2022 Congaree Global Golf Initiative prepares students for collegiate success

June 16, 2022

This month, the sixth edition of the Congaree Global Golf Initiative drew 24 students to the South Carolina Lowcountry to hone their skills on the course and in the classroom.

The 2022 class of Congaree Kids traveled from 11 states, Canada, and Costa Rica, for intensive academic and athletic training as they pursue their goal of playing collegiate golf. This group of students were among the most accomplished to come through CGGI since the program’s inception, arriving with an average GPA of 3.9 and USGA handicap under 1.

The program had a major impact on Marcus Leonard, a rising senior from Atlanta, GA.

“This week has meant so much to me. It’s impacted my life, not so much in my golf game, but me as a better person,” Marcus said. “I want to simply say thank you, but I don’t even think that does it justice.”

Marcus is the third student from Atlanta to attend CGGI and was joined in the 2022 class by Haven Ward. Fellow Atlantan AJ Ford was a member of CGGI’s 2018 class and has gone on to have a successful collegiate career at North Carolina A&T.

Congaree Global Golf Initiative students at Congaree Golf Course on Friday, June 3, 2022 in Ridgeland, South Carolina.

Rising junior Karlie Campbell was initially apprehensive about traveling to Congaree from her hometown of Ethridge, Tennessee, but quickly settled in and felt at home in the Lowcountry.

“At first, I was a little nervous coming, just because I’ve never flown on a plane before and I’ve never been to a golf camp or anything so I didn’t really know what to expect,” Karlie said. “The people here just make you feel welcome, and it’s just a good atmosphere. To feel like you’re at home and to meet the people I did, to create the best memories, this is something I’ll never forget.”

Karlie is the third student from Ethridge to graduate from CGGI, and she was excited to share advice with future Congaree Kids.

“My advice is to make the most of the experience. It’s something that you’ll never forget,” Karlie said. “Like the speakers that we had said, ‘golf is what you do, not who you are.’ I think that’s a really big message that each kid should understand, especially at the age they are now.”

While the students learned valuable lessons during their week at Congaree, their relationship with CGGI has just begun. The program’s golf instructors, admissions experts and academic advisors will spend the next several years working closely with these students to help them earn valuable scholarships to achieve their collegiate goals.

Congaree Foundation is also excited to announce that CGGI is not finished for the year. For the first time, a third week of programing will be hosted at Archerfield Links in Scotland this July. The international location breaks down transportation barriers for students from Europe and Africa, allowing an additional 12 students from seven countries to attend.

The full list of 2022 CGGI participants can is below. You can learn more the Congaree Foundation and how to support its mission: How to Help

Congaree Golf Club Participants (May 29-June 12)

DJ Belcher – Simpsonville, South Carolina – 2024
Jeremiah Bianchi – Davenport, Florida – 2024
Karlie Campbell – Ethridge, Tennessee – 2024
Lane Carr – Medina, Tennessee – 2024
Taylor Davis – Salem, Virginia – 2024
Enrico Diaz – San Francisco, California – 2023
Kaylee Dwyer – Mokena, Illinois – 2024
Caroline Gilreath – Roanoke, Virginia – 2023
Jacob Harnden – Grafton, Ontario – 2024
Jamal Hutchison – Fletcher, North Carolina – 2023
Sawyer Klein – Denver, Colorado – 2023
Kayla Lee – Tampa, Florida – 2023
Marcus Leonard Jr. – Atlanta, Georgia – 2023
Krystal Li – Richmond Hill, Ontario – 2023
Elias Mardeni Jr. – Jaco, Costa Rica – 2023
Isaiah Marseille – Linden, New Jersey – 2023
Jaeya Mathis – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – 2023
Chase Matthew McLaughlin – Kernersville, North Carolina – 2024
Peyton Ogle – Signal Mountain, Tennessee – 2023
Jeep Patrick – Hilton Head Island, South Carolina – 2024
Jones Saylor – Bluffton, South Carolina – 2023
Robert Thompson – Charlotte, North Carolina – 2023
NaShawn Tyson – Stuart, Florida – 2023
Haven Ward – Atlanta, Georgia – 2023

Scotland Participants (July 24-30)

Janneman Brand – Windhoek, Namibia – 2023
Prim Chikwaya – Harare, Zimbabwe – 2023
Abderahmane Fakori – Mohammedia, Morocco – 2024
Declan Fraser – Nairn, Scotland – 2023
Jake Johnston – Edinburgh, Scotland – 2023
Callum Kenneally – Duns, Scotland – 2023
Rachel Mackinlay – Amersham, England – 2023
Jack Mann – Ross Shire, Scotland – 2024
Todd Parker – Windhoek, Namibia – 2023
Edoardo Tadini – Stresa, Italy – 2023
Kristian Tsurtanov – Sofia, Bulgaria – 2024
Connor Wills – Ayr, Scotland – 2023


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