WINNSBORO — During a recent wedding at Mission Ridge Golf Course and Retreat, formerly known as the Fairfield Inn Country Club, those in attendance were amazed to see the difference made by 10 months of renovation work.
With the help of many volunteers, event coordinator Tom Jackson was able to use the wedding as an initial showcase event at Mission Ridge. Over 250 people attended and according to Jackson the wedding went off without a hitch.
“Oh, it was wonderful,” Jackson said. “To see everything come together was very rewarding and I think it showed very well for Mission Ridge.”
Those assembled were complimentary on how the property looked and how great it was to see a full parking lot out front. Jackson said he believes it is like anything else: the more people that attend an event, the more attention it will draw.
“The same proves true for the golf course,” Jackson noted. “With more players on the course, the more the public will realize there is a golf course in Winnsboro.”
The property is being renovated and modified to serve all of Fairfield County and surrounding areas as a public facility for recreation, meetings, weddings, receptions and other social functions.
The building was a private residence from 1861 until 1923 when U.S. Rubber Co. bought the property and completely remade the building as an exclusive inn. Fairfield Inn was known at home and abroad for its accommodations, fine food and atmosphere.
In the late 1950s, U.S. Rubber Company gave the property to the Mt. Zion Society, which leased the property as a golf course and recreational facility.
When Christ Central bought the property in 2012, it was membership exclusive. Now the golf course is open to the public. A monthly golf association fee will allow an associate to play golf at a discounted rate.
An individual $55 monthly fee will allow golf associates to play any time at a reduced price, and a $65 fee for a family package will allow play any time at a reduced price. The family package also allows children under 16 to play free.
As golf interest grows in Winnsboro, golf pro George Bryan will bring his academy to Mission Ridge. Visit www.georgebryangolfacademy.com or call 803-781-2063 for more information about upcoming sessions.
Improvements to the facility as a whole are about halfway through and Jimmy Jones, the founder of Christ Central, is encouraged by the progress.
“Each day we discover things about the facility that could be tremendous for Winnsboro’s future,” Jones stated. “We do have some great hopes and right now we’re just a short distance from realizing those dreams.”
Christ Central has been steadily rebuilding and making improvements on the golf course through the power of volunteer work. When the property was purchased, the Department of Health and Environmental Control condemned the kitchen and there was no equipment to mow even a blade of grass.
But through their efforts Christ Central has kept the golf course from being closed and is approaching an open date for the kitchen in the next four to six weeks.
The hope is for the golf course to provide economic stability and to anchor a revitalization for goods and services that would entice a person or family to live or do business in Winnsboro.
In an effort to halt poverty and degradation any further, the motivation for Christ Central was simple: Keep the golf course from closing on Main Street.
Having seen the progress made and different opportunities become available, Jones said he looks forward to the future.
“I believe very shortly there is going to be a ‘wow’ factor for the Winnsboro community,” Jones said. “I think there are a lot of things to look forward to and I’m more excited about the potential for Winnsboro than I ever have been.”
The pre-“wow factor” was the wedding. Very soon Christ Central hopes to have the Mission Ridge Golf Course Retreat full of golfers on the course, full of families in the dining areas, and full of corporate events and community groups meeting in the facility.
Visit www.facebook.com/missionridgegolfcourseretreat.com or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Reach staff writer Lucas Vance at 635-4016, ext. 15, or at email@example.com.