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The Magazine

Brandt Snedeker Back for More

Nelson’s 1945 Hot Streak Meet the Palmetto Players


Christie Brinkley x Swing 2019

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W W W. S W I N G C O N T R O L . C O M

Porters Neck CC

John & Matt McConnell in 2000

Summer Sun Ahead SUMMER HAS ARRIVED and what a great start 2019 has been at our clubs. We enjoyed a mild winter with minimum winterkill so our courses are in very good condition this season. Needless to say, I am ecstatic, as the last couple of years at our clubs we have indeed experienced numerous challenges from Mother Nature. Our company is pleased to report that in May we signed a management agreement with Porters Neck Country Club in Wilmington where McConnell Golf is now in charge of its operations. This partnership also allows McConnell Golf members access to this outstanding club and its Tom Fazio golf course while vacationing at the beach, and their members can visit our clubs as well. This management arrangement has worked great with the Grand Dunes Club in Myrtle Beach, and the Porters Neck location fits nicely with our geographic footprint. June 29 is a big day this summer as my son, Matt, is getting married at The Country Club of Asheville. I now understand why it is better to have sons getting married instead of daughters when I hear about the significant event costs that many of my friends are spending to make the experience so special for their little girls. Matt’s new bride has a home up the street from me so now I can make sure he is out early each day selling club memberships that are the lifeblood of our business. My wife, Rebekah, purchased a dental practice in June and returned to her professional career on a full-time basis. She has been very busy decorating several of our clubs the past two years and will be missed

by our managers who wanted the new décor that she delivered. Her dental skills are outstanding, and our family looks forward to having our treatments performed at her new office in Cameron Village in Raleigh. Rather than discuss more company news, I would like to applaud the work that is going on in Greensboro at the Adamsleigh estate. This historic property located on the Sedgefield golf course, with over 40 rooms, has sat vacant for many years, and the 14acre grounds have been sorely neglected. This past winter one of our members, Jason Harris and family, purchased this property and has begun to make numerous changes. I am simply in awe of the efforts that have begun, as this estate is sincerely going to make a major statement when the Wyndham Championship returns this August. One of the best smiles on any golf tour belongs to our Providence member, Harold Varner III, who was in the final group at the recent PGA Championship. And while the final round did not go as well as Harold might have hoped, it is another positive step forward for this likable pro’s career after playing at ECU in college. I think the tournament at Sedgefield would be a great place for Harold to win his first pro event and we will be cheering for him. Since this article seems to be about family I would like to thank all our company’s employees who make this business so much fun. I can assure all members that the amount of work and sacrifice that our staff contributes on a daily basis to make your club experiences enjoyable is at a very high level. I was in the computer industry for 35 years. That vocation

was easy compared to the effort that it takes for our employees to maintain golf courses, prepare meals with numerous room setups, and shine all the shoes. I encourage each of you to thank our staff for the outstanding service that they provide. One member recently commented that we should get rid of the customers that complain about everything from stale hot dog buns to the pool temperatures. I laughed and stated that if we did that most of our clubs would be out of business. But, I do encourage a positive outlook on life, and perhaps not focusing on the small details that often annoy us each day could contribute to our improved happiness. Have a great summer and visit your club often.

John McConnell, CEO & Founder


Summer 2019


$10 MILLION Who will be in the Wyndham Rewards Top 10 at the end of the Wyndham Championship?

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The Wyndham Rewards Top 10 is a season-long competition that rewards the players that finish within the top 10 of the FedExCup standings during the PGA TOUR Regular Season. These top ten players will share a $10 million prize pool at the conclusion of the Wyndham Championship.

July 30 - August 4 Visit for tickets or buy one Good-Any-Day ticket and get one free with your VIC card at local Harris Teeters.

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MAP 7 EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT Ryan Blair, Holston Hills Country Club


CLUB COMMUNITY Latest happenings


MEMBER SPOTLIGHT Three Brook Valley CC families share their adoption stories




HOME COURSE HEROES The ‘Palmetto Players’ earn major accolades at big events


AGRONOMY 24 Agronomy teams blend peak course conditions with sustainable practices BEHIND THE SCENES Feel Like A Tour Pro


CROWNING CHAMPIONS 38 McConnell clubs partner with top organizations for high-caliber events IMPROVING YOUR GAME SkyTrak simulator allows indoor practice at The Country Club of Asheville


TREYBURN’S NEW WELLNESS CENTER 48 Members enjoy a big, bright new space PLAN YOUR GETAWAY Tennis groups head out of town for competition – but mostly for fun


REFRESHING PARTNERSHIPS McConnell Golf joins forces with local brewery and California vineyard


WELLNESS 60 Healthy summer recipe swaps BUILDING UP STEAM Clubs offer tons of fun for all ages, from camps to nights out


THE BACK 9 A chat with Webb Simpson











Summer 2019




Photographer: Joe Purvis

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Summer 2019










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Summer 2019





Serving up Serving up

Success Success

golf course in top condition, Blair enjoys coming to work every day and feels truly WILLIAM NOBLITT KNOWS TENNIS. EARNING EARNING ALL-ACC ALL-ACC HONORS HONORS blessed to do what he loves as a career. WILLIAM NOBLITT KNOWS TENNIS. during his time at N.C. State University, the record-holder is considered during hisworking time at N.C. State University, the record-holder is high considered Ryan began in theKNOWS golf course industry as a freshman in school at WILLIAM NOBLITT TENNIS. EARNING ALL-ACC HONORS one of the greatest tennis players in school history. But beyond his one during of theclub, greatest players in school history. But beyond his his time attennis N.C. University, the is considered his hometown Dayton GolfState and Country Club inrecord-holder Evensville, Tennessee, about talents as as aa player, player, he he understands the the needs needs of of his his members members and and has has talents one half of the greatestunderstands tennis players inHe school history. But beyond hishigh an hour and southwest of Holston Hills. played on the golf team in ambitious goals for his hishe tennis program. ambitious goals for tennis program. talents as aon player, understands the needs of his members and has school and worked the at course each summer. In his current role Providence, Noblitt oversees oversees the the club’s club’s 14 14 tennis tennis ambitious goals for his tennis program. In his current role at Providence, Noblitt After high including school, Ryan attended Chattanooga State Community College and courts, 12 clay courts, and the pro shop. His largest duty howhis current Providence, Noblitt oversees club’s 14 tennis courts,Inincluding 12role clayatcourts, and the pro shop. His the largest duty howcontinued working at private clubs. His work included a stint at the prestigious ever is tennis instruction, at which he indeed excels. The thrill of comincluding 12 clay andindeed the proexcels. shop. His duty howevercourts, is tennis instruction, atcourts, which he Thelargest thrill of comHonors Course just north ofaChattanooga, under the tutelage of David Stone. “It petition was certainly factor in his success as a collegiate athlete and ever is tennis instruction, at which he indeed excels. The thrill of competition was certainly a factor in his success as a collegiate athlete and thatpetition same competitive spirit now helps him teach and inspire others. was that there that I was introduced to a totally different view of golf courses and was certainly a factor his success as a and collegiate same competitive spirit nowinhelps him teach inspireathlete others.andthe Noblitt’s favorite part of his job? Doing what he loves every day. that same competitive now helps him and inspire opportunities available topart those who wereDoing willing toteach work,” Blair says. others. Noblitt’s favorite ofspirit his job? what he loves every day. “I get to go to work and share my knowledge and passion for sport Noblitt’s favorite part of his job? Doingtowhat he loves every day. Blair then transferred fromand Chattanooga State the and University of for Tennessee “I get to go to work share my knowledge passion aa sport that has been a part of my life since I was six years old,” he says. “I love “I get to go to work and share my knowledge and passion for a sport to pursue a four-year degree, and was fortunate enough begin under that has been a part of my life since I was six years to old,” he working says. “I love thatmembers has been aimprove part of my life since hope I was six years old,” he says. “I love seeing and always to instill that same lifelong Chrisseeing Sykes,members then the new superintendent at Cherokee Country Club in Knoxville. improve and always hope to instill that same lifelong loveseeing of the themembers sport.” improve and always hope to instill that same lifelong love of sport.” “I had the opportunity to return to the Honors Course, but going to Cherokee Caption TK majority of love of the sport.” An average day for for Noblitt Noblitt is is aa full full one. one. He He spends spends the Caption TK majority An average day the of and working with Mr. Sykes was one of the best decisions I have made,” says Caption TK Anon average day for is a full he’s one.busy He spends the majority of his time time the courts. courts. InNoblitt the morning, morning, with private private lessons, on the In the he’s busy with lessons, Ryan.his “It gave me the opportunity to be involved with every aspect of the course his time onclinics, the courts. In the morning, he’s busy with private lessons, cardio tennis and ladies’ team clinics. In the afternoon, he’s cardio tennis clinics, and ladies’ team clinics. InInthe he’s cardio tennis clinics, and ladies’ team clinics. theafternoon, afternoon, he’s I was as Sykes and Iwith built a staff from four people and totally changed the course. working junior players through private lessons and clinics. working with junior players through private lessons and clinics. working with junior players through private lessons and clinics. fortunate to be involved sofirst many aspects of the course while atstand Cherokee, and Looking back on onin his year at Providence, Providence, two events events out. In In Looking back his firstfirst year at two stand out. Looking back his atfor Providence, twotoevents stand out. In that is the experience thatonpaved theyear way me to come Holston Hills. 2018, the Make-A-Wish Pro-Am fundraiser and Alex’s Lemonade Stand 2018, the the Make-A-Wish Pro-Am fundraiser and Alex’s 2018, Make-A-Wish Pro-Am fundraiser and Alex’sLemonade LemonadeStand Stand “While at Cherokee, I hadMember/Guest the opportunitywere to learn design as they Foundation’s Ladies heldabout at PCC. PCC. Noblitt waswere Foundation’s Ladies Member/Guest were held at Foundation’s Ladies Member/Guest were held at PCC.Noblitt Noblittwas was fortunate to work work alongside members for these events, enjoying fun in the early process of picking an architect tofor draft a master plan for the a course,” fortunate to alongside members these fortunate to work alongside members for theseevents, events,enjoying enjoyingaafun fun day of tennis while raising funds and awareness for important causes. according Blair. “I was soraising involved with the architects and design side that day day ofto tennis while raising funds and awareness for important causes. of tennis while funds and awareness for important causes. Looking ahead, hashas big plans for the future ofofPCC’s PCC’s thriving when I came to Holston INoblitt was ready to take on for the challenge to restore the course Looking ahead, Noblitt big plans for thefuture futureof PCC’sthriving thriving Looking ahead, Noblitt has big plans the tennis program. to itstennis traditional architecture design.” tennis program. program. “My goal isheavily to create fun, enjoyable atmosphere where people goal iscreate to create a fun, enjoyable atmosphere where people “I also“My got“My to be involved in all aspects, not only in where turf butpeople also in how goal is to aa fun, enjoyable atmosphere want to come out and play, and participate in what we have going on,” want to come out and play, and participate in what we have going on,” want tooperated. come out andbudgeting play, and participate in what for we ahave on,” the course From to board meetings, guy going right out of he says. “The junior program in particular is something I want to build. he says. “The junior program in particular is something I want to build. he Isays. junior in particular I want to build. school, was “The pushed rightprogram into everything. It wasisasomething real crash course,” says Blair. believe thatthat with thethe facilities wewe have and the staff ininplace, place, could I believe with facilities have and thestaff staffin place,we wecould could II believe that with the facilities we have and the “Sykes wasone a great mentor and we still talk all the time. I was his first we assistant to have of the best junior programs around.” have one of the best junior programs around.” one of the best junior programs around.” movehave into a superintendent position, and I can think of another five or six guys A vision vision for program program enhancements, coupled with the addition of A vision for program enhancements, coupledwith withthe theaddition additionof of A for enhancements, coupled around Knoxville that got their start working with Sykes as well.” new clinic offerings, social events, and tournaments, isaarecipe recipe for for the the new clinic offerings, social events, and tournaments, is new clinic offerings, social events, and tournaments, is a recipe for the Blair’s favoritesuccess thing about not just Holston Hills, the job general, is the continued success and growth of the tennisbut program atinProvidence. Providence. continued and growth of the tennis program at continued success and growth of the tennis program at Providence. Heading into his second year at the club,Noblitt Noblittserves servesup up awinning winning opportunity tointo both teach and year learn day. Heading his second atevery the club, Heading into his second year at the club, Noblitt serves up aa winning program with no sign of slowing down anytime soon. in anything. I program with no sign of slowing down anytime soon. “Each day is different and there is by no means a guarantee program with no sign of slowing down anytime soon. always love looking over the course at the end of the day and seeing all the things that we have accomplished. I have seen many sunsets and sunrises over the years and every time I am amazed at the beauty of nature.”













































