It's Chase with the ace!

by Casey Griffith

 Apr 05, 2018 at 3:22 PM

The pros, trainers, and coaches of McConnell Golf love nothing more than to foster and celebrate member successes. In this spirit, we’re launching the #MCGkudos campaign. You’ll see it used by our clubs throughout the year to initiate a round of well-deserved congratulations across the sister properties.

 

Meet 10-year-old Chase Duncan.

He recently shot his first hole-in-one at TPC Wakefield Plantation, acing hole No. 7 while playing with his father. He is the youngest McConnell Golf member to do so at any property.

“My Dad shot the yardage at 90 and he said maybe an 8 iron,” says Chase. “I said, ‘I think it’s a 9.’ I was right. When I saw it go in, we both yelled and were excited.”

For his father, Jon Duncan, it was both a proud and humbling moment.

“Anything that your child accomplishes that makes them truly excited is always a blessing to watch in person,” he says. “Then when they remind you that you have never accomplished that same thing, you realize that a 10-year-old is better at golf then you.”

Prior to his hole-in-one, Chase was named the 2017 Junior of the Year at WP. He started playing when he was four years old; now, he’s a strong member of the 2017 PGA Junior League squad. Last year, he won the Junior Club Championship Nine & Under Division with a solid round of 39, seven strokes better than his nearest competitor.

This past summer, Chase teamed up with his Dad to post a stellar score of 37 and claim a Modified Pinehurst Parent-Child event at WP. Needless to say, the father-son duo have a lot of golf ahead of them. We’re certain there’s an ace out there for Dad in the future!

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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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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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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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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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