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‘Classically designed’ golf course taking shape in Sumter County

By Christina Knauss //May 30, 2024//

Broomsedge, located in the small Sumter County town of Rembert, is set to open in October. (Photo/Stephen Reynolds)

Broomsedge, located in the small Sumter County town of Rembert, is set to open in October. (Photo/Stephen Reynolds)

Broomsedge, located in the small Sumter County town of Rembert, is set to open in October. (Photo/Stephen Reynolds)

Broomsedge, located in the small Sumter County town of Rembert, is set to open in October. (Photo/Stephen Reynolds)

‘Classically designed’ golf course taking shape in Sumter County

By Christina Knauss //May 30, 2024//

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A new golf experience will soon be coming to the Midlands.

Broomsedge, located in the small Sumter County town of Rembert, is set to open in October. The course takes its name from a native grass that grows in the region. Something else the area is known for – sandy soil – is also what drew founder and co-architect Mike Koprowski, who designed the new course alongside Kyle Franz, to the area in the first place.

Sumter County is located in the state’s Sandhills region, which separates the Midlands and Piedmont from the coastal plain and runs in a jagged pattern across the state through parts of Aiken, Lexington, Richland, Kershaw, Sumter and Chesterfield counties.

Originally from Florida, Koprowski has been playing golf his whole life and has been involved with the industry for the past six years. He currently lives in Pinehurst, N.C., famous for its signature course often called the “Cradle of Golf” and host of the U.S. Open and PGA Championships, among other major tournaments. Koprowski was looking for a place to open a new course in the Carolinas and went looking for a site that mirrored some of the benefits of Pinehurst.

“One thing that was really important for me was to find sandy property because if you look at some of the best golf courses, they’re often built on sandy sites,” Koprowski said. “Pinehurst is in the Sandhills and I was always interested and somewhat perplexed as to why there weren’t more golf courses between Columbia and Florence because that region sits in the same sandy soil that Pinehurst sits in.”

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In 2021, Koprowski went looking for property in the region and found the 251-acre, privately-owned land in Rembert, about 40 miles east of Columbia, that would eventually become Broomsedge. The previous owners used it partly for timber but mainly for recreation. He was so impressed by the property’s potential for golf that he bought it before having any other investors in the project – an unusual move but one that he thinks will be highly successful.

“This property checked all the boxes – really great topography, it’s right off I-20 so it’s convenient, and it feels really remote so players can have a nice isolated experience with nature,” Koprowski said. “There was also a 3.5 acre lake on site so we already had potential for irrigation, and three-phase power was available right down the street, so it worked from both a design and a logistical standpoint.”

The course with a 156-acre footprint features design elements inspired by three of the game’s classical architects. (Photo/Stephen Reynolds)
The course with a 156-acre footprint features design elements inspired by three of the game’s classical architects. (Photo/Stephen Reynolds)

Koprowski has worked with co-architect Kyle Franz, whose course architecture firm is based in Southern Pines, N.C., to create a course with a 156-acre footprint and design elements inspired by three of the game’s classical architects – Donald Ross, George Crump and George C. Thomas.

“The piece of land Mike found for Broomsedge may be the best I’m working right now,” Franz said. “It’s not only a great site, but the design is really cool as we’ve created a course that will challenge the best players yet still be extremely fun for higher handicaps.”

Some design highlights of the course include:

  • Putting surfaces with classic contouring that ties into the surrounding topography
  • Preservation of shot values off the tee, while still providing enough width to maintain the fundamental importance of angles to strategic design
  • Incorporation of property boundaries into lines of play; this is reminiscent of the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland and others built more than a century ago
  • Several holes that may change par from day-to-day depending on tee locations and weather conditions
  • 20 green sites for 18 holes, further promoting setup flexibility

“As new builds have been increasingly focused on maximizing size and scale, ours is a departure from this trend,” Koprowski said. “For example, from the first tee players will be able to see no free than 15 different green sites. We’re creating something a bit more scaled down than what’s currently popular in golf design, and reflective of how courses were conceived and routed 100 years ago.”

Broomsedge will be a golf club with private membership, but will also offer the “U.K model” option to allow other players a chance to experience the course. While priority will be given to the members of the club, the U.K. model will allow non-members a chance to inquire and get a chance to play the Broomsedge course depending on availability.

“Our ownership group has always been of the opinion that great courses are meant to be played, and this will give players of all levels a chance to experience Broomsedge,” Koprowski said. “At every top-rated golf course in the United Kingdom, if you’re not a member and you inquire either through an email or the website, they’ll often make it happen for you. In other cases here, if it’s a private club and you’re not a member, it can be hard to get a chance to play that course. I’ve played a lot of great golf courses through the U.K. model and having this option will give more players the chance to experience Broomsedge.”

The U.K. model will also allow Broomsedge to take advantage of the state’s burgeoning golf industry, Koprowski said. Golf has been a major draw in the state for years, and although some courses have shut down due to economic and other factors, the game has experienced a surge in interest since COVID-19. Broomsedge’s location will also offer a convenient option for travelers visiting the state, and for new residents moving to the Midlands and other areas for jobs driven by burgeoning industries such as automotive and aerospace. The course’s relatively close proximity to major economic projects such as Scout Motors in Blythewood will also be an advantage.

Sodding of the course started in mid-May and should be complete by August. Koprowski and  Franz  selected Tifway 419 Bermuda grass for the fairways and tees, and the greens will be sprigged with another strain of the grass, TifEagle.

The course’s design does not include maintained rough, with fairways running into the land’s native areas which contain the course’s namesake broomsedge grass and other native flora.

Sodding and sprigging of all 18 holes is expected to be complete in August, and the course should be ready for preview play in October, Koprowski said.

Since he purchased the land for Broomsedge in 2022, Koprowski has been joined by a group of co-founders who were attracted by the prospect of a classically-designed course that offers a more relaxed atmosphere. Plans for the course’s future include hosting prominent amateur championships.

There are also plans to develop onsite lodging at Broomsedge, with cottages expected to be available onsite by the second quarter of 2025.

“Our goal at Broomsedge is to cultivate a small and engaged membership that shares a deep appreciation for the game,” said co-founder and director of membership David McFarlin.

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