July 26, 2021

Constructed by billionaires, Congaree has only 1 member but a grand objective

4 min read

Congaree Golfing Club is web hosting its to start with PGA Tour party this week.

Edward C. Robison III/Courtesy Congaree

Congaree is a spectacular golf course, 1 of the ideal in South Carolina, and this week it gets its first ever PGA Tour celebration, the Palmetto Championship. That is big, but which is not the sole goal of this tale — or the club. Significantly from it.

Congaree Golfing Club opened in 2017 in Ridgeland, S.C., the brainchild of billionaire businessmen Dan Friedkin and the late Bob McNair. They experienced a vision for much more than just 18 excellent golf holes built by Tom Fazio, so they founded the club’s charitable arm, the Congaree Basis, which is headlined by the Congaree Global Golf Initiative. The latter is a collegiate preparatory application for underserved higher schoolers who aspire to enjoy higher education golf.

One 7 days is not likely to adjust their lives, but it’s that week with the two several years following that variations their lives.

Bruce Davidson, Congaree Director of Golfing

Via the Congaree World Golfing Initiative, 36 pupils all-around the age of 16 shell out a 7 days on web site more than the summer doing work with the club’s bevy of experts in an hard work to prepare themselves to conquer the lots of obstacles of playing collegiate athletics.

“That’s our stated purpose, to give young ones instructional and vocational prospects,” says Bruce Davidson, Congaree’s Director of Golfing, a title he shares with John McNeely. Davidson and McNeely had been the two associated in setting up the club and its packages with Friedkin and McNair. “We are seeking to get these youngsters into schools in America, exactly where they can study and receive a diploma, and at the exact same time enjoy golfing.”

The club opened with two users — its owners — and now has just one, following McNair’s passing in 2018. There are, having said that, ambassadors, outstanding figures in their respective fields and nicely-connected business styles who join by using invite only. They not only encourage the club but lend their time and money. There are far more than 200 ambassadors, as well as a further 100 or so honorary and experienced ambassadors, men like Nick Value, Tom Watson and Mark O’Meara.

“Ambassadors is a word we chose mainly because the spreading of the word and what we do with our philanthropy right here, our ambassadors actually truly are ambassadors,” Davidson states. “Not only for the club, but for golf by itself. We are very proud of them and I assume they are really proud of the club.”

The university residence at Congaree.

Edward C. Robison III/Courtesy Congaree

Learners get major-notch training even though on the grounds.

Courtesy Congaree

The inaugural World Golfing Initiative class began right away in 2017. On internet site, pupils are put via the gauntlet. They fulfill with athletic, educational and health advisors, golfing instructors, get equipped for clubs, learn how to write a university application letter and observe community speaking, among the other significant competencies.

Soon right after just one summer session ends, setting up for the up coming starts. Every Initial Tee chapter in the U.S. and each individual member nation of the Intercontinental Golfing Federation nominates a university student for Congaree’s program, and Congaree staffers sift by each individual software to obtain the most suited candidates. They’ll look into students’ monetary and family predicaments, teachers and golfing activity just before inviting the future group in for a summer.

The 7 days on web-site goes quick, but it’s the continuation that is vital. Staff members retains in contact and checks in on students to make sure they are holding up on their experiments, coaching and more.

The 15th, 16th and 17th holes at Congaree Golf Club.

Edward C. Robison III/Courtesy Congaree

“They are only here a 7 days, but they are a Congaree child, and if you are a Congaree kid and abide by your constitution, which is to do the job challenging, be great to people today and get to higher education, then we’ll support you for good,” Davidson states. “One week is not going to alter their life, but it is that week with the two years following [before they graduate high school] that modifications their lives.”

To date, 68 learners have graduated from the system, and 27 who have by now graduated from substantial faculty have obtained faculty golfing scholarships valued at approximately $2.2 million total. Eighty-five % of all graduates have attended university.

So this 7 days Congaree hosts Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and the PGA Tour. Later this summertime it will host 36 new, eager and promising pupils.

“Our ambassadors occur in here and have a fantastic time, participate in a globe-class golfing class. The foods, the accommodations, all the things is prime-class,” Davidson says. “But the vision of Mr. Friedkin was that our club was going to make a distinction in the environment of golfing and a big difference in the globe of underprivileged youngsters.”

Josh Berhow

Golfing.com Editor

Josh Berhow is the running editor at Golfing.com. The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism diploma from Minnesota Point out College in Mankato. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.

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