RIDGELAND, S.c. (WSAV) – Take a look at Bluffton native Tessa Charest’s golf bag and you’ll see a symbol of the Congaree Golf Club in Ridgeland: a reminder of an unforgettable week.
“I wasn’t expecting to meet people from around the world and around the U.S.,” Charest said.
Charest went through the Congaree Global Golf Initiative in 2019: a seven-day crash course in golf, academics and life.
“We studied the PSAT and we took a PSAT,” Charest said, while adding that each day began at roughly 6:30 a.m. “I learned just the basics of college and what you want to look for in college. We did some exercise and then we just hit the course.”
She wasn’t the only one from the Lowcountry to speak highly of the program; Cal Harvey of Beaufort went through the CGGI the very same year, alongside people from different continents.
“I was there with people from Brazil, Scotland, Malta, all across the globe,” Harvey said. “That was really my first taste of meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds.”
The transformation on the golf course and in the schoolhouse is the most rewarding part of the job for the staff at Congaree.
“They gain this whole other level of support and this whole Congaree family by becoming a Congaree kid,” program coordinator Mary Carolyn Moore said.
Harvey now attends Babson College in Massachusetts and hopes to join the school’s golf team. Charest, who recently graduated Hilton Head Prep, plans to study radiology at Technical College of the Lowcountry and just golf for fun.
“It’s more of a relaxing thing,” Charest said. “It’s a good way to hang out with friends and get out of the house.”
Neither of them will ever forget their time at Congaree: a life-changing experience in their own backyards.