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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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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Giving Back with The First Tee

by Martha-Page Althaus

 Dec 13, 2017 at 5:57 PM

Gently-used golf donations go a long way.

Take a look around your garage. Chances are, there are some golf items you just don’t use, or need, anymore. But instead of throwing these things away, one group of Sedgefield members found a way to donate items where they’re needed most.

The First Tee of the Triad serves 1,500 kids, ages seven to 18, through golf clinics, classes, and camps. Last spring, the Cardinal Ladies Golf Association at Sedgefield’s Dye course, led by Nancy Patefield, collected gently-used golf bags, clubs, apparel, shoes, and more for The First Tee. And coming up soon, another donation is planned.

“We realized we have so much extra stuff that we take advantage of,” says Patefield. “How many golf towels do we really need? We all have an abundance of things to donate.” Patefield moved to Greensboro from Texas last year, where her home club did a collection drive for USGA.

“We collected our old clubs, bags, balls, clothes, shoes, basically anything that was gently used or new, to donate to those girls,” she recalls. “So when I got to Sedgefield, I found out about The First Tee and asked about the possibility of donating to that cause. We put it out to the Sedgefield Dye membership and pretty soon collected a van full of stuff for both boys and girls.”

The initial donation was a big success, and Patefield hopes now that the word is out, even more Sedgefield members will make a bigger effort to help The First Tee. Donations will be accepted through May 2018, making it the perfect time for early spring-cleaning.

“We donated everything from golf towels and balls to shoes, hats, skorts, and even a seven-wood, because it was giving one member a fit!,” says Patefield. The items that help kids in The First Tee may seem insignificant, but to those kids, even the smallest things make a difference.

“Some of these kids don’t have a collared shirt,” says Ellen Lapierre, director of volunteers and girl’s events for The First Tee of the Triad. “They love to wear those — it makes them feel like a golfer! Junior clubs are most beneficial, but womens’ clubs are great too, especially for teenagers who come in and don’t have any of the gear.”

According to Lapierre, the program gives kids a road map not only for success on the golf course, but for life in general. “We want these kids to have the best future they can have,” she says. “We want to make these kids good golfers, but make them even better people. Sure, we teach them skills like putting, chipping, and course management. But we’re also teaching them, right from the beginning, how to shake someone’s hand, how to look people in the eye, and how to introduce yourself to someone. And most importantly, how to create and attain your goals.”

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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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Off-Course Play

by Jessie Ammons

 Dec 19, 2016 at 6:41 PM

How to make your golf game last between seasons

With short days and colder weather, wintertime usually means retiring your clubs and hunkering down, at least for a few weeks. Yet it can be a time of opportunity. “When we’re in the spring and summer months, we focus on what the golf ball’s doing,” says Wakefield Plantation Director of Golf Josh Points. “In the winter months, you have an opportunity to focus on how your body shifts and rotates during a swing. What can you do to improve your personal mobility and physical fitness?”

As it turns out, you can do plenty — in much less time than a round on the course would take.

Time to Focus

Points knows firsthand how beneficial the winter can be. At the Wakefield Plantation Learning Center, two indoor-outdoor bays and an indoor putting area are equipped with video technology to offer players instant feedback on their swing. “Carl Pettersson, David Mathis, Cameron Percy — in the winter months, we see a ton of our tour players use the indoor practice ranges,” Points says. “It takes them out of the elements and into a more controlled environment.” Points says that, once there, “they can focus on the things they’re trying to change in their golf swing.” Likewise, he says golfers of every level can treat the off season as a “time to change things physically in your game. Winter is a great time to focus on certain changes that you postpone all spring and summer.”

Sedgefield Country Club Director of Fitness Sherri Tallant agrees. Tallant is not just a personal trainer but is TPI certified, which means she’s gained a deep understanding of how the body’s strengths and weaknesses affect a golfer’s swing. “In the spring and the summer, most of our members’ time should be spent playing golf,” she acknowledges. “But in the winter, don’t just put your clubs away and forget about your golf game until spring.” Tallant recommends going to your club’s fitness center or multi-purpose room — any space outfitted with mirrors. “Just watch your golf swing,” she advises.

