Elby Bikes Zip & Zoom at McConnell Golf

by Casey Griffith

 Mar 08, 2018 at 8:55 PM

McConnell Golf recently caught up with partner Elby bikes to discuss the booming popularity of a classic machine, re-imagined. The electric bike. 

 

Why the decision to venture into the private golf segment?

E-bikes generally offer a great way for people to get around, from young urban dwellers all the way up to active retirees in residential communities. With so many of these communities featuring golf as well, the move is natural: golfers appreciate being outside, spending time with others, and need to travel distances ideally without getting in cars. The Elby enables all of these and adds the bonus of a really fun ride.

 

How do electric bikes translate from urban settings to suburban?

E-bikes are all about taking the time-tested benefits of traditional bicycles and removing some of the exertion and effort that may make them less of an option for others. So, a good e-bike, like a good traditional bike, is useful in any setting. Where a bike like the Elby has an edge in the suburbs is around its extended range. With more ground to cover in the suburbs, an 80+ mile range on the Elby battery is a huge help.

The Elby’s also incredibly adjustable, so entire households, regardless of age, gender, and physical size can enjoy one Elby bike. That makes it a great replacement for a car, which is really the best case for any electric bike.

 

Share a little about the need Elby bikes serves its patrons.

The nice thing about a bike like the Elby is how it serves different needs for different people. Right off, and most universally, the Elby is a pure joy to ride. That first feeling of silent, electric boost to your pedaling recalls your first pedal strokes as a kid. It’s just a magical feeling.

More practically, Elby provides an efficient, green, and fun way to get to work, run errands, grocery shop, or make that morning tee time. Getting where you need to go on a bike instead of a car is nearly always more pleasant, more personally engaging, and better for the environment.

There’s also the "sneaky workout” side of things. While you’re not really breaking a sweat on an Elby, you do see a basic increase in heart-rate with all the stress-reducing benefits of exercise.  We hear from Elby users all the time that they dropped weight and were less stressed and angry at work and home after switching to an Elby.

 

Where do you see the company in five/ten years? And electric bikes in general?

E-bikes are already saving the cycling industry. Almost every segment of the industry, from mountain bikes to kids helmets, is seeing a decline in business metrics from previous years. In stark contrast, e-bike sales and growth are up. This is an extremely positive sign. Urban and suburban residents are just beginning to see how much better their morning commutes, and health, could be with an e-bike. We only expect this trend to continue as e-bikes become a ubiquitous sight in cities across the globe. In five years, ten years, and even twenty years, we expect Elby to continue to be a leader in the e-bike space.

Since the beginning, Elby has been about creating a better mobility solution for people, whether that’s replacing a car or just adding a new way to move through our communities. The S1, our step-through model, we accomplished this through the most size-adjustable frame on the market, enabling the Elby to serve entire homes, offices, or even large planned communities. With the newer C1, we've created an extremely capable, reliable, and enjoyable e-bike at a great price. We're now seeing urban planners considering bikes more than ever as our cities and towns are becoming more efficient with space and more supportive of healthier transportation options.

 

What has surprised you about the way Elby bikes have been received?

We've been most surprised by just how positive cities have been towards e-bikes. We're working with communities in the US and Canada to help them develop roads, housing, and even hotels to be more friendly to e-bikes, because people realize how important diverse transportation options are to their health, their environment, and their quality of life.

 

Has Elby inspired those not already into biking to give it a try? What do you think non-bikers find appealing about it?

All the time! By design, Elby is encouraging to ride. Its bright colors and aerofoil-inspired design are definitely eye-grabbing. Once riders feel the electric boost provided as they pedal ahead, it's impossible not to see the appeal. For non-cyclists, the Elby is really able to meet them where they ride, commute or play and remove most of the barriers associated with traditional bikes. You don’t need training or specialized gear or spandex to get on an Elby and go. The Elby is fun, fast, and easy, regardless of fitness level. There’s no hill too tall!

