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Two CSRA creatives partner on possible national business

Many retired business owners spend their days playing golf, but Ed Durant has enjoyed his “retirement” by designing larger-than-life golf tees.

Durant, the former owner of The Frame Shoppe and founder of Durant-Durant, LLC, and local artist, Cole Phail, have produced two 30-foot, 2,000-pound tees. In Dec. 2021, their first creation was unveiled at First Tee of Augusta on Damascus Road. That project took 14 months to complete.

“It was my idea and my design,” Durant said.

On Monday, their second tee, which is exactly the same weight and size as the first, was unveiled at a press conference held by Augusta University at Forest Hills Golf Club off Wrightsboro Road. It was made to commemorate the club’s 45-year history with the university’s golf teams. Unlike the first one, Durant and Phail completed this tee in about 2 ½ months.

Ed Durant and Cole Phail worked together to produce the larger-than-life golf tee.

“The first one didn’t have a time frame,” said Durant at the press conference. “This one had a time frame.”

On Saturday and Sunday, the AU women’s golf team will compete in the Valspar Augusta Invitational. The men’s team will compete in the Augusta Haskins Award Invitational on April 1 and 2. Both tournaments will be played at Forest Hills.

The tee was paid for by local businessman, Nick Evans and the Augusta University Birdie Club. Evans, an Augusta University alumnus, received a golf scholarship to play for the college.

Forest Hills will host AU women’s and men’s team competitions in the coming weeks.

Completing their finished product so quickly required a major time commitment from both Durant and Phail. They spent long hours working on the tee, which was made in Charleston and transported to the CSRA on a trailer. Phail ran into a few challenges while painting the sculpture.

“I only had two weeks to paint it,” he said. “The night before I was supposed to get started, I got food poisoning, and then I sprained my ankle.”

Phail, who also painted the James Brown mural in downtown Augusta, worked 14-16-hour days to ensure the work was completed on time.

Durant, who sold The Frame Shoppe in Oct. 2021, hopes the tees will be the first two of many he will create for colleges and First Tee chapters throughout the U.S. In Nov. 2022, he attended the non-profit organization’s Network Summit in Dallas as a vendor. First Tee, which has about 150 locations nationwide, uses golf to teach kids life and social skills.

The first tee they created was paid for by an anonymous donor.

Durant hasn’t had much downtime since he sold his business.

“I’m busier than I ever was before,” he said.

Augusta University President, Brooks Keel was one of the speakers at the press conference.

“We have a long history of collegiate golf excellence at AU,” Keel said.

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