After 53 years, one of the last golf driving ranges inside the perimeter will disappear.
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Daniel McDonald sweeps the concrete walkway leading up to entrance of Grand Slam Golf and Baseball off North Druid Hills Road. He sports typical golfers gear, with a blue striped shirt tucked into crisp, white pants. He’s the owner of the range.
“I’ve owned it since 2005,” McDonald says. “I had a partner originally and I bought them out about four years ago.”
McDonald’s had a long history with the driving range. He started there as a golf teacher in 1984.
He says over the years a lot of famous people would come by to swing a golf club or a baseball bat.
“Mickey Mantle use to hit balls here. He’d come in the summertime,” McDonald says. “Ernie Banks used to come and sit inside with me and talk about baseball on the couch. Edwin Moses, the greatest hurdler of all time, could come here and hit balls and no one would recognize him. He loved that.”
But McDonald only owns the business, not the land it sits on. He says the property owners sold it to make way for a townhouse development.
Jeff Hamm has been a customer at the range for about 20 years. He says he’s watched the area grow with more homes and more traffic. Hamm said he’s disappointed to see the range close.
“I just like the vibe here,” Hamm says. “You know, it’s kind of low key. Not pretentious. Kind of, you know, mom-and-pop kind of thing. Homey.”
It’s a place where the owner still picks up golf balls himself. McDonald says he’s done pretty much everything that’s required to operate a driving range.
“At this point I’m almost doing it all again,” McDonald says laughing.
At least until this Sunday, when Grand Slam Golf and Baseball will close its doors for good.