Does 1 have to be a member for 3-gun matches or can anyone pay the fee and enter?
For me, I would just go to have a good time and meet some like-minded folks.
I have a shotgum I could use along with a pistol (neither are "3-gun worthy").
I don't have a low-recoil non-hunting rifle yet but will hopefully be starting an AR build after this weekend's gun show at the TD Center. I am debating starting from a stripped lower (more expensive overall but I don't waste $$$ on things I don't want), or, buying a completed lower (less expensive).
I see that they have moved their matches from the 2nd Saturday to the 1st Sunday beginning in August.
I have not shot or attended their matches but some of my friends have. You don't have to be a member of SCOTG to shoot the matches, you just pay an entry fee when you register. I don't know whether they have a process for "vetting" new shooters. If you have a background shooting USPSA or IDPA that probably would be helpful since you would be used to basic action shooting procedures and range commands. I'd encourage you to attend the next match and observe.
We'll be having a 3 gun match at the Greenville Gun Club the last Sunday in August. I think registration may be full but you are welcome to come, watch and hang out.
I'm heavily involved in Cowboy Action Shooting, primarily in Greenville and Belton. We like new shooters and guests. See my other threads for more info.
I didn't have any cowboy guns either, nor any experience shooting them, until my first match. The other shooters loaned me what I needed to give it a try (I did bring my own ammo). I had a blast and began gathering my own gear.
I don't want to discourage you from shooting 3 gun but it might be helpful to start by shooting a "single gun" match or two first. My first recommendation would be Steel Challenge or Rimfire Challenge. You only need one gun and the rules and courses of fire are pretty straightforward. The Spartanburg Practical Shooting Association holds a Steel Challenge match on the 2nd Saturday of every month.
A USPSA pistol match would be a good "stepping stone" to 3gun because the rules and procedures are pretty similar. I believe the SPSA holds two matches per month and there are other clubs around.
IDPA is another option for action pistol although it would be my second choice as a "gateway" to 3gun because of some differences in the rules.
COG hosts the 3-gun matches at SCOTG. You can find them on Facebook. COG will post the link to their on-line registration about a week and a half or so before their next match. They don't vet people which is not always a good thing but essentially everyone on each squad is a range officer charged with keeping a look out for people who need help. If you do go I'd suggest watching a few stages of the matches before you actually go and shoot. You will need some gear as it typical for any competition shooting. 3-gun minimum is AR with at least a 3x optic, pistol with at least 3-4 magazines, pump or semi-auto 12 ga shotgun with at least an eight round capacity but no less than five round. You need a good holster system for the pistol and a way to carry spare magazines and shot shells on your body.