William Noblitt Noblitt has has big big plans plans William WHEN DISCUSSING THE GOLF COURSE at Holston Hills Country Club with Noblitt has bigClub plans forWilliam Providence Country Club for Providence Country Superintendent Ryan Blair, the first word that comes to mind is passion. After serving more 18 years as the man responsible for keeping the greens and for than Providence Country Club

Summer 2019



Club Happenings TREYBURN COUNTRY CLUB KIDS JUICE AND DRAW While the adults delighted in a night of wine education, the kids had a bit of a lesson as well in their Juice and Draw event. The night featured the artist Picasso with the kids coloring in faces and cutting them out and arranging the components in a collaged and cubism fashion. The group enjoyed their favorite cuisine and several juices for sipping!

THE RESERVE GOLF CLUB SUMMERTIME FLAVORS New Chef Rhett Sorg is bringing exciting additions to The Reserve dining scene. With lunch and dinner features to kick the summer off right, he has dazzled members with his versatility and creativity. The new favorite? A flatbread sandwich with sliced turkey, brie cheese, baby spinach, apricot preserves and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples.

SEDGEFIELD COUNTRY CLUB CATCH OF THE DAY Looking for our Sedgefield kiddos? They’ve “gone fishing!” SCC Kid’s Club adventures included feeding a shark, carrying eggs like penguins, eating Goldfish® crackers and having fun in the sun. The kids and activity staff alike brought their imagination and plenty of energy for this summer-themed event. 10




What better way to kick off the summer than a backyard BBQ by Badin Lake? Members enjoyed delicious ribs, burgers and hot dogs fresh off the grill, and yard games such as cornhole, bocce, and volleyball. Of course the scene wouldn’t be complete without summertime tunes from the DJ!

BROOK VALLEY COUNTRY CLUB DIVOT PARTY Brook Valley members shared fun and fellowship on the fairways with a Divot Party! While walking the course at dusk and restoring divots with sand, the group learned about the course from Superintendent Owen Legg. Everyone enjoyed complimentary beverages on the course, lots of laughter and learning. And when the work was done, members got to enjoy a fresh and tasty burger night indoors!

MUSGROVE MILL GOLF CLUB ANNUAL MEMBER OUTING Again this spring, members Matt Goodfellow and Thomas Hurley sponsored a group of 12 from Buffalo NY for a visit to The Mill. Six years running, the three-day competition encompasses 36 holes each day, ending with a 6-on6 alternate shot format for bragging rights. Fun and fellowship is the name of the game!


Summer 2019


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Summer 2019


MEMBER SPOTLIGHT by Martha-Page Althaus

Family Matters FAMILY CAN TAKE MANY FORMS, and perhaps no one knows this more than three families in Greenville. The Hinnants, Porters and Winklers leaned on each other for inspiration and support while growing their families through adoption.


Darrell and Courtney Hinnant knew they wanted to expand their family and felt a strong pull to consider adoption. It was a video chat with an orphanage in South Africa that changed the course of their lives. “Price’s beautiful little face popped up on the screen and he saw Courtney,” recalls Darrell. “The first thing he said was, ‘Oh, hello mommy!’ And he never wavered from that very first moment. It was so surreal.” 14


When the time came to travel to Johannesburg, the entire family made the trip, including the Hinnant’s then 8-year-old daughter, Marycarson; 5-year-old son, Oliver; plus Courtney’s parents. They picked Price up from the orphanage and celebrated his fifth birthday together as a family. During the two-year adoption process, Darrell and Courtney found support in their community. “We spent so much time talking to friends who had been through this journey. Adoption is beautiful, but there’s also tragedy on the other side. Being surrounded by people who have been through it was invaluable,” says Darrell. Price has adjusted to life in North Carolina wonderfully. He’s made friends, is doing well in school, plays sports, and even became

a big brother when the family welcomed daughter Cora in late 2018.


When the Hinnant family shared their adoption news with friends and neighbors, Matt and Kristen Porter felt a divine sense of duty. “We’re supposed to live out our faith, and we knew there was something else that God wanted us to do,” says Kristen. In October 2015, Courtney Hinnant forwarded an email to Kristen from her adoption agency with a photo of a young girl in the Philippines. Kristen almost didn’t see it, but Matt clicked on it. “He saw the photo of this 8-year-old girl and said ‘This is our daughter.’ He knew instantly.” “Her name was Elma, she was 8 years old, she had cerebral palsy… and she had the


Three heart-warming adoption stories most amazing smile,” says Kristen. Ten months later, Matt and Kristen spent a week in the Philippines and brought Elma home to three siblings: Noah (age 12), Anna (age 10), and Maggie (age 7). Today, she is an energetic 12-year-old, always smiling, and loves to play. She swam on the Brook Valley swim team last summer, surrounded by cheering supporters. For the Porter family, support from the community has been overwhelming, including everything from hosting a fundraiser at the pool to greeting them at the airport when they brought Elma home. “We joined our local adoption group, Not Forgotten, for families who are considering adoption, going through the process, or are post-adoption,” says Kristen.


Friends with the Porter and Hinnant families, Rich and Emily Winkler had long felt called to adoption. “We were never even considering international adoption,” says Emily. “Our hearts were open to foster care, but that didn’t work out for us. Then a program in Poland piqued our interest.” They soon found out about three biological Polish brothers needing a home and thought the trio would fit well with their three biological sons. Of the 18-month process, Rich says, “It felt like jumping off a cliff. It’s the scariest thing we’ve ever done.” In August 2017, Rich and Emily traveled to Poland for a three-week bonding visit. Their adopted sons — Isaac, Sam, and Zach — spoke barely any English, and the Winklers spoke

little Polish. It was a challenging yet very sweet visit. They returned to Poland two weeks later with their three biological sons Liam, Max, and Tyler to bring their new brothers home. “These three little guys have been amazing,” says the couple. “They moved here not knowing any English, and now they’re in public school doing so well. They want to do everything — we have one taking violin, one playing piano, one taking guitar lessons. They want to play all the sports, including swim team at Brook Valley CC.” Through it all, the Winklers relied on their community support system. “It was so helpful for us to get plugged into an adoption support group full of people who had gone through or were going through the process,” says Rich.


