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Community Champions: Congaree Foundation creating access to golf for Jasper Co. kids

Updated: Feb. 10, 2021 at 11:58 AM EST
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RIDGELAND, S.C. (WTOC) - At 175 yards over water to a three-tiered green, there’s an interesting finish to the Sergeant Jasper Golf Course.

But soon, that will no longer be the best shot available there.

“Now, all the high school teams will be welcome to come here and play for free. We’re going to do everything we can to make all kids learn to play golf at Sergeant Jasper,” The Friedkin Group Golf Director Bruce Davidson said.

Opportunities are the focus of the future at the nine-hole course acquired by the Congaree Foundation in December with plans to open next month - as a daily fee facility and a training ground for local kids.

“So far in the area, we have almost 300 children taking golf at the local Ridgeland/Hardeeville High School along with the Polaris Tech Charter School, starting from zero in 2018. We built them a practice facility and a chipping green at the school. But now they’ll be able to come and learn how to play golf.”

The Congaree Foundation is supported by the exclusive Congaree Golf Club in Ridgeland and since 2018 has had the goal of providing educational and vocational opportunities to under-served areas.

“And particularly to impact positively through the game of golf the lives of young people.”

They plan to continue that work when a refurbished Sgt. Jasper course opens on March 2.

“We’ve seeded the fairways and greens. We’ve hired a superintendent and I would say give us a year or two and this place will be in really good shape. I believe in the 1960s, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus played an exhibition match here. And in fact, many local golfers have honed their games here at Sergeant Jasper, including Bryson Nimmer, who just finished college at Clemson. He learned to play here.”

That is a path the WTOC Community Champions at the Congaree Foundation hope to duplicate in the future.

“I grew up in Scotland. Golf in Scotland is accessible to all. Our owner, Mr. Friedken, has a vision to make golf accessible. The community itself will benefit from Sgt. Jasper being a viable club. I think it will be great. For all ages in this community, Sgt Jasper should be a burning light in this community.”

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