Work & Play at The Mill

by Matt McConnell

 Mar 22, 2019 at 1:30 PM

This company’s annual retreat mixes business with pleasure at Musgrove Mill.

Musgrove Mill Golf Club is widely regarded as the perfect place for a corporate retreat. McConnell Golf member Matt Alexander knows from experience — he brings around 25 associates from Charlotte-based Eaton Corporation to Musgrove Mill for an annual three-day retreat. For the past couple of years, employees and business partners travel from all over the continent — from California, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Mexico — to meet at Musgrove Mill.

The travel is worth it. From the moment Alexander’s group drives through the secluded woodlands to the gated entrance, where cart attendants wait at the front of the clubhouse to escort the group to their cabins, everyone begins to exhale.

Jeff Tallman, director of golf, coordinates the group’s itinerary. The next three days are spent relaxing on the property without the group having to move their cars. The retreat is a mix of work and play. Each cabin is complete with everything they need, from A/V equipment to golf carts. One of the best amenities? The accommodating hospitality of Musgrove Mill’s staff.

“Jeff and his team provide everything that we could possibly need,” says Alexander. “We have held meetings in many nice locations, but we always return to Musgrove because of the personal attention that Jeff and his team give us. They make everyone feel at home.”

Food is prepared in the clubhouse and delivered to the cabins where the business meetings are conducted on the first day of the retreat. Following their work, the team breaks for cocktails and dinner in the cottage. With a pool table, fireplace, poker set, and satellite television, the cottages provide entertainment while everyone enjoys each other’s company.

Day two begins with breakfast and meetings in the Lee Cottage. Then the real fun begins — in the afternoon, many in the group tee off on the challenging Arnold Palmer-designed course. Group photos are taken along the course, especially on the elevated tee box of the fifth hole and the signature seventh hole along the Enoree River. The non-golfers go nearby to shoot sporting clays at the wildlife refuge of the Clinton House.

Later, the entire group reconvenes for drinks and dinner at the Lee Cottage. Dinner is served on the back deck, against the backdrop of the scenic wilderness of Upstate South Carolina.

“The fact that we can all spend three days together in a great location, away from the office, and get some work done makes Musgrove Mill a great business retreat,” says Alexander.

“Add in the beautiful golf course and the way Jeff and his staff have everything coordinated, and it makes this easy and enjoyable. Our associates request we return every year.

 

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Snedeker’s Wyndham Moments

by John Maginnes

 Mar 21, 2019 at 6:00 PM

The 2018 Wyndham champ reflects on his time in Greensboro. 

When Brandt Snedeker Teed off in the early morning on Thursday at the 2018 Wyndham Championship, there was no indication that record books would get a new chapter. But three and a half hours later, when his second shot on the 6th — his 15th hole of the day — tore through the front lip of the hole and wedged itself at the bottom, possibilities started to emerge. Two more birdies and Brandt Snedeker would join the most coveted group in PGA TOUR history. A birdie at the seventh hole would leave him two more chances. When a six-foot attempt went begging at the eighth hole, Brandt stood at 10-under on the round with one to go. His approach shot settled on the front right fringe some 16 feet below the hole. When the putt slammed into the back of the hole, a roar erupted. Brandt had shot just the 10th sub-60 round in PGA TOUR history. Brandt would shoot 67, 68, and close with 65 to win his second Wyndham Championship, and the ninth win of his PGA TOUR career.

His first win on the PGA TOUR was also the Wyndham Championship, when he capped a Rookie of the Year season with a win at Forest Oaks in 2007. With his 2018 win, Brandt joins his friend Davis Love as the only two players who have won at both Forest Oaks and Sedgefield.

“The win at Forest Oaks was huge for me because it was my first win on the PGA TOUR and propelled me to the Tour Championship,” he’s said. “Winning at Sedgefield was special for other reasons.”

Brandt has become a fan favorite over the years at the Wyndham Championship, and his 2018 win was popular among fans. It was also a popular win in the Wyndham board room. Brandt has been a brand ambassador for Wyndham since that 2007 win.

“It’s been incredible, because we kind of grew up on the PGA TOUR together,” he said. “2007 was Wyndham’s first year sponsoring the tournament and my first year on TOUR. I couldn’t have gotten luckier to win their first event as a rookie. My professional relationship with Wyndham has been incredible, but it’s all part of the personal relationship that I have with the people at Wyndham, starting with Steve Holmes.”

When Brandt returns to Greensboro this summer, there’s a good chance that the competition will be stiff. The Wyndham Championship is the final regular season event on the PGA TOUR calendar leading into the FedExCup. Following the Wyndham, the top-10 players in FedExCup points will enjoy a prize pool of $10 million, with $2 million going to the player who enters the playoffs as the number-one seed.

