Charlie Prentice
Head Professional
1955 - 1987
         Charlie Prentice
Charlie with his wife Margaret.

No history of Columbia Country Club would be complete without including the story of long time pro Charlie Prentice. Prentice was the professional at Columbia Country Club for 32 years, from 1955 to 1987. His remarkably long tenure was a tribute to his dedication to the game and the Club, and his abilities to teach the men, women and junior Members.

But Prentice did not restrict his golf activities to simply being a great club pro. From 1955 through 1975, he also participated in the professional golf circuit at the national level. Charlie qualified for and played in 5 United States Open Championships, including tournaments at San Francisco's Olympic Club in 1955, the 1957 tourney at Toledo's Inverness Club, Oakmont in 1962, the 1964 at Congressional, and the 1975 at Medinah.

Even with these stellar courses on his golf resume, perhaps his biggest golf accomplishment came at the 1956 United States PGA Tournament. At that time the PGA was a match play event, with golfers flighted by national ranking. The 1956 tourney favorite was Master's champion Jackie Burke, followed by Sam Snead. The third ranked favorite was Tommy Bolt. But Charlie Prentice, the club pro from Columbia Country Club, defeated Bolt in what was described as a "thrilling" match, winning the final two holes to beat Terrible Tommy one-up. Newspaper accounts of the match said that the rail-thin Prentice looked like "a human one-iron, with a hickory heart" as he battled back from a three-down deficit at the turn, and one-down after 16, to defeat the temperamental Bolt. True to form, Bolt threw a tantrum after his defeat, blaming fans and the weather for his loss. But golf fans of this area knew that the real reason was Charlie Prentice, and his skillful, competitive nature.

Prentice taught and influenced a generation of South Carolina golfers, including Columbia Country Club Member and SC State Amateur champ and SC Golf Hall of Fame member David DuPre. Perhaps his best pupil was his sister, Jo Ann Prentice, who became a LGPA professional and won 6 times on the Ladies tour. . 

Charlie was elected to the SC Golf Hall of Fame in 1992 and has been a member of the Professional Golf Association for 57 years. He retired from the Columbia Country Club in 1986 as a Golf Professional and continued on as Pro-Emeritus for the following year.