I wanted to take my dad out for some sporting clays for a Father's Day outing. We've shot around the midlands some, but I wanted to branch out a little. I found Harris Springs Sportsman's Preserve though the South Carolina Sporting Clays Association website and decided to give it a try.
Harris Springs Sportsman's Preserve is a wonderful little hidden gem located in Waterloo, South Carolina, not too far from lake Greenwood. From Columbia, you just drive up I-26 towards Greenville for awhile, and then head towards Greenwood. All in all, it took us about an hour and a half driving at a leisurely pace. On our drive up, we passed a BBQ place that indicated it was only open on Friday and Saturday, but that's a whole other post.
Arriving at Harris Springs, I was immediately impressed with the elegant simplicity of the place. The main lodge was filled with wonderfully soft leather furniture, and we were greeted by Mark Seay, who was wonderfully hospitable. There is an expansive deck with an immense outdoor fireplace, a guest house, and a group dining facility that looked perfect for a corporate retreat event.
As an aside, it's nice to have a welcoming atmosphere at a gun club when you're there for the first time. It's so easy for experienced shooters/gun club owners to view new guests with a standoffish or skeptical eye. At Harris Springs, we instantly felt welcomed and at ease. We were given a quick tour of the property, and then wished well as we headed out to start our shooting. It was evident that they really take their hospitality seriously.
Getting out to the shooting, the stations were well marked, solidly built, and the surrounding grounds were well maintained. The sporting clays course at Harris Springs isn't the toughest one I've been to, but it certainly had a few challenging stations. One thing that was quite nice was all of the different looks presented. One of my favorite stations was shooting from a tower with the birds crossing below you.
|Station 7 at Harris Springs|
In it's entirety, it is a wonderful sporting clays course. I think it is well-suited for a beginner or a group just looking for interesting shot presentations in a welcoming atmosphere. It's mostly report-pairs, and there aren't a great deal of long-range shots. Competition shooters would probably grouse about it being a "soft" course, but since I'm not a competition shooter, I thought it was great.
After shooting, we ended up back at the main lodge, and settled up. One of the interesting comments from our host was that Harris Springs didn't really focus on Sporting Clays. Having just shot the course, and being impressed with it's quality, I was a little surprised. Mark explained that the club's main focus was the great quail, turkey, and deer hunting they provide. With the sporting clays at such a high level of quality (and not being the main focus) I could only imagine how well the hunting is managed.
Overall, Harris Springs would be a wonderful place for any size group, it presents a comfortable and hospitable atmosphere, and the shooting facilities are quality. If the sporting clays are any measuring stick, the bird hunting there has to be amazing.