“It immediately puts the tournament on some guys’ radar,” said Brandt. “If you have a chance to finish first or to slip into the top-10, you have to consider playing the Wyndham. We are all getting used to the new schedule, but I think that you will definitely see a difference.

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The Cardinal Now Semi-Private

by Brad King

 Feb 26, 2019 at 1:50 PM

Greensboro’s Sedgefield Country Club Dye Course will become a semi-private facility and restore its original name, The Cardinal by Pete Dye.

On March 1, 2019, the Sedgefield Country Club Dye Course near Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro becomes a semi-private facility and restores its original name, The Cardinal by Pete Dye.

“We are excited about this change and look forward to increased rounds and activity on the golf course,” wrote McConnell Golf Triad Regional Director Beverly Marler in a letter to the membership. “Rest assured membership will still have its privileges.”

In 2006, McConnell Golf purchased the Cardinal Golf & Country Club, a Pete Dye-designed masterpiece originally constructed in 1974 and host to many nationally recognized amateur tournaments, including the club’s renowned Cardinal Amateur. After nearly $5 million in renovations to the clubhouse and golf course, most notably hiring Dye to return and fully restore his original design, The Cardinal is recognized as one of the state’s most challenging courses.

With the recent announcement, The Cardinal tee sheet is open to non-member play with the following conditions: 

  • All members will have preferred access to the tee sheet, allowing them to secure the same prime times to which they are accustomed.
  • All Full Golf members may retain the same access that is currently enjoyed at Sedgefield and other McConnell Golf properties.
  • All Dye Family Golf members may retain their same membership privileges at The Cardinal as well as dining privileges at Sedgefield.
  • All current dues/fees will remain in place.

   
Tee times are available to the public via CardinalGolf.com and GolfNow's online tee time marketplace. 

Dye Family Golf memberships for The Cardinal will continue to be available. In addition, Head Golf Professional Chris Terry and his team will offer a full calendar of golf tournaments, events, and programs throughout the year that are available exclusively to members — including Full Golf members who have access to all McConnell Golf properties, existing Dye Family Golf members and any new Cardinal memberships. These programs will not be open to non-members.

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Championship Recap

by Chad Flowers

 Jun 13, 2018 at 8:35 PM

In 2018, McConnell Golf hosted four notable events that gave others from around the region, and even around the world, the chance to compete on some of our best tracks.

Atlantic Coast Conference

Old North State Club on Badin Lake in New London, NC once again hosted the Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Golf Championship in late April. Warm breezes from across the lake graced the fairways as some of the best amateur golfers in the country attacked the Tom Fazio layout.

While the finish was down to the wire with Clemson, Wake Forest, and Virginia shooting low final round scores, Georgia Tech continued its domination of the ACC Championship with a 29-under 835 over three days to claim its ninth title in the last 13 years. This year’s title was also the 17th in program history for the Yellow Jackets.

“It’s a great conference with all these teams that are ranked, so any time you win here it means a lot, and this year is no different,” said Georgia Tech coach Bruce Heppler. “We knew that Clemson would come charging up the leaderboard, they always do. It got close and exciting, and this place brings that out. We’re just happy to walk away on top this time.”

U.S. Open Championship Qualifier
Holston Hills Country Club in Knoxville, Tennessee was proud to again host the local qualifying of the U.S. Open Championship in May. A total of 78 players from all across the U.S. and other countries played for fi ve open spots into the sectional qualifier. Perfect weather, pristine course conditions, and a strong field led to low scoring on the famed Donald Ross design. Sebastian Vazquez of Mexico took medalist honors with a round of 63 while four other players had 66 or better to fi ll out the fi ve available qualifying spots.

“Holston Hills has played host to this local qualifier for many years,” said Director of Golf Chris Dibble. “Our course is always a player favorite, and we enjoy having all of the different players here each year.” 

Web.com Tour's Rex Hospital Open

Moving from the amateur ranks to the professionals, the annual Rex Hospital Open returned to Raleigh’s TPC Wakefield Plantation at the end of May. The Hale Irwin designed, 18-hole championship golf course proved once again to be a great test for some of the up-and-coming professionals on the Web.com Tour. Joey Garber of Petoskey, Michigan, and a Georgia alumni, persevered with a one stroke, 18-under victory. Coming in at a tie for second at 17-under were Hank Lebioda and Scott Langley. Of local interest, Albin Choi, a former player at NC State, and Cameron Percy, a resident of Wakefield Plantation and McConnell Golf member, each finished tied for sixth at 15 under par.

“The Rex Hospital Open has become a mainstay at Wakefield, and our members and staff alike look forward to it each year,” according to Wakefield Club Manager Michael Thomas. “This event has raised some $9 million for patients, programs, and services at UNC Rex Healthcare over the past 31 years.”