Summer 2019



Serving Up a

Winning Fundraiser Providence members team with club to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand WHEN TRINA BLANKENSHIP AGREED LAST YEAR to organize the annual ladies tennis charity event at Providence Country Club, she didn’t know how much work it would be, but she knew which nonprofit she would choose as beneficiary – Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Her husband, Charles, is vice president of human resources for Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, which has an ongoing partnership with the charity. When the couple attended the organization’s 2018 Lemon Ball in Philadelphia, Blankenship became aware of the full scope of its efforts to change the lives of children with cancer. “I was blown away. Alex was a little girl who had cancer and started a lemonade stand to raise money to help other children with cancer. Her family started the foundation in her honor, and they’ve done an amazing job,” Blankenship said. “We heard from doctors who benefited from their funding for cutting-edge research, and families they helped with travel costs and medical expenses to get their child the treatment they needed. It was pretty incredible.” Blankenship knew she would need help to make the most of the member-guest tennis event, so she called her friend Sharon Dolan to ask if she would co-chair. “Sharon promptly told me no,” Blankenship said. “But within an hour she had read about Alex’s Lemonade Stand online and she called back and said, ‘I’ll do that.’” 16


The pair worked diligently canvassing for sponsorships and donations for silent and live auctions. From tournament entry fees to Jell-O® shots, it all added up: In just four hours last August, 64 women played a round-robin tournament and raised over $17,000 to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

“We tried to think of ways to raise money that would go straight to the charity. Toward the end, we asked for donations and gave examples of what different amounts could do to help with childhood cancer,” Blankenship said. “When the totals came in, we were stunned.” The event was so successful, it was recognized as the United States Tennis Association North Carolina’s 2018 Charity Tennis Event of the Year at its 2019 Awards Ceremony in Pinehurst, N.C. “We had no idea; it was a total surprise,” Blankenship said of the award. “It was a lot of work, but it was extremely satisfying. We’ve passed the baton; the organizers for this year’s tournament will support Make-a-Wish Foundation.” William Noblitt, director of tennis at Providence Country Club, said Blankenship and Dolan did an amazing job organizing the tournament and coordinating the efforts of members and club staff who volunteered their time. News of the event was so inspiring that this year, sister property The Country Club of Asheville hosted a fundraiser for Alex’s Lemonade Stand June 1–2. “As part of McConnell Golf we are always looking for ways to support different charities and give back to our community in meaningful ways,” Noblitt said.


Summer 2019


GOLF by Brad King

Home Course Heroes The ‘Palmetto Players’ earn major accolades at big events RICK WESTON 18


IN A STATE BRIMMING WITH TALENTED GOLFERS, a contingent of McConnell Golf members from South Carolina has risen to the cream of the crop. Hailing from Musgrove Mill Golf Club, The Reserve Golf Club and Grande Dunes, the “Palmetto Players” have enjoyed a particularly impressive recent run of success. In 2018, Musgrove Mill members Robert Lutomski and Walter Todd Sr. were honored as the South Carolina Golf Association (SCGA) Players of the Year, awarded to the top amateur and the top senior amateur in the Palmetto State. The SCGA’s Player of the Year awards are based on a point system earned through performance and participation throughout the course of the year. Points are earned for top finishes in all major amateur events across the United States, but the emphasis of the point structure is put on participation in SCGA and CGA events. Lutomski, who resides in Holly Tree, used a consistent season to win his first amateur Player of the Year award. Todd, who hails from from Laurens, won his third straight senior amateur Player of the Year, joining a select group of Palmetto State golfers who have accomplished the honor.

ROBERT LUTOMSKI The two McConnell Golf members received their Player of the Year awards in January at the annual South Carolina Golf Day celebration at Columbia Country Club. “These guys are all ideal representatives of the best golf being played around the Palmetto State,” said Musgrove Mill Director of Golf Jeff Tallman. “They truly personify all the finest qualities that golf has to offer and everything that is good about the game.” Lutomski was able to win the

“These guys are all ideal representatives of the best golf being played around the Palmetto State.” – Jeff Tallman, Musgrove Mill director of golf


Player of the Year award by just eight points over N.C. State junior Christian Salzer from Sumter. In recent years, SCGA Player of the Year winners have ranged from former tour pros to collegiate players to lifelong amateurs. Lutomski captured one team championship and posted another high finish with partner Weston Bell, who is also a member at Musgrove Mill. The duo won the SCGA Partners Championship and The Member’s Club at Woodcreek in early spring by firing a tournament-low 16 under par. The two would pair up again to finish in a tie for second at the Players Four-Ball Championship at Columbia Country Club, finishing just four shots back of the winners. In late May, Lutomski and Bell competed in the 2019 USGA Four-Ball Championship at Oregon’s Bandon Dunes. “We have pretty similar games,” Lutomski said of Bell. “We’re both longer hitters and have similar iron lengths. We clubbed off each other a lot and (Bell) is really good at reading greens. It’s good to get a (SCGA) championship win, finally.” Todd tied Rick Cloninger and


Summer 2019



ROBERT LUTOMSKI Frank Ford III, who had previously won the senior award in three consecutive years. Among the highlights during Todd’s awardwinning campaign was a victory in the Lowcountry Senior Invitational and making the round of 32 in the USGA Senior Amateur. Todd never finished outside the top-15 in any tournament during the 2018 season. He earned a topfive finish at the North-South Senior

“Golf is a game for a lifetime, as well as for generations to play. These guys continue to demonstrate this, year in and year out.” – Jeff Tallman



WALTER TODD SR. Championship. He finished fourth in the SCGA Mid-Am and made the quarterfinals in the Carolinas FourBall Championship. Todd has been a stalwart in SCGA competitions for many years, having won multiple state Four-Ball Championships with his brother T.D. Todd — also a Musgrove Mill member — and in later years with Greenwood golfer Chip Whitt. In 2017, Todd and his son, Neal, teamed up to win the SCGA DudleySullivan Father-Son Championship. The previous year he paired up with his other son, Walt, to capture that same title. The combination of Walter and Walt — a Musgrove Mill member who played collegiate golf for Winthrop University — has won two Carolinas Golf Association Father-Son titles and two South Carolina Golf Association Father-Son events. “We alternate years with the boys,” said Todd Sr. “One year I will play with Walt in the SCGA tournament and

“The golf course that the King designed for us at Musgrove Mill is one of the most challenging and enjoyable you will find anywhere, which I believe is one of the main reasons it produces such great champions.” – Jeff Tallman

Neal in the CGA Father-Son.” Earlier in the year, Todd paired up with his nephew, Thomas Todd III, to claim the SCGA Mid-Am Four-Ball. “Golf is a game for a lifetime, as well as for generations to play,” said Tallman. “These guys continue to

“This is what I wanted to do with my life and what I had sacrificed so much for. I don’t care how much work it takes or how hard the road gets.” – Bennett Wisner

BENNETT WISNER demonstrate this, year in and year out.” Tallman added that the quality and challenge presented at Musgrove Mill prepares its members for high-level competition. “Everyone at Musgrove Mill is so pleased with and rewarded by the outstanding play and results by our members in a wide variety of state, regional and national competitions,” Tallman said. “Our golf course was designed by Arnold Palmer during the heyday of his architectural career and Mr. Palmer considered it among his very best. It is certainly among his most critically acclaimed. The golf course that the King designed for us at Musgrove Mill is one of the most challenging and enjoyable you will find anywhere, which I believe is one of the main reasons it produces such great champions.” Also in 2018, The Reserve member Rich Weston of Pawleys Island won the 60th SCGA Senior Championship. Competing in the Championship for the first time, Weston shot a final round score of 66 for a tournament record total of 14-under-par 130 at The Patriot Golf Club in Ninety Six, S.C. “Never has anyone come close to shooting 14 under par in that event,” said The Reserve Director of Golf

Donald Clement. “I told him when he won, ‘You never played this good when you were a young guy.’ He laughed and said I was right!” Todd Sr. and Stan Sill of Spartanburg trailed Weston by three shots into the rain-shortened tournament’s final round, before Weston opened with four birdies on his first five holes, and he sealed the deal with three additional birdies on the back nine. Todd Sr. finished in a tie for fourth with a tournament total of 3-under-par 141. Finally, Grande Dunes member Bennett Wisner qualified for the McKenzie PGA Tour Canada after finishing second in his Q-school. Wisner also captured his first

“To see it all come together after working so hard for so long for the love of the sport meant the world to me.” – Bennett Wisner

professional tournament in 2018, the Coastal Players Tour event at Thistle Golf Club in Sunset Beach, NC. Wisner sank a birdie putt on the first playoff hole of the Coastal Players Tour event to beat Zach Edmondson for his first pro victory, earning $2,500. His putt capped off a weekend in which he was 8 under par with rounds of 66 and 68. The Coastal Players Tour is a pro satellite tour based in the Carolinas. “When that putt dropped in the playoff, I was elated,” said Wisner, a native of Hampstead, Md., and 2018 graduate of Loyola University. “I was so nervous; I didn’t even look to see where the putt went after I hit it. I just stared at the ground until I heard the ball go in the cup. To see it all come together after working so hard for so long for the love of the sport meant the world to me.” The next step for Wisner on his pathway to the PGA Tour is to qualify for the Tour. Wisner already advanced through a pre-qualifying tournament to the first of three stages of qualifying. “This is what I wanted to do with my life and what I had sacrificed so much for,” Wisner said. “I don’t care how much work it takes or how hard the road gets.”


