;e Keowee Key community is located in the Upstate region of South Carolina, about halfway between the college
town of Clemson and the city of Greenville, on a wooded peninsula embraced by the crystal-clear waters of Lake Keowee.
;e centerpiece amenity at Keowee Key is its championship
golf course, originally designed in the mid-1970s by legendary
architect George Cobb and completely renovated in 2006. ;e
course is a regional host for tournaments and charity events, as
well as the club’s golf associations for men and women.
Boating and ;shing are equally popular recreations at Keowee Key. Most lakefront homeowners have private docks and
all can use the range of facilities at ;ve community docks. In
addition, there are 14 tennis, four pickleball and two racquet-ball courts, a fully-equipped ;tness center with spa services
and an indoor heated pool, two outdoor pools, and a clubhouse
with ;ve dining options, plus an adjacent activity center with
meeting rooms and a library.
But while the amenities o;ered here are similar to those at
Dataw, Keowee Key has been equally successful by adopting
the exact opposite approach to its membership program.
“We think we were ahead of the curve in 2004,” said Keow-
ee Key’s Head Golf Professional Rion Grooms. “;e property
owners got together and appointed a committee to look at all
of the board. So all of our property owners are members with
equal access to all amenities and facilities.” And the same privi-
leges extend to family members, including kids, their spouses
Grooms acknowledged that the “a la carte” approach may
have worked in varying degrees for others, but the result of
choosing the “all-in” membership plan has been positive for
Keowee Key, with a growing membership and added amenities
due to its sound ;scal basis.
“All of us who work here answer to the property owners’
board,” he said, “and they answer to the residents.” ;at com-munity-wide process of decision-making means that resources
are allocated in a way that bene;ts everyone—and keeps executives like Grooms on their toes.
“I probably attend more meetings than most other golf
pros,” he said, “but that’s a good thing.” Among other member-requested innovations, Grooms cited the establishment of forward tees for senior players and nine-hole golf leagues for both
men and women. He also conducts “Golf 101” seminars for
spouses and family members who are new to the game and Keowee Key charges just $20 per round for invited guests, which
has helped the bottom line while keeping the golf club private.
“But in the end—and you might not hear many other golf
pros say this—it’s not all about the golf,” Grooms said. “When
think that makes our overall quality of life better.”