“When you have that time in the winter, you can focus on practicing and changing small movements,” Points agrees. He recommends investing in (or borrowing from a fellow member!) a weighted club. “Practicing your swing with it throughout the winter is a nice way to keep your game in shape and prepare for your schedule in the spring.”

Even more specifically, Tallant says cooler months are the best time to start working on your short game. “Putting and chipping tend to be the two things that get rusty the fastest,” she says. “Stick to practicing in the mirror and you’ll stay tee-time ready come spring.”

Be Flexible

Less time on the course also means more time to spend on stretching and strengthening. “In the off season, golfers should spend more time in the gym doing things like yoga classes,” Tallant says. Sedgefield offers a six-week yoga program that meets for an hour once weekly, and most of her members sign up for two back-to-back six-week sessions. “Through yoga, you’re not necessarily making your muscles longer, but you’re keeping them from getting shorter, which they would do if you don’t use them,” Tallant explains. “Strength training and stretching lengthens that muscle right back out and helps with rotation, which speeds up your clubhead speed. It’s absolutely awesome for golfers to do in the off season. There’s a lot of really good things about yoga.”

If your club doesn’t offer yoga opportunities, focus on flexibility and mobility in any way possible. Points says it just takes a moment of self-scanning. “What parts of your body make-up need improvement? Are your hips tight? Are your abs weak? If you’ve had back pain throughout the season, it’s probably not going to go away. Now is an opportunity to get a little bit stronger and alleviate any pain. You have time to focus on body movements, from big muscles to small rotations.” Hip stretches, core strengthening, and a combination of leg strengthening and stretching are crucial, whether you’re a beginner or seasoned player.

“It does not have to be very time consuming,” Tallant insists. “You don’t need hours in the gym or a lot of heavy weight lifting in order to get huge benefits.”

Beyond group classes or home stretching, your club’s pro team is a great resource for ideas to stay tunedup. “This is a time to reset and prepare for next year,” Points says. “Your golf swing, your golf game, your flexibility, everything else.”

Video Series: Tips from the Pros

Visit the McConnell Golf You Tube channel or watch below for step-by-step instruction from Josh Points as he and Assistant Golf Professional Erica Britt explain indoor practice tips to keep your golf swing in good shape during the winter months. 

 

 

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Amateur Stars

by Shayla Martin

 Sep 09, 2016 at 7:14 PM

At McConnell Golf the sport of golf is more than just a leisure activity. Members across all 12 clubs train competitively in the hope of one day playing among their idols. Three McConnell Golf members have progressed to amateur and professional levels, and we’re proud to share their latest updates.

Standout Scholars

After receiving a McConnell Golf Junior Scholarship in 2008, Grayson Murray has wasted no time ascending the ranks to the PGA Tour. After the 22-year-old started the year with conditional status on the Web.com Tour and missed the cut in his first event, he tied for 10th place at TPC Wakefield Plantation and then tied for eighth at the BMW Charity Pro-Am. He earned his full-time PGA Tour card for the upcoming season in mid-October by finishing among this year’s top 25 money winners on the Web.com Tour.

“I received the McConnell Golf Junior Scholarship in the eighth grade, and it was perfect timing. It elevated my game so much just getting to go out to Raleigh Country Club every afternoon after school,” said Murray. “I don’t think I would have been the player I am without that scholarship.” The MCG Junior Scholarship is a program designed to offer instruction, practice, and playing opportunities to young golfers who may not have the financial ability to work on their games at first-class facilities. Murray was selected based on his level of talent, need, and commitment to the sport — as well as his proven dedication and value to the future of golf.

A fellow McConnell Golf Scholar is Raleigh native Carter Jenkins, a 2010 recipient who also played in the Rex Hospital Open as an amateur. Like Murray, Jenkins excelled in the amateur and collegiate ranks and is currently playing as a professional on the PGA Canada Tour. A fun fact about Jenkins: He and Grayson Murray were high school golf teammates at Leesville Road High School in Raleigh.