Summer 2019

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Summer 2019


AGRONOMY by Brad King

Striking a


Agronomy teams blend peak course conditions with sustainable practices GOVERNING NEARLY 2,000 ACRES of greenspace across three states, McConnell Golf takes its impact on the environment seriously. While striking the perfect balance between pure course conditions for golfers and sustainable environmental practices for the planet takes years of effort, agronomy teams have dutifully accepted the challenge. Let’s catch up on their latest efforts.

HIGH STANDARDS As far as eco-friendly golf courses go, the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP) is the Holy Grail. The award-winning environmental education and certification program helps courses protect the environment and preserve the natural heritage of the game. The program aims to enhance valuable natural areas and wildlife habitats surrounding golf courses in order to improve efficiency and minimize potentially harmful practices. Achieving Audubon certification can also gain golf courses and clubs recognition for their efforts toward saving the planet. Membership in the ACSP has grown steadily since the program began in 1991 - bolstered by collaborative efforts with the United States Golf Association (USGA) – and now includes 24


more than 2,300 golf courses in the United States and three dozen countries worldwide. The ACSP assists each participating golf course in taking stock of its environmental resources and any potential liabilities, then develops a plan that fits the course’s unique setting, goals, staff, budget and time. The path to certification encompasses six key components: • Environmental planning • Wildlife and habitat management • Chemical use reduction and safety • Water conservation • Water quality management • Outreach and education McConnell Golf Director of Agronomy Michael Shoun says achieving Audubon certification is an involved process that demonstrates an organization’s leadership, commitment and high standards of environmental management. Once a course’s unique plan is implemented and the results carefully documented, Audubon International staff visit the property to ensure compliance. Recertification is required every three years to maintain the Certified Sanctuary designation.

Among the McConnell Golf stable of golf courses, The Country Club at Wakefield Plantation is Audubon certified, while Sedgefield Country Club and The Reserve Golf Club are several years into the process, and Old North State Club on Badin Lake has taken steps to renew its certification.

“Getting Audubon certified can take as long as five years depending on how much time a club can dedicate to it,” Shoun said. “Some clubs even hire outside consultants to assist in expediting the process. McConnell Golf has elected to achieve the certification in-house as our staff believes in the cause and is interested in implementing sustainable practices firsthand.” In addition to Audubon certification efforts, McConnell Golf has implemented environmentally friendly programs to, among other things, help save endangered monarch butterflies and honeybees, while attempting to eradicate those pesky mosquitoes.

POWER TO THE POLLINATORS Scientists have known for decades that North America’s monarch butterfly population is in trouble. Habitat loss, weather changes and pesticides have all at one time or another been listed as the primary cause, but the truth is not so simple. There is no easy or single answer and what can be done to stop the monarchs’ decline remains unclear. Last year, The Country Club at Wakefield Plantation started the “Monarchs in the Rough” program in which a variety of plants are allowed to grow in the golf course’s natural areas as habitat for butterflies. “It’s a program that the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) has requested people try so we can increase areas for butterflies to nest and reproduce,” Shoun said. “They’re hoping this will help [the decline] and that if we allow these specific plants to grow in those areas, we’ll see populations start to increase again.” Like the monarch butterflies, there has also been a crisis sweeping the world’s honeybee population. Not only are there fears that there might be a global shortage of honey, but also grave concern about the critical role honeybees play in pollinating much of the food we eat today. The American Beekeeping Federation estimates close to one-third of all the food Americans eat is directly or indirectly derived from honey bee pollination. To address the problem, CC Wakefield Plantation Superintendent Todd Lawrence introduced beehives three years ago. He initially purchased two, then later captured and relocated a third. “With everything you hear about how

quickly bees are dying off, we wanted to help increase the population – and also look at producing some honey,” he said. As she often does, Mother Nature has thrown a few curve balls. While last year Lawrence was able to fill his first jar of honey, the weakest hive perished that fall and the remaining two were lost over the winter. “It’s all part of the learning process,” Lawrence says, “There are many variables at play that impact the health of the bees.” The effort certainly isn’t being abandoned as losing the hives has only underscored their delicate nature and how susceptible they are to environmental changes. Later this year, Lawrence hopes to reinstate the bees. Meanwhile at Old North State Club, a group of volunteers has been focusing on some larger, winged pollinators. As part of the Audubon Society’s Backyard Habitat Program, birdhouses and bat boxes were first installed throughout the Badin Lake community in 1993. Although these initial 90 man-made habitats eventually slid into disrepair, Uwharrie Point residents Larry Ingold and John Ratliff have been leading an effort to revitalize the program. Over the past two years, volunteers have teamed with Old North State Club Superintendent Chris Chapman to add 21 new structures to the 28 original that could be salvaged. The team currently monitors 19 bat boxes, 13 purple martin houses, 32 wood duck boxes, and 78 bluebird houses. Many of the structures are visible from the golf course and clubhouse – which extends benefits beyond the wildlife when it comes to their primary food source. “Bats and purple martins are known for eating mosquitoes and other nuisance insects,” Shoun said. “Being on Badin Lake, it’s a great location for them. Hopefully we’ll see some results where you can go outside without being eaten up by mosquitoes.” Worldwide, the pollinating efforts of bats, birds, bees and insects such as monarchs is worth an estimated $100 billion per year in crop yields according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. However impactful the efforts of McConnell Golf are to aide local ecosystems and bolster the beauty and enjoyment of its courses, it is but one small part in the overall health of the planet. Perhaps the lesson learned here, in helping to re-establish pollinators, is that every little bit counts.


Summer 2019


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Summer 2019


GOLF by Matt McConnell



PRO FOR A DAY Pro-Ams offer unforgettable experiences

YOU’RE EXCITED FOR THE DAY. You’ll be doing something you love. But man, there sure are a lot of people watching you – and cameras clicking. Playing the historic Sedgefield Country Club is a thrill on any given day, but playing the Pro-Ams next to an actual PGA Tour player is on a whole other level. The Wyndham Championship offers two Pro-Am experiences, the first presented by BB&T on Monday and the second on Wednesday benefiting the Louis DeJoy and Aldona Z. Wos Family Foundation. While you are treated like royalty with the Wyndham’s highend customer entertainment, it is the closest feeling you will ever get to actually playing on the PGA Tour. On the first tee, where you get to meet the tour player you are paired to play golf with the next 18 holes, nervousness sets in. “Wow, I am really about to play golf with this guy?” goes through your head while you take photos with him. The PGA player is introduced by the starter to the surrounding crowd in the stands. After he hits his tee shot down the middle and receives applause, your anxiety really kicks in. Your name is announced next to tee off. You must hit a great shot down the middle in front of everyone like the Pro… but you’re shaking. Some people thrive under this pressure, but others find it difficult to just tee up their golf ball. After the first drive, a sense of relief takes over as you begin to walk away from the crowd and really get to enjoy your day. It is so much fun as PGA Tour golfers are very personable and give you all of their time. The atmosphere gets more relaxed from hole


Summer 2019



to hole as vendors serve small bites of high-end dishes from their restaurants. Even though you’re burning calories walking the course with a caddie, your stomach remains full at all times. The caddies fuel themselves for the additional energy needed to carry the golf bags but also get in on the golf action. The par 3 on #16 brings extra excitement as the caddies get their chance to win a free car displayed next to the tee box if they hit a hole-in-one. After you make it through your day up to the elevated #18 green, everyone shakes hands with the spectators viewing from the luxury platforms. It’s an event where everyone wins, as more than half of the Pro-Am sponsorship goes to charity.

BACK NINE BANTER The first year McConnell Golf hosted the Wyndham Championship in 2011, John McConnell was paired to play with Webb Simpson in the Pro-Am. Webb struggled throughout the day, landing in bunkers and missing putts. On the back 30


nine John McConnell turned around and whispered to his sons, “There is no way this kid is going to make the cut.” Four days later Simpson captured his first PGA Tour win with McConnell, his new biggest fan, looking on. One of McConnell’s favorite memories interacting with a pro came in 2015 when he played with Ollie Schniederjans in the

Monday Pro-Am. He told the rookie that his low ball flight was perfect for the windy conditions in the Open Championship where Schniederjans finished in the top ten a month prior. Schniederjans confidently responded by saying, “My game is good anywhere,” as he struck the ball low over Sedgefield’s fairway. That Wednesday, McConnell played with

Tiger Woods, who asked him if anyone had hit the drive into the creek on #18, to which he said, “No.” Well, McConnell was sure sweating it when Tiger teed off on 18 that Saturday, tied with lead, as he came up just 15 yards short of the creek.

