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Good News: Congaree Global Golf Initiative

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 5:38 PM EDT
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JASPER CO., S.C. (WTOC) - The Congaree Golf Club has received international acclaim for creating a great golf course and even more praise for helping create opportunities for kids from all around the world to go to college.

Until recently, PGA Tour careers would not start at a place like Congaree. Because until recently, there was no place like Congaree.

“To take 36 kids and put them in college and to make sure they are all getting their just desserts in college is a huge undertaking,” said Bruce Davidson.

And that’s what Congaree Golf Club does each year in a schoolhouse on its property through its Congaree Global Golf Initiative, a college prep program for young people from all around the world who have an interest in playing and working in golf.

“We have from Kenya, Brazil, Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago, Sweden, England, Ireland Scotland, the kids are on site for a week and it’s very intense. It’s a preparatory week. It starts at 6 o’clock in the morning with calisthenics and TPI fitness.”

But the program on the grounds of an elite golf course is about more than golf.

“It’s primarily academic. Some of these kids will be the first in their families who have gone to college. We have an academic advisor, they do SAT testing, prepping, application letters. So, at the end of the week, we equip them to make their own application to college. We don’t do it for them. We teach them to fish, so to speak, etiquette.”

And getting kids to college is both more likely and more important to the program.

“The harsh reality is less than one percent of NCAA Division I golfers actually go on to make a living playing golf. So, we explain that to the point where they’re tired of us saying it. but get a degree, get a degree, get a degree. We have a network of ambassadors who will help these kids and give them jobs. So many kids go to college and come out of college and can’t get a job. We’re trying to ensure that these kids get placed.”

And ensure better futures through golf.

“We think we’re very unique. We’re the only club doing what we do and it’s very rewarding, not only for them but for everyone involved.”

Several graduates of the CGGI will be back at Congaree this weekend and will serve as honorary observers walking inside the ropes at the Palmetto Championship.

And then, the day after the tournament, this year’s class shows up on the property.

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