Seven miles from the Augusta National, the city of North Augusta offers plenty for Masters visitors in the CSRA and reaps some benefits from the tourism, too.
Rick Meyer, North Augusta director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, said CAA Sports out of Jacksonville, Florida is one of the companies spending their Masters week in North Augusta, renting out 30-plus houses in Hammond’s Ferry, as well as renting out Boeckh Park for their hospitality tent.
“It is amazing to me how many people in North Augusta rent their houses for the week and go out of town on vacation,” Meyer said.
Visitors to North Augusta aren’t just renting homes, they’re staying in hotels, including the recently-opened Crowne Plaza Hotel in Riverside Village.
Jeff Brower, general manager of the hotel, said Friday that they were brooked up even before this week, mentioning youth basketball tournaments that have recently taken place in North Augusta.
"We have been fully committed and see stronger business than normal because of the influx of other travelers," Brower said.
The Crowne Plaza isn’t the only thing in Riverside Village that attracts tourists during events such as the Masters. North Augusta Mayor Bob Pettit mentioned Southbound Smokehouse, the restaurants inside the hotel, and the Hootie and the Blowfish concert at SRP Park on Friday, saying they will “provide an opportunity for CSRA residents and visitors from out of town to see what I and many others are excited about.”
“All restaurants and businesses in the City will benefit from visitors drawn to our City by the attractiveness of Riverside Village. The development has always been looked at as the catalyst for growth in the downtown area and throughout the City. It's difficult to realize the official groundbreaking for the stadium occurred less than two years ago. Construction has begun for another of the planned restaurants, this one next to the hotel on what is known as Parcel G,” Pettit said.
He said the city makes a special effort to look good in the springtime. “As (City Administrator Todd) Glover likes to say, ‘People know when they enter North Augusta.’ The restaurants and businesses take special pride in their appearance and contribute to this impression,” Pettit said.
The Masters tournament doesn’t just bring visitors to the city, it also gives North Augusta residents opportunities to get involved.
“Four Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department employees take the whole week off to work in the hospitality part of the Masters. We also have a few other employees who take on second jobs at night working in the hospitality positions as well,” Meyer said.