In 2017 Wyndham winner Henrik Stenson was also paired with the McConnells during that week’s Pro-Am.

WHERE DREAMS COME TRUE The Rex Hospital Open Pro-Am

at The Country Club at Wakefield Plantation may not be as big as the Wyndham Championship but it is similar in many ways. As Tournament Director Brian Krusoe says, “We strive to provide the best Pro-Am experience on tour.” And it’s true. When you first pull into the property and see the valet parking sign, you know it’s going to be a good day. After picking out your Pro-Am gifts (which are top-notch) you get ready to fuel up with drinks and food in the skybox on tournament hole #18. With the morning tee times finishing up right in front of the skybox crowd, you get lunch and a show while cheering on the shaky putting. Next it’s time to warm up on the range. You jump on your cart and head toward the practice facility. However, on your way through the “Fan Fairway” where food trucks and other entertainment are set up, you notice Tito’s Vodka is sponsoring complimentary bloody marys. Whether or not you stop, you make it to the range where you get to hit Titleist ProVs just like the pros. Like the Wyndham, you check in with the starter and meet your paired professional on the first tee. However at this Tour ProAm, teams play the front nine with one professional and the back nine with a different professional. This gives you the chance to meet two great players and follow them on their journey to the PGA Tour. After teeing off, you get settled in your groove on the course. Even though your pace of play is smooth riding on the course in golf carts, you always stop to eat on the holes that five-star restaurants are sponsoring. From rack of lamb to shrimp cocktail, you are eating well while enjoying a fun-filled day. The 2019 Rex Hospital Open Pro-Am proceeds benefit the new UNC Rex Cancer Center, which just broke ground. You can imagine everyone playing feels good this day contributing to a great cause.


Summer 2019





Back for Seconds Now two-time Wyndham Champion Brandt Snedeker wasted no time earning his ninth career win


Summer 2019


GOLF BRANDT SNEDEKER WALKS FAST, TALKS FAST AND PLAYS FAST. And at last year’s Wyndham Championship, he harnessed all that speed into the ultimate quick start, shooting 59 in the first round at Sedgefield Country Club on his way to a rapid finish on Sunday and his ninth PGA Tour victory. Only 10 sub-60 rounds have been recorded on the PGA Tour since Al Geiberger posted the first 59 in 1977 at the Memphis Classic. Along with Geiberger, only David Duval (1999 CareerBuilder Challenge), Stuart Appleby (2010 A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier) and Justin Thomas (2017 Sony Open in Hawaii) were previously able to shoot 59s and go on to win that week. “It’s been a really emotional and stressful week, to say the least, to start the way I did at a tournament that means so much to me,” said Snedeker, who has been a brand ambassador for Wyndham since he won the Wyndham in 2007. “To have your first Tour win, you ask anybody out here on Tour, it’s always special to him. “It just means the world to me that I was able to do it here in Greensboro with Wyndham Worldwide being the sponsor.” The 38-year-old Snedeker has put together a well-regarded career on Tour. He turned pro in 2004 after finishing 41st at the Masters as an amateur. His invitation to Augusta National came as the result of his victory at the 2003 U.S. Amateur Public Links, a tournament that doesn’t exist any longer. Snedeker played three years on the Tour, graduating to the big Tour in 2007 after finishing ninth on the Tour money list with two victories and a runnerup. He was named PGA Tour Rookie 34



PLAYOFFS For the last few years, the Wyndham Championship has been the final regular season event on the PGA Tour schedule before the Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs begin. As a result, the Wyndham helps determine who makes the playoffs and how the top players are positioned to compete for the FedEx Cup. This year, there is another bonus program called the Wyndham Rewards Top 10. The 10 top in FedEx Cup points after the Wyndham Championship will be rewarded from a $10 million pool, with the No. 1 player earning $2 million.

of the Year in 2007 after winning the Wyndham and earning a trip to the Tour Championship. Since then, Snedeker has risen steadily in the professional ranks. In 2008, he finished tied for third in his first Masters since turning pro. He was tied for the lead on Sunday after an eagle on the par-5 3rd hole but wound up shooting 77. His second Tour win came at the 2011 Heritage at Harbour Town on Hilton Head Island. The following year was his best on Tour. Snedeker beat Kyle Stanley on the second playoff hole to win the Farmers Insurance Open. Later that summer, he finished tied for third at the Open Championship. At season’s end, he won the Tour Championship at East Lake by three shots

“It’s great to have my kids being here when they are old enough to understand what it means, what Daddy does for a living.” over Justin Rose and in the process, won the $10 million prize for capturing the season-long points race for the FedEx Cup. He won his fifth Tour title in 2013 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and won it again in 2015. He won his second Farmers Insurance Open title in 2016. Prior to his 2018 Wyndham victory,

There will be three playoff events this year – down from four in previous years – and the FedEx Cup winner will receive $15 million from a $60 million bonus pool. “Your position going into the playoffs dictates a lot of your chances of winning the FedExCup, dictates how you can think and play, your realistic chances of winning or not winning,” Snedeker said. “As somebody who’s been fortunate enough to win before, I realize how important it is to be in a good position going into the playoffs and also to play well when you’re there.”


Summer 2019


GOLF Snedeker had spent much of the previous two seasons with injuries. “To be injured, to be away from the game for five and a half months, to not know what the recovery was going to look like, to not know if you’re going to be 100 percent again and still dealing with it to this day,” Snedeker said in Greensboro last August. “I guess it’s a fact of life as you get older out here, you’re going to have to deal with certain nagging injuries all the time. It’s always in the back of my mind. It’s been a tough year, year and a half, two years for me, to be honest with you. When you don’t have your health out here and you’re trying to fight through it, it’s really tough because you know what you’re capable of and your body’s not letting you do what you think you should be able to do.” The 2018 Wyndham started with

the milestone 59 that ended with a 20-foot birdie putt on the ninth hole at Sedgefield, which was his last hole of the day. Snedeker’s previous low score on Tour was a 61 at the Buick Invitational in his rookie year. Winning the 2018 Wyndham was the culmination of enough physical healing combined with the difficult work of coming back from serious

injury. But in the end, winning with his children in the gallery – Lily, who was 7 at the time, and 6-year-old Austin – made the victory even more special. “It’s great to have my kids being here when they are old enough to understand what it means, what Daddy does for a living,” he said. “They’ve been telling me for two years they want to see a trophy, they want to hold a trophy and I’ve been failing them for two years. “It’s a great teaching lesson for them. They’ve seen how hard I’ve worked. They’ve seen the amount of time I’ve spent away from them trying to get to this point, so it’s good for them to see, hey, it works, pays off. If you keep your head on straight and do stuff the right way and keep working your tail off, you do get rewarded.”

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GOLF by Brad King

Crowning champions

McConnell clubs partner with top organizations for high-caliber events NEARLY THREE-DOZEN EVENTS played at McConnell Golf clubs this year highlight partnerships with prestigious organizations including the PGA Tour, Tour, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), American Junior Golf Association (AJGA), and the state golf associations from North and South Carolina and Tennessee. “We value our relationships with these organizations and it is rewarding to see the best professionals and amateurs play our courses on a yearly basis,” said McConnell Golf VP of Golf Operations Brian Kittler. “Not only do we as a company enjoy hosting these events, but we also receive great support from our memberships.”

ACC WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP In April, Sedgefield CC played host to the 31st annual ACC Women’s Golf Championship for the ninth time in the past 11 years. Wake Forest senior sensation Jennifer Kupcho, the world’s top-ranked amateur player, made her first appearance since she earned her place in golf history by winning the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur. Highlighted by the top two individual finishers, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons won the 2019 title in dominant fashion — and Kupcho wasn’t even part of the duo. Wake Forest sophomore Emilia Migliaccio put together an outstanding performance to



claim the individual title at 11-under-par 205 — the best individual score at Sedgefield and one stroke shy of the individual record for an ACC Championship set by Duke’s Brittany Lang in 2004. Teammate Siyun Liu finished right behind her with a score of 9-under-par 207, highlighted by seven birdies in the third round. Kupcho carded a 3-over-par 219 in what will be her final ACC Championship before heading to the LPGA Tour. Her Demon Deacons finished the championship with a team score of 850, 14 under par, to capture the championship by eight strokes. Wake Forest won its sixth ACC Championship in program history and first since 2010. “An incredible week,” Migliaccio said. “Of course, I’m happy about winning the title, but I am even happier that we were able to win as a team and I can share this moment with my teammates.” Kim Lewellen became the first head coach to win the conference championship in her first season since the Deacs’ Mary Beth McGirr accomplished the feat in 1985. “The ACC is the best conference in the country, so we knew it was going to be tough,” Lewellen said. “This is what you practice for all season long, for postseason play and winning championships.”