American Junior Golf Association

In June, the AJGA Tournament in Greensboro was played at the Sedgefield Pete Dye Course and has been newly rebranded as the Wyndham Invitational presented by BB&T. If that sounds familiar, it is because the same title and presenting sponsors are also on-board for the annual PGA Tour stop, Wyndham Championship, in Greensboro at McConnell Golf’s Sedgefield Ross course in August.

A week of great golf culminated as Karl Vilips, the No. 1 junior golfer in the Rolex AJGA rankings, blistered the Dye course for a 10-under 270 over the four days. During his third round, Vilips birdied the 18th hole to tie the competitive course record of 8-under 62. Vilips now has five AJGA victories and his is a name we should all remember There’s no doubt he will be playing professional golf soon.

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Mastering the Mental Game

by Lauren Thedieck

 Jun 10, 2018 at 3:43 AM

How? Through wellness.

Understanding who you are and what you want to achieve is the key to success. But what keeps that key in the ignition and the car in “drive” might be something you’ve never considered. The answer is wellness. While wellness is an all-encompassing term, let’s hone in on mental toughness.

In sports, some might notice their anger flares when they play, a visible sign of loss of mental control. Others have negative thoughts or expectations that can bring their level of play down. Here are four tips to stay focused on the golf course, tennis court, and even in the workplace.

Meditation

Mindful meditation can be done anywhere: laying down, sitting in a chair, or walking around the block. It’s a process that teaches us to respond more effectively to negative situations that we face in a sport or in daily life. Through meditation, we don’t seek to change or correct negative mental experiences; instead, we learn to accept whatever is going on in our minds and refocus our attention on the task in hand. Taking this practice into the sports arena results in an athlete’s increased ability to function “in the zone” by sharpening concentration, accuracy, and precision.

Goals on Paper

When you were young, you were probably told to write your goals down and keep them where you could see them every day. The same is true for you today. Keep goals visible to stay motivated and to push yourself.

“Setting goals helps us grow and expand, pushing ourselves to transform in ways that we never imagined,” said Tony Robbins, a prominent figure in leadership psychology. Understanding your heartfelt desires, and affirming you can attain them, is a beneficial tool to staying positive and determined.

Diet and Exercise for the Mind

It’s also helpful to write down your unhealthy mental habits. As Amy Morin, best selling author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do states, “Mental strength is a lot like physical strength. If you want to be physically strong, you need to go to the gym and lift weights. Mental strength is the same. If you want to be mentally strong, you need good habits like practicing gratitude. But you also have to give up bad habits,like destructive beliefs about yourself and others.”

Letting go of these inhibitors gives you control over your outlook and athletic potential.

Establishing Potential 

Focusing on your mental game will help drown out mental noise. You have control over every shot placement, which club to use, and what strategy to follow. Once you break your concentration and become consumed with things that you can’t control, you reduce your chances of playing your best.

So, how can you start the round off on the right foot? Create a simple routine. Stretch, meditate, practice on the range, eat a healthy meal — whatever it is, find your routine and stick to it.

As psychologist Jim Taylor wrote for Psychology Today, “Routines enable athletes to be completely physically, technically, tactically, and mentally ready to perform their best. I don’t know a world-class athlete in any sport who does not use routines in part of his or her competitive preparations.”

One of my tennis coaches at NC State would always say, “Practice each day like it is a match. On game day, you focus a little bit more and you prepare a little bit better.”

Make this part of your mental routine each day you are on the course and court.

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The Golf Whisperer

by John Maginnes

 Jun 06, 2018 at 3:59 AM

One of the game’s great voices reflects on the past
and looks ahead to a new challenge.

Roger Maltbie turned 67 years olf this summer — and he’s still going strong. He amassed five wins during his PGA Tour career, but Maltbie’s leaving his mark in the broadcasting world as an on-course analyst for NBC Sports. His comfortable style of walking the fairways has endeared “Rog” to golf fans across the world. I caught up with Maltbie during his break from PGA Tour coverage.

John Maginnes: What do you remember about Sedgefield and the old GGO?

Roger Maltbie: Well, I’ve played it with friends since and love the golf course. Going all the way back to the mid 70s, I don’t remember much. I remember that it was cold. Maybe Greensboro in March or early April wasn’t such a great idea. August makes a lot more sense, and the golf course looks great during the tournament.

JM: Tell us about the core group at NBC that you’ve worked with for so long.

RM: We’re getting a little long in the tooth there, pal. We’ve been together a long time. This is my 27th year, Johnny Miller’s 29th year, and Mark Rolfing was there before me. Gary Koch has been there since 1997. Dan Hicks has been in the booth since 1993. And of course, the rookies are Peter Jacobsen, Notah Begay, and Jim “Bones” Mackay.