     

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Wellness Beyond the Workout

by Natalie Clemens

 Nov 28, 2017 at 7:09 PM

New physical therapy and expanded massage therapy offerings enhance the member experience.

There's no doubt that taking the proactive, “apple-a-day” approach to healthy living has gained measurable traction over recent years. But beyond its lighter menus and modern fitness offerings, McConnell Golf is taking further steps in its commitment to wellness. So, what’s next? Massage therapy and physical therapy.

McConnell Golf recently introduced Concierge Physical Therapists to its clubs. Their network of therapists is based on the belief that clients need more than what most high-volume physical therapy clinics can offer. According to Bryan Williams, founder of CPT: “I believe in one-on-one, hour-long appointments with a physical therapist specializing in manual techniques complemented with neuromuscular re-education and exercise.”

Concierge Physical Therapists has grown substantially throughout the mid-Atlantic area and now serves eight private clubs, including TPC Wakefield Plantation and Providence Country Club, with plans to add the service to Sedgefield Country Club, Country Club of Asheville, and Old North State Club soon.

“Club members benefit from several aspects of our service, including the convenience of receiving physical therapy at their club’s fitness center,” says Williams. “Members get high-level service due to our one-on-one intensive approach.”

All of CPT’s therapists hold doctoral degrees or have 20-plus years of experience working with golfers, tennis players, and non-athletes. In addition to physical therapy, two McConnell clubs offer massage therapy — Sedgefield and Old North State. Sedgefield offers treatments Monday through Friday. Members can schedule appointments directly with therapist Lisa Gagnon or with Fitness Director Sherri Tallant. In bringing massage therapy to Sedgefield, Tallant says that her goal was to offer a one-stop shop club experience for members.

“The more amenities we can offer on property, the more convenient for our members,” she says. “Massage therapy is a great idea for golfers, tennis players, and anyone who wants to enjoy the benefits of a relaxing massage.” As Sedgefield member Lynn Burgio affirms, these new wellness additions have been a big hit.

“I have been receiving therapeutic massage for several years now,” she says. “These massages helped my body heal incredibly well from recent knee replacement surgery.” Old North State currently offers 60-minute massages April – September each Saturday by appointment only. According to Chris Callicutt, director of tennis and activities: “We added massage therapy to complete that resort-style feel and to add a spa element to a club with already bountiful amenities. This offering helps reach our goal of holistic wellness for our members.”

ONSC member Lucy Mullen raves about the program. “Men and women alike are enjoying this. The massage therapy room is well-appointed and provides a calm, relaxing atmosphere for each session.”

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Fitting In Fitness

by Jessie Ammons

 Dec 16, 2016 at 7:05 PM

McConnell Golf is thinking creatively to expand and enhance premium fitness facilities.

Resourceful planning has yielded impressive improvements at four McConnell Golf Clubs. Thanks to ingenious use of clubhouse spaces, the Country Club of Asheville and Holston Hills Country Club have brand-new fitness centers; and Old North State Club has significantly renovated its center with Providence Country Club soon to follow suit. Here’s a look at how each property made it happen.

Scenic Workout

In the mountain clubs of North Carolina and Tennessee, there were rooms with a scenic view that no one could appreciate. “We had an old dining space that wasn’t used that often,” says Country Club of Asheville Club Manager Michael Methot about the spark of an idea. “We converted it – completely transformed it – into a fitness center.” Now, the 2,800-square-foot space is decked out with treadmills and resistance weight machines, a “one-stop-shop facility,” Methot says. What’s more, another spare room was outfitted with mirrors and a new floor to become an exercise studio. There, eight group fitness classes happen each week, and members often use it for stretching and personal exercise routines. “We had the facilities, they just weren’t fitness facilities,” Methot says. The center opened in October 2015. “We’ve been able to create a really great center for our members.”

Likewise, one of the first renovations made to the clubhouse at Holston Hills Country Club was a similar extra space overhaul. With new flooring, lighting, and equipment, a former dining room has become that club’s state-of-the-art fitness center.