ACC MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP That same April weekend, Old North State

Club played host to the 66th annual ACC Men’s Golf Championship for the 22nd time in the last 25 years. Luke Schniederjans and Noah Norton each fired 4-under-par 68s in Sunday’s final round as No. 8 Georgia Tech defended its conference tournament title in record fashion. Tech captured its 18th all-time conference crown in men’s golf and 10th in the last 14 years. Tech broke its own tournament scoring record by posting a 37-under-par total of 827, eclipsing the 33-under-par 831 by the 2011 Jackets’ team. When the Yellow Jackets won their first ACC Championship in 1985, Wake Forest had already won 18. Tech pulled even with the Demon Deacons this year with 18 championships and won for the 13th time under head coach Bruce Heppler. Twelve of Georgia Tech’s 17 ACC men’s golf championships have been won at the Old North State Club. Georgia Tech finished 15 strokes clear of second-place Virginia, while Wake Forest finished third. Florida State sophomore John Pak captured medalist honors at 13-underpar 203, clinching his one-shot victory over Georgia Tech’s Andy Ogletree.

CAROLINAS MID-AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP In early April, Charlotte’s Stephen Woodard captured the 39th Carolinas

Mid-Amateur Championship hosted by McConnell Golf’s The Reserve Golf Club in Pawleys Island, SC. This year’s Mid-Amateur Championship was shortened to 36 holes due to inclement weather. Nevertheless, The Reserve was in ideal shape and provided a stiff challenge for the 142-player field. Woodard started the final round one shot off the lead after an opening round three-under par 69, and kickstarted his final round with an opening nine two-under 34. The first-time Carolinas Golf Association champion was thrilled about his victory. “I grew up in Charlotte and have been playing in CGA events since I was 11 years old,” Woodard said. “This one means a lot to put my name on this trophy with a lot of great names.”

Broughton’s Peter Fountain won the 4A title, Clayton’s Brady Hooks took 3A, St. David’s Michael LaSasso won NCIS 3A, and O’Neal’s Fulton Smith won NCIS 2A. Smith has signed to play golf for Wake Forest next year, while Van Paris will take his talents to Vanderbilt. Fountain heads to UNC in 2020. Kittler and Carolinas Golf Association Director of Junior Golf Jason Cox founded the contest in 2007. “It has been great to work on this event for 13 years and I believe it has had a positive impact on high school golf in North Carolina,” says Kittler.

Stephan Woodard with Donald Clement


Broughton High School

MCCONNELL GOLF HIGH SCHOOL INVITATIONAL On April 30, some of the best junior golfers in the state of North Carolina descended upon Treyburn Country Club, as it hosted the 13th Annual McConnell Golf High School Invitational. Designed to include top teams from both public and private schools, the field included eight McConnell Golf members and five McConnell Golf scholars. With a team total of 300 (+12), Raleigh’s Broughton High School won its first team championship over one of the strongest tourney fields in recent years, defeating Myers Park by two shots and RJ Reynolds by three. The O’Neal School’s Fulton Smith and Jackson Van Paris fired rounds of 3-under-par 69 to earn co-medalist honors at Treyburn. A few weeks later at the State Championships, Myers Park, O’Neal School and St. David’s School took home state titles. Including three Raleigh CC members — Davis Adams, Wells Armes and Parker Smith — this year was St. David’s third state title in four years. The young men represented the Triangle in individual state championships as well.

Fulton Smith & Jackson Van Paris with Jason Cox

Sebastian Cappelen

Former Arkansas Razorback Sebastian Cappelen turned professional in June of 2014. He Monday qualified into the Air Capital Classic and went on to capture a one-shot victory in his Tour debut. In the long five years since, however, a second professional victory has eluded him. So, when Cappelen opened his final round at the REX Hospital Open at The Country Club at Wakefield Plantation with two consecutive bogeys, it appeared his follow-up win would elude the Dane once more. But slowly, the pendulum swung back in Cappelen’s favor. An eagle on No. 4 jump-started his round, followed by a birdie on No. 5. Cappelen played his final 16 holes in 9 under par for a three-shot win over former McConnell Golf Scholar Grayson Murray and Zack Sucher and his ever-important second Web. com Tour title. Murray, a Raleigh native, played Friday’s second round with Chris Baker, who narrowly missed a birdie putt on the finishing hole for a 59. Baker settled for a course-record 60. So, Murray knew what was possible. In Sunday’s final round, he fired a 10-under-par 61 to get in at an 18-under 266. “I gave it my all today,” he said


Summer 2019


HISTORY by Mike Purkey

The Unforgettable

Summer of ’45 The Jaycee Supreme Open gave Nelson his 14th victory of 18 that year

Knoxville and Holston Hills Country Club for the Jaycee Supreme Open. The event was sponsored by the Knoxville Junior Chamber of Commerce and Supreme Foods. The purse was a whopping $13,333, with $2,000 going to the winner. Nelson was entered at Holston Hills, even as he said he was “overgolfed” after the Memphis tournament. Sam Snead, who had spent 26 months in the


DURING THE SECOND WEEK OF AUGUST 1945, an unbeatable streak ended, which would become an unbreakable record. Byron Nelson’s legendary string of 11 straight tournament victories on the professional tour through the spring and summer ended in Memphis when amateur Freddie Haas Jr. won the Memphis Invitational. Nelson tied for third, six shots back. The next week, the tour came to



joined Snead, Harold (Jug) McSpaden and Craig Wood for a fundraiser at Oakmont Country Club in Pittsburgh, Pa., for the hospitalization and rehabilitation of injured servicemen. That was one of many events that Nelson played to raise money for the war effort. Also in the Knoxville field was Jimmy Thomson, who grew up at Holston Hills when his father, Wilbur Thomson, was the pro. The younger Thomson, one of the longest hitters on tour, held the Holston Hills course record of 63. Fred Corcoran, the tournament manager of the PGA who ran the tour events, wanted the pros to play Holston Hills from the front tees, 6,301 yards at the time. But Charley King, a member of the Holston Hills golf committee, insisted the players compete from the back tees at a hefty 6,993 yards, a brute of a course for 1945. Corcoran floated a compromise of two days from the back tees and two days from the front tees but King was having none of it. “I told (Corcoran) that the fans wanted to see the stars turn loose,” King said. The 72-hole tournament was originally to begin on Friday, Aug. 24, with 18 holes, the second 18 for Saturday and finishing with 36 holes on Sunday. But Corcoran decided to change the schedule and begin the event on Thursday with 18 holes a day. “The PGA frowns on 36 holes for its members during the summer months,” Corcoran said, “because the extremely hot

“The PGA frowns on 36 holes for its members during the summer months because the extremely hot weather takes too much out of the players and they can’t play their best brand of golf.” Fred Corcoran, tournament manager of the PGA

U.S. Navy, was in the field, as was Lt. Ben Hogan, who was serving a two-year hitch in the Army Air Corps as the country was deeply embroiled in World War II. The 33-year-old Nelson had hemophilia, a blood disorder that caused his blood to clot four times slower than normal. The condition kept him out of military service but he was no less a patriot. The week after the Jaycee Supreme Open, Nelson 41



McConnell Golf THE


weather takes too much out of the players and they can’t play their best brand of golf.” The Jaycee Supreme Open field was small – just 36 professionals and 24 amateurs. That was the case for most of the tour because many of the pros were active duty service members. Haas led the amateur contingent. Since professional golf at this level was new to Knoxville, fans were asked to follow a few rules of etiquette, including: “Do not walk through or across any sand trap – it is tough enough getting out of smooth sand.” Nelson was often referred to in the press as the “Toledo umbrella man.” The Toledo part came from his job as head professional at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. In those days, nearly all of the touring pros had jobs at country clubs in addition to playing in competition. Nelson was from Waxahachie, Tex., but the newspapers used the club affiliation as the pro’s hometown. Nelson had dinner with Inverness member Cloyd Haas, co-owner of HaasJordan, a successful manufacturing company that made umbrellas. Nelson asked Haas to make a suitable golf umbrella, one that wouldn’t collapse or leak. Nelson introduced the finished product to the tour and as a result, Haas-Jordan entered the golf business. MAGAZINE

At each tournament Nelson entered, he visited all the department stores in town and dropped off his Haas-Jordan business card. He was paid $25 per call. Thus, the Toledo umbrella man. Despite Nelson’s being “overgolfed,” he took to Holston Hills immediately, shooting a 6-under 66 in the pro-am, leading his team to victory. Snead shot 71 and declared the 12th hole at Holston Hills “the hardest par-4 in America.” The next day, in the tournament’s first round, Nelson picked up where he left off by winning 11 in a row, shooting 67 to take the lead by one shot over Hogan, Haas and Toney Penna. In a rainy second round, Nelson added a 69 for an 8-under 136 total, four shots ahead of Haas and five in front of McSpaden and Penna. Nelson could only manage a 1-over 73 in the third round but held onto his four-shot lead over Haas and Hogan, who climbed the leaderboard with a 69 on Saturday. But on Sunday, Nelson reestablished his dominance on the pro tour, shooting a 5-under 67 to win the Jaycee Supreme Open by a commanding 10 shots over runnerup Sam Byrd, 11 over Hogan and 12 in

front of Haas and McSpaden. It was Nelson’s 14th tournament victory of 1945 and gave him a total of $50,966 in winnings for the year, which was a tour record. Nelson won four more times that year and his 18 victories in a year is another professional record that is likely never to be broken. The pro tour returned to Holston Hills in 1946 but the tournament was known then as the Knoxville Invitational. The purse was $10,000 and the event moved to the middle of October. Nelson did not play in 1946, by then having retired from full-time tournament golf at age 34 to tend to his ranch in Roanoke, Tex., which he bought with his recordbreaking 1945 earnings. Neither was Hogan, Snead nor U.S.

