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Walker Course named top public college golf course in America


The largest golf review site in the world ranked The Walker Course at Clemson University as the nation’s best collegiate and university-affiliated public golf course in its annual Golfers’ Choice awards.

“The Walker Course has been ranked annually by Golfweek Magazine as one of the top campus golf courses every year since 2014, but this is the first year the course has been recognized for this particular award,” said head golf professional Brent Jessup. The recognition is the result of the course’s customers taking time to respond to surveys from Golfnow through The Golf Advisor website. There were more than 180 Walker Course reviews returned during the past year, giving it an average rating of 4.9 on a five-point scale.

“We are very excited to be recognized. Our team members work hard every single day to deliver the best product and service possible for all of our golfers,” said Jessup. “We make a very conscientious and ongoing effort to always bring positive recognition to The Walker Course and Clemson University. This definitely strengthens the ‘Clemson brand’ and The Walker Course is a solid Clemson asset and great facility for the Clemson Family to enjoy.”

The Walker Golf Course’s signature hole number 17, “The Tiger Paw.”

The Walker Course is open year-round and designed to accommodate golfers of all skill levels.

The last five holes, including the signature Tiger Paw 17th hole, run along the wooded, rolling shores of Lake Hartwell and offer spectacular views that rival any golf course in the world.

The Walker Course also features a full-service driving range, a putting green, a fully stocked pro shop, the Clubhouse Grill and a staff of PGA golf professionals on hand for group lessons, clinics and individual instruction. 

The Golfnow survey rates staff friendliness, course design, course conditions, amenities and other characteristics. Course superintendent Don Garrett said his staff takes great gratification in being recognized. Maintaining a course that delivers such an exceptional experience requires a dedicated team to put in the hard work of maintaining the 18-hole, 6,911-yard course every day, rain or shine.

“Clemson has a golf course the entire University – students, faculty and alumni, and surrounding community – can be proud of,” said Garrett. “And because we are a public course, everyone is welcome to use it. Brent and I came here 22 years ago, not long after the course was built and opened. We had an opportunity to improve the quality of the course conditioning and organization. It was nice to be given the opportunity and support to get it where it is today.”

The setting sun reflects off of Lake Hartwell from the Walker Golf Course at Clemson University.

Ratings for the survey are calculated from every review written for a golf club. To determine the collegiate list, the site applied its weighted ratings logic and combined the overall and subcategory star-rating averages. Golf courses must offer public tee times and have received one review in 2020. When a golf club has gathered a sufficient number of reviews and meets the set criteria, it is eligible to qualify for the rankings. To make sure ratings stay relevant, reviews are devalued over time.

The entire facility at Madren, including the golf course, is managed by Southern Hospitality Group in Greer, SC. Their president is Andy Cajka Jr.

“We are fortunate to work with a remarkable team at the Martin Inn, Madren Center and Walker Course. The entire staff works diligently to present a quality product and outstanding experience,” said Cajka. “This is well-deserved recognition for the team.”

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