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 >>

Read More

Up to Date: MCG Scholars

by Jessie Ammons

 May 06, 2016 at 3:26 PM

Eight years ago, McConnell Golf launched its high school golf scholarship program. Young golfers are nominated by their high school coaches or local industry pros based on talent, need, and commitment to the sport, as well as their proven dedication and value to the future of golf. The innovative program offers limited membership opportunities to the chosen scholars, who often otherwise lack the opportunity to play challenging courses. Scholars earn access to all McConnell Golf facilities and enroll in a structured program designed to help them elevate their game. They usual­ly become familiar faces around their respective adopted clubs, and many go on to promising collegiate careers. Here’s a look at where a few scholar recipients — two former and one current — are today.

TRAILBLAZER

South Carolinian Hunter Nichols’ writing was on the wall: He lettered in golf at Clinton High School after placing third at the 2013 South Carolina 3A Champi­onships and earning four all-region hon­ors and two All-State selections. Nichols was a shoo-in for Musgrove Mills’ first scholarship. Today, he’s thriving at Fur­man University, where he is an asset to the men’s golf team.

FAMILY AFFAIR

Danielle Mirovich is a rising senior at Mount Pleasant High School in Mount Pleasant, North Carolina and she’s made her mark through golf. The Miroviches only arrived to Mount Pleas­ant a few years ago after losing their home in Hurricane Katrina. What kept them grounded was a dedication to the game: Two older Mirovich daughters are already playing at the collegiate level. Danielle is following in her sisters’ foot­steps with a scholarship at Old North State Club, which will last through next season. Her parents’ support is evident and has struck a chord with the entire community.

SPORTSMAN’S RESOLVE

Stephen Lavenets of Rougemont, North Carolina seized his scholarship at Trey­burn Country Club. It spurred him to win the Durham High School Invitational and cap off his tournament record with an eagle on the 18th hole at Treyburn — arguably one of the most difficult feats among all 12 McConnell Golf clubs. He joined the East Carolina Universi­ty men’s golf team, where a nagging hip injury led to major surgery almost immediately upon joining the team. It derailed Lavenets’ playing time, but revealed his true character. He emerged as a charismatic leader of his college team. Much like that difficult 18th hole, today Lavenets is on track despite his injury to graduate in four years with a finance degree.  

Read More

Braving the Storms

by Shayla Martin

 Apr 12, 2016 at 1:00 AM

2015 was an extreme weather year for McConnell Golf. From flooding to below freezing temperatures, few of the 12 courses were immune from damage to greens and fairways.

Most McConnell properties are located in a natural transition weather zone. Therefore, courses utilize a mixture of warm and cool season grasses to ward against tem­perature fluctuation; yet neither grass type is able to thrive under some conditions. When that happens, the task is to recover swiftly, which is where Director of Agronomy Michael Shoun comes in.

DEEP FREEZE

January and February 2015 brought some of the coldest temperatures ever seen in North Carolina — some areas saw temperatures 30 degrees below average — and associated sleet, snow, and ice. Raleigh Country Club, Sedgefield Country Club, and Wakefield Plantation, all located in North Carolina’s Piedmont region, dealt with temperatures 30 degrees below average and snowfall between 7 and 9.5 inches.

That didn’t bode well for warm-sea­son Bermuda grass. Those courses’ north-facing slopes, often lacking sun­light, suffered severe winter kill. Even if the greens thawed during the day, they inevitably refroze at night.

HUMID THAW

Already weakened from the winter, June brought sweltering heat to the Southeast, with 12 straight days of tem­peratures at or above 95 degrees in and around Raleigh. The extreme heat damaged the cool-season bentgrass greens on multiple courses, and was then followed by heavy rain during the late summer and early fall.

FLOODING

Torrential downpours led to flooding, and South Carolina’s record-breaking deluge made national headlines. Mus­grove Mill Golf Club, located along the Enoree River, was an unfortunate victim. Over the fall, the course flooded four times. Some areas were submerged un­der 20 feet of water, secured riverbanks were destroyed, and a transfer pump used for delivering river water to an irri­gation pond was entirely swept away.

SUCCESSES

But it wasn’t all havoc and recovery. Over the course of the year, the Dye course at Sedgefield Country Club was the one course to fully close for repair due to weather-related dam­ages. “Once we realized we were going to have major issues at most of our courses due to weather, it was all hands on deck,” says Shoun. “Fortu­nately we had the financial support to get the winter-damaged sod cut out and immediately put new sod down and grow it in.” The team at Musgrove Mill worked from sunup to sundown for two weeks to clean up the course after the flood damage, and used an over­seeding technique of putting down rye grass on top of Bermuda grass to make the greens playable during the winter until they could completely dry out the following spring.

During the eight-week closure of the Dye course at Sedgefield, the fairway damage was so extensive that the team had to essentially build a new golf course covering nearly 22 acres. The team used sprigs, small plant parts grown elsewhere then planted to cre­ate a playable turf. Sprigging is one of the only methods that can be used for destroyed grass.

THE FORECAST

As the year wrapped up with one of the warmest and wettest Decembers on record, it’s needless to say Shoun and his team hoped for an uneventful 2016. “One of the biggest drawbacks of this profession is that you can take every precaution you possibly can, and Mother Nature can still throw you a curve ball and change everything,” says Shoun. But for him, this is par for the course. “We just happen to be in a tough area but it definitely keeps things interesting. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Read More