gardens. But there is no hall of fame museum and staff have been asking for public donations of gardening supplies.

“We have this master plan we’ve been working on,” said Dianne King, executive director of the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame. “For about three years, we just kind of sat here operating day to day. We owe it to this community, to this state, to this organization to complete this.”

Plans to build a Georgia Golf Hall of Fame museum have been on hold for years while the needed money was collected.

Although King said the botanical gardens have brought $23 million in economic impact to the county and state since it opened in 2001, changes to the master plan have affected the hall’s coffers.

Originally, Georgia Golf Hall of Fame founders wanted to build the museum first, followed by an 18-hole golf course and then the botanical gardens, King said.

“All that changed when they realized it would take a while for the gardens to grow into their own,” she said.

The state has awarded the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame $459,172 since fiscal year 2001, although officials say the organization heavily depends on donations, sponsorships and fundraisers. The state and city government also contributed $6 million each for the construction of the hall of fame in 1994.

Mark Darnell, a former hall of fame executive director who left the organization last year, said the deficit is caused by expenses related to maintaining the botanical gardens.

In an effort to reduce annual botanical gardens expenses by $100,000, the hall of fame recently hired two landscaping employees instead of renewing its $250,000 annual landscaping contract, King said. But when the contract ended, the company removed all the landscaping equipment it kept at the botanical gardens.

Now, the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame is seeking donations of greens mowers, lawn mowers and other equipment, King said.

The organization’s new leadership is addressing issues such as cost analysis related to maintenance and cost control measures, King said. The creation of an 18-member Botanical Garden Advisory Board allows board members to oversee different aspects of the gardens, she said.

“It is a business,” King said. “It needs to operate like a business at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day.”

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