James Hatsis isn’t a golfer but, boy, does he love the game.
That’s because about 90% of the business he gets at his FBO, Oconee Air Service at Greene County Regional Airport (3J7) in Greensboro, Georgia, is made up of golfers.
The airport, located between Atlanta and Augusta, is a destination for pilots from all around the world. “On any given day, we have more foreign aircraft than U.S.-registered aircraft on the ramp,” says Hatsis. Many of them are ferrying business executives, who make any one of the eight surrounding golf courses and resorts their destination.
The reputation of those courses is what attracts pilots with clubs in their baggage compartments, says Hatsis. Top destination is Cuscowilla, a 700-acre resort and residential community on the banks of Lake Oconee. Cuscowilla’s course is #45 on Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 greatest public golf courses, while Golfweek named it #1 on the list of best residential golf courses in America for 2004 and 2005.
The resort attracts a lot of corporate business from the Atlanta area and throughout the southeastern U.S., notes Elaine Harris, marketing assistant. It also attracts a lot of foreign guests, she says, noting that the resort’s owners are German, while the CEO is from England.
The resort is putting together a “stay and play” package especially designed for pilots. Harris suggests calling the resort at 800-458-5351 for details, making sure to mention The Southern Aviator to get the discount.
Fly a helicopter? Harris pointed out the resort has a helicopter pad. Coordinates are latitude N33° 24′ 23″, longitude W83° 15′ 3.5″.
Besides Cuscowilla, pilots flying into 3J7 also head to the nearby Harbor Club and the new Ritz-Carlton to golf. “Those are the three big ones,” Hatsis says.
The FBO has added more baggage carts to help unload planes. It also has made arrangements with local transportation companies for limousines to take golfers to the course of their choice.
For more information: 706-453-7008.