Nelson re-established his dominance on the pro tour, shooting a 5-under 67 to win the Jaycee Supreme Open.

Open champion Lloyd Mangrum in the field. Herman Keiser, who beat Hogan by one shot to win the Masters the previous April in one of golf’s greatest upsets, took the firstround lead and never looked back. After posting a first-round, 1-underpar 71, Keiser told KMOX Radio, “I believe today’s high scores were due for the most part to the fast greens and lengthy course. When I say fast greens, I don’t mean they are too fast… in fact, they are ideal. After today, I believe you’ll see the scores going down, but I don’t believe anybody is going to consistently break par in this tournament.” Keiser was right. After leading the tournament after 36 holes at 2-under par, Keiser finished 72 holes at 3-over 291, good for a one-shot victory over Chick Harbert. But to show you which sport was king in 1946, the Knoxville Invitational took the day off on Saturday so the players could attend the TennesseeAlabama football game. Saturdays in October were sacred in Knoxville even then. (Special thanks to Holston Hills member John Stiles for his contributions to this story.)


Summer 2019


GOLF by Brad King

Junior Phenom

Akshay Bhatia prepares to take his game to the next level MCCONNELL GOLF SCHOLAR Akshay Bhatia’s storybook reign as junior golf’s dominant superstar is nearing an end. But those following the career of the lanky 17-year-old from Wake Forest sporting square-frame glasses, precocious calm under pressure and prodigious length know that for Bhatia, the end of one era undoubtedly signifies the start of another. With a champion’s supreme confidence, Bhatia announced on the first day of recruiting that he plans to forgo college and turn professional when he turns 18 — adding that his goal is to be the world’s No. 1 player by 2030. This summer, Bhatia said he plans to continue entering Monday qualifying at a handful of PGA Tour and Tour events. “I just want to be out there on tour and I know I have the game to do it,” he said. “If I get out there and perform, it’ll take care of itself.” The 6-foot, 125-pound Bhatia took online classes during high school under the tutelage of his parents, Sunil and Renu. At the same time, he compiled one of the most impressive junior golf resumes in recent memory. The first-ever back-to-back Boys Junior PGA Champion and highestranked member of the 2018 Boys U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team, Bhatia won the prestigious Junior Invitational at Sage Valley and the AJGA Polo Golf Junior Classic, while also representing his country in the Youth Olympics. Last year’s AJGA Rolex Junior Player of the Year, Bhatia advanced to match play at the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball with partner and CC Wakefield Plantation member Grayson Wotnosky. He was also a member of the inaugural U.S. Presidents Cup team. But there remains one final, amateur box left to check. In August, Bhatia will almost assuredly be selected as the first junior to 44


make the U.S. Walker Cup team since 2011, when Jordan Spieth and Patrick Rodgers both made the squad before beginning their college careers. A biennial competition pitting 12-man teams from the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland — and arguably amateur golf’s most significant event — this year’s Walker Cup will be contested Sept. 7-8 at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England. In December, Bhatia was one of 16 prospective team members invited by U.S.

Team Captain Nathaniel Crosby to attend the Walker Cup practice session. Bhatia was the first junior golfer to be invited since Jim Liu in 2012. If he makes the team, Bhatia will be the youngest U.S. Walker Cup player ever. “To represent your country amps you up,” he said. “If I can be one of those guys to contribute to this team and win it for Captain Crosby, it would mean the world to me. It’s the biggest event as an amateur.” In March, Bhatia made his PGA Tour debut at the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla. He was invited to play on a sponsor exemption, but missed the cut by

three strokes. After frequenting Monday qualifiers last year, Bhatia got through one for the first time in April to earn his debut Tour start at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Championship in Prattville, Ala. Bhatia made the most of his opportunity by making the cut at the rain-delayed event. “Anytime I can step up and play against pros, guys who have been on the tour, it’s great,” Bhatia said. “I get a little taste of it before I actually turn pro. It’s cool.” A first-round 73 left Bhatia outside the top 100, but he bounced back in round two with a two-under 70, moving into a tie for 40th and good enough to advance to Saturday play. Bhatia had the benefit of playing with Davis Riley, a former Alabama All-American now in his first year as a pro. “I asked him about college. ‘How was it?’ The decision to turn pro now versus after you graduate,” Bhatia said. “It was fun because he’s in my age division, sort of. He kind of understands my language.” As he prepares for the future, Bhatia said he would never forget his junior golf experience, and the impact he has made on the game and those around him. “It’s been great,” he said. “A lot of people look up to me and that’s something I do not take for granted. It’s self-belief, I don’t care if I’m ranked 20th or first or whatever, I’m still going to believe I’m number one. That’s the mindset my coach and I have tried to work on.” Bhatia’s coach, Chase Duncan, said there is something different about his star pupil. “The best way I can describe it, you hear a lot of positive self-talk, a lot of clichés, a lot of saying the right things; but he’s been so focused, so tunnel-visioned about what he’s doing, and he’s winning these tournaments by some big margins,” Duncan said. “I realize how ridiculously bold and outlandish this is, but I would absolutely bet on him. I think he’ll end up being the No. 1 player in the world.”


“I think he’ll end up being the No. 1 player in the world.” CHASE DUNCAN, BHATIA’S COACH


Summer 2019


GOLF by Brian Kittler

Improving YOUR GAME

SkyTrak simulator allows indoor practice at The Country Club of Asheville AS WE ALL EXPERIENCED, rainfall in 2018 was significant. In fact, most reported totals from the National Weather Service were at least a foot above average, with many cities in North Carolina setting records. On the bright side, rain and snow couldn’t stop members at Country Club of Asheville from working on their game this winter thanks to SkyTrak. With the help of the Men’s Golf Association, Director of Golf Matt Stewart and his team installed the indoor golf simulator in the Cardinal Room this past December. This system allows members to improve their game year-round, practice anytime regardless of weather, and provides opportunities for games and entertainment. Within its first three months at the club, the CCA professional staff did over 100 lessons and 25 club fittings, in addition to members playing over 50 rounds of golf on the many courses 46


SkyTrak has to offer. The system is extremely valuable in providing information that gives golfers of all levels a better understanding of what equipment to play with and why, by tracking how far they hit each club in their bag - not to mention the ability to play some golf during the slow winter months and keep their game in shape. SkyTrak has been an asset to Stewart and his team as a teaching tool, helping to educate members about equipment options and keeping them engaged during the off-season. “One huge benefit we have experienced by having SkyTrak has been the interaction with our members on those cold winter days or rainy days where most might stay home due to the weather. Instead, they are coming to the club to play, practice, or get lessons and club fittings on SkyTrak.” A frequent user of SkyTrak is CCA member Randy McKinney, and he

agrees with Matt. “What a great addition to the Country Club of Asheville! It’s a great way to practice year-round and in all types of weather. It gives me instant, accurate feedback on every swing.” In addition to improving members’ games, the golf operations team has scheduled social events utilizing SkyTrak. During the NCAA Sweet 16 Basketball Tournament in March the staff hosted Hoops, Wings and Swings. Forty members attended to enjoy wings, a nacho bar and draft beer specials in addition to having a closest to the pin contest while watching the tournament and their brackets. The excitement surrounding SkyTrak shows no sign of slowing. Moving forward, it will continue to be incorporated as an element of interactive fun at club events and as a way to “tag along” for the last three majors this season.

The Power of Partnership Working for You The Power of Partnership Working for You In partnership with BB&T, one of the nation’s largest and most respected financial institutions, In partnership with BB&T, one of the nation’s largest and most respected financial institutions, BB&T Scott & Stringfellow has the resources to support our clients with comprehensive, BB&T Scott & Stringfellow has the resources to support our clients with comprehensive, customized investment guidance – and then go further, ensuring their investments are fully customized investment guidance – and then go further, ensuring their investments are fully integrated with other components of their total financial strategy. Give us a call today to learn integrated with other components of their total financial strategy. Give us a call today to learn more about how this partnership can work for you. more about how this partnership can work for you. C. Douglas Bray, CFP®, CIMA C. Douglas Bray, CFP®, CIMA

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Actively Fit Treyburn Country Club’s new Wellness Center inspires healthy lifestyles KNOW THE FEELING OF being stuck in a workout routine? Or worse, not really having one? The new Wellness Center at Treyburn Country Club is helping members shake things up with modernized offerings and a burst of inspiration. With the former gym space offering only 832 square feet, lacking natural light, and suffering from bad air flow, it was time for an upgrade. Considering Treyburn’s location 11 miles north of city center, McConnell Golf wanted to provide a well-rounded, modern, and welcoming facility that’s close to home. On June 1, Treyburn opened the 1,748-square-foot facility to the membership with all-new strength and cardio equipment. The ceremonial day was full of activities, free classes, raffles, and a sampling of healthy snacks. Repurposing a former dining room, the new space enjoys natural light from two walls of windows, while an exterior door will allow key-fob access outside of clubhouse hours after phase two of the project is completed in 2020. Balance is a key factor in designing a gym, and this 48


one strategically offers equipment for the entry-level exerciser to the seasoned athlete. This being McConnell Golf’s sixth expanded or new fitness center project in seven years, Treyburn benefits from the expertise that comes with designing offerings to fit each club’s unique needs. Members need both machines they are already comfortable using as well as new options to mix things up. For the project, McConnell Golf partnered

with Dave Marsic, owner of Prosource Fitness Equipment. “The new fitness center has its roots in the tried and true machines that build the base of any competent fitness facility,” Marsic said. “We wanted to include equipment that is popular for members with varying degrees of exercise experience.” Joining the ranks at Treyburn, a full-time wellness and activities director as well as contract personal trainers will be available to help members get the most from their new gym. Additionally, a variety of group fitness classes will be offered during peak hours and will include everything from Pilates and yoga to strength and conditioning classes. McConnell Golf Chief Operating Officer Christian Anastasiadis summarized the effort nicely: “The quality of life that active lifestyles ensure is long-lasting and centers on wellness as a whole. In its mission to build ‘clubs of the future’ McConnell Golf is committed to provide members access to modern fitness and wellness offerings through golf, tennis, nutrition, and fitness.”

