One way students can get involved, connect with classmates and explore the community is through golf. This is because of the beautiful local courses and special discounts for students.
Drew Totin, a third-year finance and supply chain management student, said he believes students should find an outlet to relieve themselves from the demands of college life. For him, golf is a mental health relief.
“It’s good to have a break and time to yourself or with friends to get away from the stress,” Totin said. “It helps your mental health.”
Some of the top area golf courses for USC students include the Charwood Golf Club, Indian River Golf Club, Linrick Golf Course and Oak Hills Country Club.
Charwood Golf Course, located in West Columbia, provides students with a discounted rate during the week and at twilight. The course is known for its short and mostly forgiving layout. Despite the front nine being open, the back nine is tighter and longer.
Indian River in West Columbia, notable for its Scottish design, offers a student rate Monday through Thursday, where students can play nine holes for $18 or 18 holes for $29. In addition to the student rates, the course offers an afternoon rate after 2 p.m. of $25. The fee allows golfers to play up to 18 holes depending on their pace before sunset.
Though the course has bigger greens, precision is still crucial due to the many hills and sand. The course, which sits along Lake Frances, also provides some breathtaking scenic views, such as hole 7, a par five with the lake behind the green.
Linrick Golf Course, located north of the city, is known for its tightness, dog legs, hills and ponds.
Despite the somewhat distant drive, the course provides special student students rates. During the week, students can play nine holes for $17 or 18 holes for $29, which includes a cart. In addition to the weekly deals, the course also offers a deal for students to play 18 holes for $33.
Another course that offers students a deal (and quite the challenge) is Oak Hills Country Club. As one could guess, the course contains lots of oak trees and hills, some of which are forgiving while others are not as much. The course offers a weekday deal, where students can play 18 holes at the club for $29 before 2 p.m. Afterwards, there is a twilight rate for $27.
Par Tee is a place for golfers to improve their game. The lot is home to a driving range, mini-golf course, a three-hole par-three course and shop. Clubs can be provided for players if needed. Additionally, the staff offers personal instruction, club fitting, regripping and repairs.
Driving range rates are $5, $8, $10 and $18 depending on the number of balls selected. For the par-three loop with yardage ranging from 60 to 160 on each hole, patrons can take on the challenge for only $10. The initial fee for the mini golf course is $8, with a $2 fee for any additional round.
“We get a lot of students,” owner and PGA professional Tom Mason said. “There's opportunities for everyone no matter what your skill level is.”
If you’re looking to play golf with classmates, Gamecock Club Golf hopes to add new members of all levels this fall. The club’s president, fourth-year political science student Ross Joliff, encourages students of any interest to come out.
“We welcome all skill levels,” Jolliff said. “Our goal is just to get everybody better.”
The club has a competitive team that travels throughout the region and country to compete against other schools. However, there is also a social team for students who want fellowship and play recreationally.
“Whenever you see how much fun we're having, you're going to want to get better,” Jolliff said.