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.

Marcus Leonard Jr. Meets with advisor Lorne Kelly during 2022 CGGI.

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.”

Karlie Campbell, Kayla Lee and Kaylee Dwyer are pictured during 2022 CGGI.

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: https://congareefoundation.org/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

A student works with a golf coach during 2022 CGGI.

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


  • Forbes: Congaree’s vision as philanthropic golf club yields life-changing opportunities

  • Q&A with Congaree Professional Ambassador Tommy Fleetwood