Member Competitor

A celebrated Sedgefield Country Club member is Scott Harvey. At the end of 2015, Harvey represented the U.S. in Manchester, England on the Walker Cup team, one of the most prestigious tournaments for an amateur golfer.

In April he won the Carolinas Mid-Amateur Championship at Dataw Island Golf Club in South Carolina, then two days later represented the U.S. in the Concession Cup in Bradenton, Florida, an international amateur tournament with teams from Great Britain and Ireland.

Most recently he played the U.S. Mid-Amateur in September and was a fourth-time medalist in the stroke play, setting a record. Next up he will represent North Carolina in the U.S. Men’s State Team Championship in Birmingham, Alabama. At the end of the year, he’ll again be considered for the Carolina’s Men’s Player of the Year by the Carolina Golf Association, an honor he’s received six consecutive years.

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The DR40

by Matt McConnell

 May 18, 2016 at 7:36 PM

The legendary Donald Ross designed four beloved McConnell Golf courses, and each one is easily accessed from Interstate 40. Since Interstate 40 is often called “I-40” in conversation, we like to call this trail of courses the “DR-40.” Here’s a look.

At exactly 400 Donald Ross Drive, just outside of downtown Raleigh, DR-40 begins at Raleigh Country Club. Established in 1948, the club boasts the last course designed by Ross. This walker-friendly property ranks among the best in North Carolina, and is just the beginning of an impressive and historical journey.

90 miles west in Greensboro, North Carolina, the most challenging Ross designed course along DR-40 is Sedgefield Country Club. A true work of art with fast championship Bermuda greens, the course is a test for expert golfers but still fun for beginners. Built in 1926, Sedgefield hosts the annual Wyndham Championship — currently the only Ross-designed course played regularly on the PGA Tour. If you want to play where golf’s greatest, including Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, and most recently Tiger Woods, have played then Sedgefield is a must-stop on DR-40.

An easy drive from Greensboro, the next stop along DR-40 is in the Blue Ridge Mountains at The Country Club of Asheville. Considered the oldest private club in North Carolina, The Country Club of Asheville was founded in 1894 and is McConnell Golf’s only mountain course. Recognized as one of “The First 100 Clubs in America,” this track is the shortest course along DR-40 at 6,673 yards. However, it is definitely the most elevated, offering incredible views of the surrounding mountains. No doubt the best view is on hole 15. After you continuously hit uphill onto the green, you’ll feel compelled to pause and enjoy the vista as you overlook downtown Asheville. Besides appreciating the gorgeous scenery, you’ll enjoy the abundant wildlife: turkeys, deer, and even black bears, that the golfers here have said are friendly.

After a scenic drive through the mountains, the last stop on DR-40 is at Holston Hills Country Club in Knoxville, Tennessee. This gem of a course has been well-preserved since Ross created it in 1927. Every tee and green at Holston Hills is still located exactly where it was originally built, allowing golfers a pure experience to play the course as it was intended. Holston Hill’s Country Club is consistently ranked in the top 50 of Golf Week’s “Top 100 Classic Courses in the United States.” Bordered by the Holston River with the Great Smoky Mountains as a backdrop, the rustically bucolic property has a Scottish feel with tall natural rough and a classic clubhouse.

What the DR-40 courses have in common are small undulating greens and rolling fairways, but each course is unique. The only way to know for sure is to see for yourself; the entire drive takes five-and-a-half-hours, and the trip makes for a perfect golf vacation. Plan your trip along the DR-40 today, and let us know how we can help.

Sample the Region's Best

McConnell Golf extends a warm welcome to those traveling to the Southeast from overseas or across the country. In bringing our members the best in golf, dining, sport amenities and on-site lodging our "pure golf" philosophy has forged a trail linking thirteen tracks from Myrtle Beach to Knoxville. Previously only available to our members and their guests, the golf experience is now extended in part to travelers whom reside a minimum of 100 miles from any club location and wish to link a minimum of three properties to create their trail. Learn more about the McConnell Golf Trail.

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