Bob Gillespie



Bargain golf: Hillcrest has created opportunities for 38 years

Posted 4/4/2011 5:55:00 PM

The year 1968 was a watershed for the city of Orangeburg and for civil rights in South Carolina. Three students at S.C. State College (now University) were killed during a campus demonstration that became known as the “Orangeburg Massacre.”

That year also has a more uplifting legacy: Hillcrest Golf Course.

In the 1960s, golf was still viewed as an elitist, whites-only sport, and S.C. State’s fledgling golf team had to drive to Columbia to practice and play. Then in 1968, school President M. Maceo Nance proposed leasing the city 150 acres of S.C. State’s experimental farm at $1 a year for 50 years to build a golf course and recreation area open to all races.

The result was Hillcrest Golf Course and Recreation Center, which includes lighted tennis courts, soccer and baseball/softball fields, plus the 18-hole, 6,722-yard Russell Breeden course (5,208 yards for women). The city-run operation – located less than two miles from the Interstate 26/U.S. 601 interchange – also offers rates that are hard to beat.

Costs are $25 weekdays, $28 weekends (including cart). Memberships, which cover greens fees, are a sweet deal, too: $490.60 a year for single memberships, $612.70 for families (including children younger than 22), $324.50 for seniors and $214.50 for students. S.C. State students have the best discount going: $10 for 18 holes with cart.

“We’re a public facility, but we also work with golf packages in (nearby) Santee-Cooper,” says Jake Fogle, head professional since 2003 and a 15-year Hillcrest veteran. “We have folks who’ve been coming here for 25 years from Ohio and Canada, traveling to Florida and stopping on their way.”

The course features wide, rolling fairways, large greens and water on two of the final four holes, including the signature 15th, a par-5 with a peninsula green. Amenities include driving range, chipping and putting greens and a fully-stocked clubhouse and grill.

Hillcrest also plays host to numerous events, notably its annual Festival of Roses tournament, which celebrates its 38th year in late April. For Orangeburg’s citizens, the golf course is a symbol of changing racial relations; for golfers, it’s simply good golf at a great price.

Hillcrest Golf Course
1280 State A&M Road, Orangeburg
(803) 533-6030