Tucked away in Ridgeland, South Carolina, the groomed fairways and sandy soil of the Congaree Club is getting a moment in the sun.
“You hear so many things about places and most of them don’t deliver,” said pro golfer Lucas Glover. “This one delivered.”
The world-renowned golf club will host the PGA Tour’s Palmetto Championship in June, just four years after its 2017 opening.
“The fact that it was named Best New Private Golf Course in 2018 and the best golf course built in the decade from 2010 to 2019 speaks for itself,” said PGA executive vice president Ty Votaw.
At Congaree, the course serves as a means to an end for the real purpose of the club: a two-week intensive program called the Congaree Global Golf Intiative, which gives economically disadvantaged kids from all over the world a chance to learn both golf skills and life skills.
“We’re telling these kids ‘it’s going to be good, it’s going to be comfortable, we’re going to get you a scholarship, you’re going to be successful. Be confident,’” said golf director Bruce Davidson.
Davidson is a living testament to how much the game can change lives.
He came to the states for college from a background similar to most of the kids he now instructs.
“When you come from a wee village in Scotland with 2,000 people and you go to Houston, Texas which had two million people, that’s a big culture shock,” Davidson said. “To navigate a different society and get thrown into the deep end with a college system you don’t understand, it can be sink or swim.”
Most Congaree kids have done the latter, getting more than $2 million combined in college scholarships in just a few years.
“What I’ve always learned from being around kids and golf is I learn more from them than they learn from me,” Glover said. “I’m always trying to play like a kid again and have fun and try not to take it so serious.”
Playing like the kids and for the kids: a principle by which Congaree lives.