JM: How has it been working with Bones, Phil Mickelson’s former longtime caddie?

RM: We did an experiment at Sea Island with Bones and John Wood, who caddies for Matt Kuchar. I took them out on the course and showed them how to do this job — this is where you stand, this is what you do. Bones is a quick learner and he does a good job. A caddie really does offer a different perspective. We ask him, “What would you tell a guy, what would your advice be?” It’s been a nice fit.

JM: And inevitably, we have a little more insight into Phil Mickelson’s thinking.

RM: Really, who looks at life or golf like Phil? How do I say this with the utmost respect — you can call Phil a lot of things, but you can’t call him doubtful. Phil’s confidence is his greatest asset, whether the rest of the world follows along or not.

JM: What have you made of the return of Tiger?

RM: It’s great that he’s healthy again. Whether he catches Jack or not almost doesn’t matter. Who knows? But it’s a shame to see someone get robbed of the opportunity because of a physical problem. Now he seems to have that cured and he can go after it hard, so now we might get to see if he can do it, but that is going to be the burden for him.

JM: For a long time, the flagship event for NBC was the US Open. How hard is it for you to watch someone else do the event?

RM: It was a business decision. We understand that money
talks and everything else walks, and that’s fine. We were out bid, so the USGA took their TV affiliation to a different place. Do I miss it? Yeah, I miss it. It’s our national championship, and certainly our first major. What I do is great fun. But there is some golf that is more meaningful, and we are talking about the US Open. To have those opportunities to cover the events was special. They are special events. They were special when we played, and special when we broadcast. So yeah, it’s a little painful to watch sometimes.

JM: As part of the shuffle of television contracts, NBC now does the Open Championship. What is that like?

RM: It’s different for me, because I only played in the British Open twice. Back then, we called it the British Open, but now it’s the Open Championship. Both times I played in it were at Turnberry, so I’m learning courses like Carnoustie for the first time, which is fun. [He pauses and smiles.] And it’s the next time that I work.

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Road Trip

by Mike Purkey

 Jun 02, 2018 at 8:55 PM

How an unassuming oyster shack inspired two trips to play several McConnell properties — and more to come.

The creator of the Sunny Side Turnaround is a CPA whose organizational skills calculated the excursion down to the dollar, mile, and hour. But in the end, it all started because Kent McLamb just wanted some oysters. The desire for a seafood run morphed into a golf trip, and it was the brainchild of McLamb, the chief deputy at the N.C. Office of the State Auditor and a member of Raleigh Country Club. His job often took him to Elizabeth City, N.C., and during those trips, he’d drive past Sunny Side Oyster Bar in Williamston, N.C. The restaurant is a simple clap-board building yet an iconic local spot. But McLamb never stopped, and he was determined to remedy that.

“If you didn’t know about it, you wouldn’t pull in the parking lot,” says Sam Sparks, a member at TPC Wakefield Plantation and part of the first official Sunny Side Turnaround.

“Most people, when they take a McConnell trip, go to Asheville and Knoxville,” says McLamb. “But I was looking at Brook Valley in Greenville, and wondered what would make it a worthwhile trip besides just driving to Greenville, playing golf, and coming back. Then I saw Williamston on the map.”

The plan was to play TPC Wakefield on Friday afternoon, drive 95 miles on U.S. 64 East to Sunny Side, have dinner, stay in Williamston, and drive 40 minutes to Brook Valley for a mid-morning Saturday tee time. After the round, they’d drive back to Raleigh and be home mid-afternoon.

Before he sprung this idea on anyone else, McLamb and his brother, Donnie, went on a test run last November. Declaring the trip a success, the two brothers were joined by Sparks and Kent’s brother-in-law, Gale Adams, in late April for the official Sunny Side Turnaround.

Golf was certainly a big part of the trip, but the destination of emphasis was the Sunny Side. “If you’re looking for a white table cloth kind of place, it probably wouldn’t be your speed,” says McLamb.

The Sunny Side Oyster Bar has been serving fresh seafood in eastern N.C. since 1935. It’s only open in months with an “r,” which means it opens for the season in September and closes at the end of the following April, mainly with an hour or more wait on the weekends.

Oysters are the main attraction and are served only two ways: steamed or raw. They’re accompanied by Sunny Side’s secret hot sauce. Shrimp, scallops, and crab legs make up the rest of the menu. And if you insist on something green, you can get broccoli with cheese sauce. That’s it.

“At most seafood restaurants, you could get a hush puppy or cole slaw,” says Sparks. “Not at the Sunny Side. The food was great and we had the best time. We’ll be doing that again.”

They returned to Raleigh at about 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, as calculated. “You feel like you’ve had a full weekend, but you still have a lot of your Saturday and all day Sunday to do whatever you want for the rest of the weekend,” says McLamb

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