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New TOUR event will visit Congaree, a club with a mission

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New TOUR event will visit Congaree, a club with a mission

    Congaree Golf Club boasts one of the nation’s top courses and an admirable cause. Now it will host a PGA TOUR event for the first time.

    With the RBC Canadian Open being canceled due to logistical challenges related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Congaree will step in to host that week’s PGA TOUR event. The yet-to-be-named tournament will be conducted June 10-13, the week preceding the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Club in San Diego, California.

    The information was announced to players in a memo Tuesday, and reported by Golf Digest.

    Congaree, a Tom Fazio design, is located in Ridgeland, South Carolina, about 30 minutes north of Savannah, Georgia. The club will debut at No. 39 in Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses when those rankings are released in May. Congaree, which opened in 2017, was voted Golf Digest’s “Best New Private Course” in 2018, as well as being named the best golf course built during the decade of 2010-19.

    The announcement brings the total of PGA TOUR events held in the state of South Carolina to three. The new event at Congaree will be joined by the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head the week of April 5-11, and the PGA of America’s PGA Championship on May 17-23. Additionally, the Korn Ferry Tour’s BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation in Greer will be held June 7-13.

    More impressive than Fazio’s design in the South Carolina Lowcountry is its charitable mission. The club opened with just two members – Dan Friedkin and the late Bob McNair, who owned the Houston Texans. Instead of members, the club invites “ambassadors” to join. These prominent figures in business and golf don’t pay much in dues. Instead, they give their time to mentorship opportunities.

    The annual Congaree Global Golf Initiative identifies dozens of high school students from around the world who have the talent to play college golf but who lack the financial or social advantage of some of their peers. They are brought to Congaree for an intense week-long program that includes a mix of educational and golf instruction, given lessons in everything from college preparation to club fitting. Congaree’s advisors and counselors aid the students through the completion of high school and into college.

    “Mr. Friedkin’s vision was for Congaree to bring together like-minded individuals who played golf, loved golf and realized a philanthropic club was a conduit to be able to make a difference in the lives of children,” says Bruce Davidson, a PGA Master Professional who now serves as Director of Golf for The Friedkin Group.

    The field will consist of 156 players, and a limited number of spectators is expected daily. All logistics and on-site preparation will be TOUR led, with support from Congaree and The Friedkin Group.

    The primary beneficiary of the tournament will be the Congaree Foundation whose mission is “to positively impact the lives of young people around the globe by providing educational and vocational opportunities through the game of golf.” The Congaree Global Golf Initiative is the foundation’s signature program. It also has local partnerships with the Lowcountry Food Bank and the Boys & Girls Club of Jasper County, and works to expand access to the game through youth golf instruction and the Sergeant Jasper Golf Club.

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