A Special Bond with the Special Olympics

by Lauren Thedieck

 Mar 21, 2019 at 3:00 PM

McConnell Golf is proud to support the athletes and the organization.

This past year, the warm smiles and genuine hearts of Special Olympics athletes brought McConnell Golf properties together.

Director of Tennis Operations Kyle Thortsen and The Country Club at Wakefield Plantation hosted the Wake County Special Olympics team at the tennis complex. Together, club staff and junior players led practices, games, and lessons to help Special Olympics athletes prepare for state competitions.

“We encouraged our juniors to get involved and see how rewarding it is to give back to the community,” says Thortsen. “Next year, our goal is to extend our commitment with this organization to our Sedgefield, Providence, and Asheville properties.”

Also at Wakefield, Director of Golf Adam McLaughlin hosted an invitational tournament at the nine-hole Plantation Course. It allowed athletes that did not get a chance to compete in the state championship an opportunity to play in a local tournament.

“We are humbled by their courage, contagious spirit, and eagerness to get better as individuals and teams alongside their family and their loved ones,” says Michael Thomas, club manager at Wakefield.

Over the past six years, members and staff from Treyburn CC, Wakefield, and Raleigh CC have volunteered for the Track and Field Spring Games in Raleigh. They’ve taken on roles to announce winners, organize races, and cheer on athletes throughout the games.

Nearby, Brook Valley CC welcomed all Special Olympic athletes from Greenville County to enjoy an end-of-year pool party celebration. East Carolina University Assistant Athletics Director Matt Maloney was in attendance and shared a little about the celebration with Brian Bailey of WNCT News.

“I started 21 years ago coaching these wonderful friends ... a few years later, we wanted to celebrate all the good things they do not only in the pool but also in the community,” said Maloney.

On a personal level, I have been involved with the Special Olympics in every stage of my life and am so proud of our clubs for continuing to engage with our community. I believe lending our facilities, our resources, and our time deepens our relationships with those we support and teaches us all of the power of giving.


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The McConnell Golf Dream 18 Course

by Brad King

 Dec 13, 2017 at 6:44 PM

With the 2016 additions of Providence Country Club and Holston Hills Country Club, McConnell Golf encompasses a dozen 18-hole, private golf courses throughout the Carolinas and Tennessee.

For those of you scoring at home, that’s a total of 225 golf holes in the McConnell Golf portfolio, and they are undoubtedly among the finest you’ll play anywhere. McConnell Golf properties feature courses designed by legends such as Donald Ross, Pete Dye, Tom Fazio, Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, and Hale Irwin. In 2017, as they do year in and year out, McConnell Golf courses dominated the various state rankings.

So picking the 18 “very best” McConnell Golf holes is no easy task. But through nominations from pros and member votes, that’s exactly what we’ve done. We’re pleased to present the final course in the words of those whom know it best.

Head over to Facebook for photos, descriptions and tips on each hole >>

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Ringing In the Big 5-0

by Brad King

 Jul 29, 2016 at 9:31 PM

Brook Valley Country Club marks its fiftieth anniversary by celebrating royal beginnings, Maples golf course architecture and celebrity contests 

In 1760, a tract of land in Greenville, N.C., now occupied by Brook Valley Country Club, became part of a royal grant bestowed by King Charles to a family who later sold the property to another family, the Brooks. They maintained the land for centuries before selling the large tract for development. Brook Valley reflects the family name, and today a copy of the royal charter adorns the club’s front walls.

Ellis Maples, who worked under and learned from Donald Ross, designed the Brook Valley golf course. Brook Valley’s rich history includes an exhibition match between legends Sam Snead and Ben Hogan. Reynolds May - one of the development’s original investors and a promoter - was friendly with many of the world’s best golfers at the time. After helping develop the golf course, he established the Reynolds May Tournament that featured many top professionals. The trophy from that event still resides at the club, bearing names of many great champions - including a young Curtis Strange, who captured the inaugural event at Brook Valley, as well as 2012 U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson.

Today, Brook Valley’s future appears bright following the club’s 2015 purchase by McConnell Golf. The golf course and practice area were renovated under the tutelage of renowned Greensboro-based golf course architect Kris Spence whose work included bunkering and one green modification (No. 2), along with significant tree removal and the relocation of a number of cart paths. Spence called Brook Valley an “out of the box” design for Maples, mostly due to its intricate cross bunkering.

“We have brought the Ellis Maples bunkering back, as well as adding a few bunkers to modernize the golf course,” Spence says. “Brook Valley is a very nice mix of golf holes with a lot of variety. The par-5s, in particular, are some of the best three-shooters I’ve seen. It’s not long, but it is a great membership golf course.”

The difference is noticeable. PGA Tour professional Will MacKenzie grew up in Greenville and regularly played Brook Valley. “Everyone always said Brook Valley was the best layout in Greenville” says MacKenzie. “It’s definitely got some of the best rolling terrain we have in Greenville. Brook Valley’s golf course was always a step above the others (in the area) in shot quality and feel, how the golf course was routed. But it needed to be restored. McConnell Golf came just in time.”

Watch History Unfold

Don’t leave it to your imagination, catch a smile and wave from Sam Snead and Ben Hogan via YouTube.com/McConnellGolf.

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