At both clubs, the new space has opened the door for exciting new programming. At Holston Hills, new activities director Katelyn Graham was brought on board to oversee an active group fitness class schedule and personal training sessions. At the Country Club of Asheville, a robust fitness class schedule has been so popular that they’re now offering unique activities like chair yoga and a multiweek dance class series. At both places, “we have a good mix of equipment and programs for everyone,” says Corporate Director of Member Activities and Wellness Natalie Clemens. Clemens was instrumental in both overhauls, but turned to each club for specific details. “We really took our members’ thoughts and inputs into consideration,” Methot says. “It’s another way to engage and offer them more.”

On the Move

Sometimes small changes can make a big difference. Such was the case at Old North State Club, where the fitness center received a relocation and renovation. “We had a fitness center, so this isn’t new,” club manager Frank O’Hara explains, “but it is new in the sense that it’s a new space.” The former fitness center had been near the pool, accessible but slightly disconnected from the hub of clubhouse activities. Now, it’s almost twice as large and in the clubhouse. “It’s more centralized and therefore offers itself to more of our membership,” O’Hara says. A new location has made existing equipment feel fresh, and a key-fob system allows members 24-hour access (a feature at the Country Club of Asheville and Holston Hills centers, too). “It’s been really well-received,” O’Hara says.

Soon, a similar facelift will be underway at Providence Country Club. “We’re excited to be doubling the footprint of our existing fitness center,” says general manager Howard Murphy. The plan is to swap the locations of the clubhouse’s golf shop and fitness center, and also add a kids’ zone adjacent to the new fitness location. “We’ve never had a kids’ zone before, and we’re really looking forward to that,” Murphy says. Murphy anticipates a late spring 2017 debut for the new center.

 

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Holistic Approach

by Jessie Ammons

 Apr 20, 2016 at 3:08 PM

Wellness is the quality or state of being healthy: It’s that simple and that daunting. “It’s not just something that you do in the gym,” explains McConnell Director of Activities and Wellness Natalie Clemens. With a background in both resort and country club fitness, Clemens has seen members assume that a half-hour workout or a regular round of golf means living healthfully. While exercise is import­ant, so is proper nutrition and overall balance.

The Enjoyable Element

An active country club life fits seam­lessly into that balance by offering both social and physical outlets. While having fun and plugging in, you’re re­ducing stress and introducing balance to your lifestyle. To ensure well-rounded offerings, McConnell takes a team approach. “We’re thinking about fitness, chefs, and club managers,” Clemens says. “They’re all important to a wellness program.”

That means lighter menu options, athletic practice groups, and upfit­ting the gym facilities at many clubs — from a total overhaul at Wakefield Plantation to an aesthetically enhanc­ing de-clutter and rearrange at The Country Club of Asheville. The team approach has also spurred fresh choices. “We’re thinking outside the box to always change up what we offer,” Clemens says. Clubs are implementing 5K runs followed by a healthy breakfast, post-golf stretch classes, children’s yoga, and Tae Kwon Do for kids while adults learn self-defense. Look for expanded group fitness op­tions that go beyond basic cardio and weightlifting, including small-group boot camps and sport-specific classes.

Relationship Based

While innovative programming is exciting, it’s the in-depth service that stands out. Every McConnell club now has a designated activities coordinator or wellness expert. “You have some­body available who’s passionate about wellness and will get you the support you need from throughout the club,” Clemens says.

She encourages you to connect with your club manager or with a person­al trainer to be pointed in the right direction. “Our trainers and pros are all very different in how they train, but the common denominator is that they really get to know our clients. They are supremely skilled at getting to know members’ needs and wants.” Your club leadership will help you break down and understand wellness, whether it’s a bit more stretching each week or a complete lifestyle overhaul. “Wellness is at the forefront of culture right now,” Clemens says. “We all want to eat better, stay in shape, live longer, enjoy life more. It’s so important to people and it’s important to us too.”

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