About

Since its founding, Congaree has been hailed as one of the best new courses in America...

...but it was established to be much more than a world-class golf club.

Congaree Foundation logomark

The founders of Congaree set out to create a new philanthropic model that unites Ambassador Members with a shared purpose to positively impact the lives of young people, locally and around the globe, by providing educational and vocational opportunities through the game of golf.

The Golf Channel has called these efforts to help young people succeed academically while promoting the game of golf to the next generation...

"A new level of philanthropy on a humanitarian level."

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"A template for the future for private clubs."

Founders

Dan Friedkin

Dan Friedkin

Dan Friedkin is Chairman and CEO of The Friedkin Group, a privately held consortium of businesses and investments in the automotive, hospitality, entertainment, golf and adventure industries.

In addition to the leadership positions he holds within the business community, Dan remains highly active in wildlife conservation initiatives and various aviation and education philanthropies.

As The Friedkin Group continues to innovate and evolve, Dan’s commitment to the company includes fostering and inspiring the next generation of leaders from within the organization – including his children – who will help carry on the values of the organization.

Dan holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in finance from Rice University.

 

Bob McNair

Bob McNair

Robert C. McNair (Jan. 1, 1937 – Nov. 23, 2018), a leading businessman, sportsman and philanthropist in Houston, Texas for more than 50 years, was the founder, senior chairman and chief executive officer of the Houston Texans National Football League team. McNair was perhaps best known in the business community as the founder of Cogen Technologies, which became the largest privately owned cogeneration company in the world with an aggregate capacity of 1,400 megawatts. In 1999, he sold the company while retaining ownership of power plants in New York and West Virginia, until 2017 and 2018 respectively.

McNair served as senior chairman of McNair Interests, headquartered in Houston, Texas where he oversaw an investment portfolio. McNair owned Palmetto Partners, Ltd. and RCM Financial Services, L.P., private investment entities that managed the McNairs’ private and public equity investments.

Bob McNair was born in Tampa, Fla. He and his wife Janice have been residents of Houston since 1960. McNair graduated from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science degree. McNair is survived by his wife, Janice, sons Robert Cary McNair Jr. and wife Kate, Daniel Calhoun “Cal” McNair and wife Hannah, and daughters Ruth Smith and Melissa McNair, eleven granddaughters, five grandsons and five great-grandchildren.

Staff

  • Photo of Bruce Davidson

    Bruce Davidson

    Director of Golf

    A native of Scotland, Bruce Davidson is executive program director for Congaree Foundation and a world-renowned PGA professional. He was awarded Master Professional status by the PGA of Great Britain at a ceremony held at St. Andrews during the 2015 Open Championship. He has a long and successful career teaching amateur and professional golfers at all levels, including those on the PGA Tour, Champions Tour, European Tour, Curtis Cup and Walker Cup participants. He has been the coach of Major champions Mark O’Meara, Ian Woosnam and also Keith Fergus.

    His teaching career began in the 1980s, working for Dick Harmon at River Oaks Country Club in Houston, TX. In 1990 he set up the Kings Links Golf Centre in Aberdeen where five of his assistants would go on to qualify for the European Tour, including 1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie. In 2001, when legendary golf professional Dick Harmon retired from River Oaks Country Club, Bruce followed his mentor and served as director of golf at the club until 2014.

    As a decorated scholastic player, Bruce first came to the United States in 1978 as part of a Scottish boys’ team. He would go on to earn a golf scholarship at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, graduating with a degree in Business and Economics. Though his passion is teaching the game of golf, Bruce remains an accomplished player, having competed in three Senior Opens, and was the only club professional to make the cut in the 2015 Senior Open held at Sunningdale Golf Club in England.

  • Photo of John McNeely

    John McNeely

    Director of Golf

    John McNeely is executive program director for Congaree Foundation, as well as President of Diamond Creek, a Top 100 Tom Fazio-designed course in the mountains of North Carolina which he co-founded in 2002. He is one of the most respected PGA professionals in the world.

    John has been associated with and taught at some of golf's finest courses, including Winged Foot Golf Club, site of numerous Major Championships where he worked under 1948 Masters Champion Claude Harmon. Other clubs include Thunderbird Country Club in Rancho Mirage, CA, River Oaks Country Club in Houston, TX, Annandale Golf Club, site of the 1986 USGA Mid-Amateur Championship, Grandfather Golf and Country Club and The Floridian in Palm City, FL.

    Across his career John has instructed winners at the collegiate level, the LPGA Tour, the European Tour, the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour. He has also instructed the president of the United States and the king of Morocco.

    John played golf collegiality at East Tennessee State University where his teams had consecutive top ten finishes at the NCAA national championship.

  • Photo of Lesley Johnson

    Lesley Johnson

    Administrative Director

    Lesley Johnson has served as the Administrator Director for Congaree Foundation since its formation in 2016. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Foundation and manages donor relations and contributions. She was instrumental in the development of the CGGI and continues to contribute to its on-going success.

    A native Houstonian, Lesley is passionate about philanthropy and giving back to the community. She is a member of the United Way Women’s Initiative of Greater Houston, served on the Board of Make-A-Wish Foundation Gulf Coast and Louisiana Chapter from 2016-2019, and is an active member of the Bayou City Chapter of the National Charity League.

    Lesley obtained her B.A. from the University of Texas in Austin and her M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas in Houston.

    Lesley values education and is honored to be involved with a non-profit that is dedicated to helping disadvantaged youth from around the world gain access to higher education. Having two teenage daughters, Lesley has hands on experience with the college admission process.

    In addition to her involvement with Congaree Foundation, Lesley is employed by The Friedkin Group, supporting the Family Office Legal Team and working on special projects. Her prior work experience involves serving as the Office Manager for a prestigious law firm and working in the Admissions Office at a K-12 independent high school.

  • Photo of Mary Carolyn Moore

    Mary Carolyn Moore

    Program Coordinator

    Mary Carolyn Moore has served as the program coordinator for the Congaree Foundation since 2018, handling the logistics of the Foundation’s local and global initiatives.

    Growing up in Lexington, SC, Mary Carolyn developed a passion for sports and the valuable lessons that competition teaches. At 17, she enrolled at the University of South Carolina to pursue a degree in Mass Communications.  While in college, Mary Carolyn worked in the Office of the President where she developed a deep knowledge of the collegiate administrative landscape.

    Mary Carolyn also brought her life-long passion for helping others to college and regularly volunteered through her church and sorority. Additionally, she was also involved in service learning projects while studying abroad in South Africa.

    Between her passion for sports and her enthusiasm for helping others, Mary Carolyn is delighted to be involved in the educational and vocational opportunities the Congaree Foundation provides to deserving students.

     

  • Photo of Tom Craft

    Tom Craft

    Head Golf Professional, Congaree

    Tom Craft has served as the Head Golf Professional at Congaree since 2016. A graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University, Tom is a PGA Class A Professional. Prior to joining Congaree, Tom was the 1st Assistant Professional at Diamond Creek Golf Club, Assistant Professional at Miromar Lakes Golf Club and an Assistant Professional at Rock Creek Cattle Company.

    Tom’s lifelong passion for golf runs in the family. His mother Terri, a collegiate golfer and basketball player at Iowa State, started teaching him the game as a 3-year-old. Tom’s love for golf has driven him to teach young men and women about the game and the opportunities it can create.

    Tom is a native of Iowa and lives in Savannah, Georgia.