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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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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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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Field Trip

by Laura Burkehart

 Nov 10, 2016 at 6:53 PM

McConnell Golf’s tennis program brings all the clubs together.

Each August since 2011, tennis fans have gathered at Wake Forest University for the Winston-Salem Open. The last men’s tournament on the Emirates Airline US Open Series circuit before the US Open, this event draws top pros and a large, enthusiastic crowd.

For the past couple of years, McConnell Golf members have joined in the fun. “It’s a good event,” says Kyle Thortsen, McConnell Golf director of tennis. “We start out with a tailgate in the parking lot. We have a tent, and cornhole, and food, and everyone hangs out until the gates open.”

Member Jill Uttridge agrees. “I attended the WSO with my husband and sons, who are 13 and 9. While the boys enjoyed cornhole in the parking lot, we mixed with friends from our club, Wakefield Plantation, and met members from other McConnell clubs. It was fun to hang with the pros in a non-instructional capacity.” The highlights for the kids? “My 9-year-old loved watching the players practice a few feet away and getting autographs on his big tennis ball. We love the small tournaments because you can really get up close to the players.”

Once inside, the group gathered at center court for a photo. “That was really cool,” smiles Thortsen. “Last year, we had 25 members, and this year we had 50. We hope it will continue to grow and grow.”

The Country Club of Asheville trip took place in the spring, with members from the Raleigh area heading to the mountains. Member Mary Beth Corbin recalls, “We brought a lot of energy and were greeted with sincere enthusiasm. Everyone was so welcoming, and the clinic with the pros was well-designed to meet the levels of the different participants.”

These excursions also involve entertainment and local college players coming out for some sets. An event at Old North State Club in New London, North Carolina happened in November, and it was anticipated from more than just a skill standpoint. Corbin says, “Our group was discussing what our outfits would be — and we asked our coach to have us McConnell-clinic-ready!”

 

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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.  

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Winning Big

by Jessie Ammons

 Apr 26, 2016 at 6:24 PM

The region’s top collegiate talent competed at McConnell Golf courses during two consecutive weeks this April for the Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships. Virginia took home the women’s title at Sedgefield Country Club on April 17 and Clemson won the men’s championship on April 24 at Old North State Club.

The Virginia women held off Wake Forest in the final round to repeat as ACC Women’s Golf Champion. With three of its golfers finishing in the top five of the individual leaderboard, Virginia posted a team score of 855, 11 strokes better than the second-place Wake Forest.

Leading the Cavaliers was tournament medalist Lauren Coughlin, who finished with a 9-under 207. Walking to the 18th green tied with Wake Forest freshman Jennifer Kupcho for the individual lead, Coughlin birdied the final hole to become the second Cavalier to capture the ACC individual crown.

The Clemson men shot a 25-under 839 on the weekend to claim the ACC Men’s Golf Championship. The Tigers posted rounds of 273, 284, and 282 to win the 10th title in Clemson program history and first since 2004. The victory came one year after matching the best team score in the field before falling to Georgia Tech in two playoff holes.

Every Tiger posted at least one round below 70 on the weekend, a first for Clemson in ACC Championship history, and all five finished at par or better. Austin Langdale and Bryson Nimmer led the way, tying for fourth at 7-under 209.

Louisville’s Robin Sciot-Siegrist, who tied for individual medalist honors last year, posted a 10-under 206 to claim the title. The junior from Rueil-Malmaison, France, entered the final round tied for sixth at 3-under, four strokes behind the leader, but shot a 7-under 65 on Sunday. Sciot-Siegrist is the fourth in league history to win back-to-back individual titles.

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