Two closed T&D Region golf courses might have changes on the horizon.

The Paw Paw Country Club in Bamberg County closed Dec. 31 after nearly four decades, but the golf course's owner says someone is interested in purchasing it.

Paw Paw owner Tom Cornforth said he is hoping the club will be purchased.

"We don't want it to close because Bamberg does not need anything else to close," Cornforth said.

It was a challenge keeping it open, he said. "You can't sit there and operate a business that loses money each month."

The former Bowman Country Club, which has been closed for about twelve years, has been sold for $575,000 to Southeast Outdoor Adventure Center LLC, according to Orangeburg County property records filed in December.

The registered agent with the company, Alan Tavel, could not be reached for comment. Attempts to find information about the club's status or its future from sources previously affiliated with the club also proved unsuccessful.

Cornforth said he and his family purchased Paw Paw in May 1996. The golf course is located at 128 Paw Paw Road in Bamberg.

The club closed for two reasons, Cornforth said.

"We were losing money every month and I was working seven days a week for 21 years," Cornforth said. "I was burned out."

Cornforth said it has been a challenge to keep golf courses open, especially in small towns like Bamberg.

"The older people are dying off and there is not a lot of young people in town," Cornforth said.

The closure of Paw Paw -- at least for the time being -- means the annual Old Friends Invitational Golf Classic and Festival has been discontinued. The tournament may resume at the Hillcrest Golf Course in the future but such plans are under development.

The event has been held at Paw Paw since 1983. The golf tournament funds college scholarships for deserving Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School seniors.

The Paw Paw was built in 1981. The 18-hole, par 72, 6,683-yard golf course was designed by Russell Breeden.

The course features four sets of tees with the par-5, 517-yard 16th hole requiring a tee shot over a lake, and a lone pine tree in the middle of the fairway.

The golf course officials have often touted its lakes and woods, greens, contoured fairways and hybrid grasses. The course was deemed ideal for all levels of play.

Bowman Country Club

Bowman Country Club is located at 127 Dibble Street in Bowman. It’s a nine-hole, regulation-length golf course.

The course was built in 1969. When the course first opened, it was owned by the Bowman community and was called Bowman Community Club.

Amid financial woes, the club closed in October 1994.

Combow Inc., a group of Bowman shareholders, bought the facility at public auction shortly afterward. The country club reopened before permanently closing in 2005.

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Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD


Staff Writer

Gene Zaleski is a reporter/staff writer with The Times and Democrat.

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