The Tuscaloosa City Council will begin preliminary discussions about extensive expansions at Ol' Colony Golf Course that could eventually see nine new holes added to the space.

Brion Hardin, a construction specialist who sits on the board of the Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority, will lead a presentation to the council's finance committee Tuesday afternoon.

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The course was the dream of PARA legend Jerry Belk, and with financial support from the cities of Tuscaloosa and Northport and the Tuscaloosa County Commission, an 18-hole course designed by PGA Champ Jerry Pate opened in December 2000.

Demand for the facility has been high since it opened, and after several rounds of improvements there in the last two decades, it's at an all-time high.

"Ol' Colony is home to the University's golf programs, women and men, seven high school golf teams, four middle school teams, TJGA Junior Tour, Crossing Points Program (Special Olympics), UCP's newly formed group, and Shelton State Golf Programs," Ol' Colony Golf Director John Gray said in a proposal to the council. "We also do 28-30 charity events each year raising over $1,000,000 for local charities. From March to October, we have a steady stream of patrons playing over 33,000 rounds annually."

Gray said the course is "maxed out," with nowhere to put additional rounds and events.

"When we have an event with 100 players, which happens 28-30 times a year, we must close the course to the public and deny the taxpayers the opportunity to play," Gray wrote.

Ol' Colony also reportedly turned away three multi-day events and more than a dozen charity events because of a lack of capacity on the course.

"An additional nine would give us the opportunity to stay open and let people play while we fix nine and rotate so we will have uninterrupted access to make the repairs and still allow players the opportunity to play," Gray wrote. "Ol' Colony was built for our community through the visions of some of Tuscaloosa's great development leaders and has been funded by our tax base for 22 years."

"As Tuscaloosa, Northport and Tuscaloosa County continue to grow we need to grow with them," Gray said.

City councilman Norman Crow, who represents the north Tuscaloosa district that houses the course, said any commitment to spending municipal funds on expanding the course will require a due-diligence study, and authorizing that study will be the committee's focus Tuesday.

For updates on these discussions as they progress, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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