Chairman Payne: Golf Course Will Expand Across Berckmann's

The Augusta Chronicle's Meg Mirshak details the finalized vision for shifting of Berckmann's Road to expand Augusta National Golf Club's western boundary.

The plan will be financed by the club and repaid by a once-cent tax. Mirshak writes:

The new road will be three lanes, including a center turn lane, with a sidewalk on one side. An 8-foot wide multiuse path suitable for bikes and strollers will be built on the east side of the road, Cassell said.

In the first phase, the road will be realigned and widened from Wicklow to Alexander drives. The second phase involves widening from Wheeler Road to Ingleside Drive, where a traffic circle will be built. The bridge over Rae’s Creek will also be replaced in the second phase, costing $3.7 million in addition to the cost of the road widening.

The chairman on the spectator and expansion element:

Q.  Mr. Chairman, I've read about Berckmans Road being changed by next year.  I'm just wondering if you can share with us the plans of that whole area that is out there and how that's going to change over the short period of time?

CHAIRMAN PAYNE:  Well, the short period of time is that the new road will be constructed and it will significantly improve traffic year round here, importantly, and we think as well during the tournament.

The long‑range plan, of course, since our boundary will then be extended, we will upgrade from a beautification point of view, the parking lot.  And while it will continually be maintained every year as a parking lot, it will look appropriately as though it belongs inside the fences of Augusta National.  So a significant beautification project.

The buried lede in Chairman Payne's Wednesday press conference involved the road's move and the possibility of expanding the golf course. The Chairman all but guaranteed the course will be expanded onto the area currently taken by Berckmann's Road. The fifth tee is an obvious candidate to be extended.

Q.  One more Berckmans Road follow‑up.  For people who don't realize how close the golf course comes to the road, does having that land allow you to think about expanding or doing anything to the golf course itself?

CHAIRMAN PAYNE:  Yes, through time it will, yes.