Columbia Country Club
113 years and still going 
strong . . .
 
Ridgewood Country Club
1904 - 1962
From the beginning . . .

Columbia Country Club traces its roots back to the 1890's, when a group of troops from Rhode Island who were training for the Spanish American War wintered near Fort Fornance. The troops fashioned a few makeshift golf holes near Monticello Road, in the Eau Claire area. When the troops left, a riding club was formed to use that property.

 

E. W. Robinson and P. I. Wells of the Columbia Street Railway System bought the riding club as well as some adjoining land, and began construction of a nine-hole course, The Ridgewood Country Club. They attracted 250 members, who each paid annual dues of $5.00.


In 1915, the clubhouse was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt using monies from a Member bond issue plus the proceeds from the insurance settlement. Just before World War I, the course was expanded to 18 holes, and the new clubhouse was opened.

 

In 1919, the Club hired Charlie Reynolds as its first golf professional. By then, there were 630 members contributing annual dues of $10.00. In 1930, sand greens were replaced with grass, and the course maintenance mule was replaced with a truck. The Great Depression forced several tough decisions, including additional debt, the termination of the golf pro, and a reduction in annual dues to $3.30.


As World War II ended, the Club began a recovery program. A new pro was hired, a swimming pool was completed, and dues were increased. The Club reorganized in September 1945 as the Columbia Country Club, with 99 stockholders and T. K. Knight as the first president.


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.

 

In 1960, the old Ridgewood site was transferred to the State of South Carolina, in exchange for the current property of approximately 300 acres. Ellis Maples, a protégé of the legendary course designer Donald Ross, was hired to design a 27-hole course for the rolling, wooded site. The new course opened on December 16, 1962, with a new clubhouse and kitchen facility.

 

Over the past 40 years, a number of improvements have been made. A new golf cart storage building was constructed after fire destroyed the original cart storage facility. Various changes and improvements have been made to the facilities, including upgraded locker rooms for men and women, a complete fitness facility, a fully stocked golf shop, and more. In 2000, the Club began a complete rebuilding of the greens and bunkers on all 27 holes. That project upgraded the course to one of the premiere venues in our state.


As a result of the multi-million dollar renovation, Columbia Country Club has maintained a ranking among the top 50 courses in South Carolina, a remarkable ranking considering the exceptional golf courses along the entire coast of the state from Myrtle Beach to Hilton Head. The Club was proud to host the 2004 South Carolina State Amateur tournament, where its reputation as a tough but fair course was reinforced as only one contestant was able to complete the tournament with a sub-par score.

Aerial Photo of North Columbia on April 25, 1938