MIX IT UP Whether just starting out or looking to up the ante, the right equipment allows members to tailor workouts and scale to keep challenging them as they build strength. For example, Treyburn’s new Alpine Runner might look like a standard running machine, but the Alpine inclines 30 percent – three times that of a standard treadmill. Its high handrails allow for comfortable “alpine climbing” and it can be tailored for everything from high-intensity training to a daily walking routine.



2 min.




2 min.




2 min.




2 min.




2 min.




2 min.





Take a five-minute recovery after warmup to bring your heart rate down and allow you to burn more fat during your workout. Your speed and incline may need to be adjusted during your 12 minutes of work. The goal is to get your heart rate up to a high zone for three minutes, followed by one minute of rest. A guide is below but heart rate and intensity will vary with each individual.






























After completing the interval portion, decrease the incline to from 1 percent to 2 percent and continue to slow down your heart rate at a slow-pace walk for three to five minutes.


This particular piece of equipment can reach an incline of 30 percent, which will get your heart rate up in no time. To complete high-intensity interval training workout program, you can utilize this increased incline more than the average treadmill to reach your fitness goals.


Warm Up

Fast jog or walk



Increase every 2 mins

Active Sprint or speed walk 0:20 30%

(8 Rounds) Rest

Rest pace


Decrease to comfortable


Slow walk


Decrease to comfortable

Each person will vary on how many rounds he or she completes, but set a goal for the day on how many rounds you want to get through. The great thing about HITT training is that it gets and keeps your heart rate up, burning more fat in less time.


Summer 2019


TENNIS by Jamie Waggoner

Plan your getaway Tennis groups head out of town for competition – but mostly for fun BEING NEW IS CHALLENGING. We’ve all been the new kid at school who wants to meet new people and find his or her place. Well, if you’re a tennis player and new to McConnell Golf there’s a great way to make friends via the Men’s and Women’s tennis groups 50


that travel to sister properties for fun weekend getaways. According to Kyle Thortsen, McConnell Golf director of tennis, Old North State Club has been the most desired destination for both women’s and men’s trips. In addition to the club’s extraordinary tennis and golf

offerings, the marina epitomizes fun in the sun. Down time during these trips centers on boating and taking in sweeping views of Badin Lake. “The men’s group has traveled to Old North State, while the women’s group has explored both Old North State and Country Club of Asheville.”

The groups keep a tight schedule to make the most out of their threeday weekends. On the Friday they arrive, members enjoy a meet and greet round robin to break the ice, which is great for the newcomers. Next, members participate in a clinic to sharpen their skills, followed by a delicious lunch held at the tennis center. The day on the courts closes with a tournament to challenge each member to the best of his or her abilities. After the thrill of competition and a long day of tennis, the group welcomes a little down time before dinner. At Old North State this could include hanging out by the pool,

boating or watching the sunset lakeside from the club’s trademark Adirondack chairs. If the tennis group is at Country Club of Asheville, they can explore the scenic and historic downtown area or venture into Pisgah National Forest’s natural beauty. For Country Club at Wakefield Plantation member Phil Gugliotta one of his favorite memories on one of two tennis trips he’s been on is his win during a championship round with his friend Chris Bricker. The two won store credit for their victory! Surrounding Father’s Day, he adds, the trips serve as an excellent Dad’s retreat.

Gugliotta says, “The trips are a lot of fun because there are all different levels attending, so it is nice to be able to experience different levels of play.” He added that they are also a great way for new members to meet people. He applauds Thortsen and Head Tennis Pro Cory Oliphant for keeping the trips fun and organized, on and off the court. “I enjoy a round of golf on the Friday we arrive, tennis all day Saturday, and being able to relax with friends,” he shares. The real magic, of course, is how comradery from the courts transitions into recreation. Gugliotta laughs as he recounts one of his funniest tennis trip memories. While boating, the group ran out of supplies. Rather than everyone go back to the dock, one of the men eagerly took the plunge and swam back to restock. Now that’s teamwork! If you’re looking to meet new people, take a well-deserved trip, or even tune-up your game, McConnell Golf tennis trips are a great way to do so. From casual round robins to competitive championship matches, all levels are welcome. It’s all about coming together and having a great time.


Summer 2019




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Summer 2019


CULINARY by M. Linda Lee

The Joy of Sharing A sister club exchange program allows McConnell Golf chefs to mix things up THERE’S WISDOM IN THAT OLD ADAGE, “two heads are better than one,” especially when it comes to dining programs at McConnell Golf. “We asked our chefs to take a turn both hosting a chef and visiting a chef during the year,” says James Patterson (aka JP), the company’s corporate executive chef who oversees the culinary programs at Sedgefield Country Club and The Cardinal by Pete Dye. “It could be any type of event, a beer dinner, a wine dinner, a farm-to-table dinner, even a member-guest.” Each of the sister properties differ based on size, membership, and activities, and each chef has his own style and menu. Some are more formal, others laid-back. So the informal exchange program lets the chefs switch things up. “It gives us a chance to step outside our box and our comfort zone, and go to another property and see what that chef and that staff deals with on a daily basis,” states Chef JP, who honed his cooking skills in the distinguished kitchens of Cypress and Magnolia restaurants in Charleston, SC. “It gives us a chance to do things for another club’s membership that they may not see on a regular basis, and gives us a chance to see what the chef at that property is capable of.” 54


Visiting other clubs expands each chef’s knowledge and skills, while giving them a feel for a club other than their own. “When I go to Sedgefield, not only do they have a bigger membership base than we do and they’re busier than we are, but they have more staff. So you have more people and ideas,” explains Patrick Budniewski, executive chef at Holston Hills

“Anytime we get an opportunity to cook with another chef or another staff or even go to an event where we’re volunteering our time, it broadens our horizons and gives us an ability to see different styles, different flavors, different presentations.” – Executive Chef James Patterson

Country Club in Knoxville, Tennessee. He especially enjoys looking over other chefs’ menus and seeing how that membership responds to different dishes. This, in turn, gets the creative juices flowing. “Just talking with other chefs gives me new ideas and perspective on new things to do,” says Budniewski, a New York native who likes to reinvent Southern classics. He recently did a Sunday brunch at The Country Club of Asheville with Chef Bruce McIntosh, to which he brought local cheeses and Benton’s bacon from East Tennessee. “We used the bacon in three ways—we even made coconut, chocolate chip and bacon scones.” At the suggestion of one of the Asheville line cooks, they also made a bacon-maple glaze to drizzle on the scones. “I had no idea how the membership would respond to it,” Budniewski admits, “but we ran out of scones about halfway through brunch that day.” From plating styles to recipes, the chefs bring ideas they get from working events at other properties back to use at their own clubs. It might relate to a menu item, like the popular frozen grapes that JP borrowed from McIntosh, who puts them on his kids’ plates at CC of Asheville, or the idea of setting


Summer 2019


CULINARY up grilling stations on the golf course during a member-guest tournament that Budniewski first saw at another McConnell club. It could be as simple as the way a banquet is set up. When McIntosh worked with JP at Sedgefield, he noticed that they spread their banquet items out around the room, creating stations of food rather than a straight banquet line. Similarly, he was inspired to jazz up his club’s snacks by Chef Todd Jackson who makes his own beef jerky for golfers at The Country Club at Wakefield Plantation. In addition to these individual visits, all the chefs come together each year for the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield. The result is a collective culinary brain trust. “Anytime we get an opportunity to cook with another chef or another staff or even go to an event where we’re volunteering our time, it broadens our horizons and gives us an ability to see different styles, different flavors, different presentations,” declares JP, who makes it a point to visit other cities to stay on top of current culinary trends. “There’s so much to gain from working with other people.” Yet the chefs aren’t the only ones who find value in visiting other clubs. Members also benefit from having exposure to different styles of cuisine. “It keeps dining exciting,” Budniewski says. “When Bruce came up [to Holston Hills], we did a health and wellness dinner. He did a demo of an Asian-style gluten-free noodle bowl. It was fun for members to see, and it was something we could do here, too. Every chef has a different style to show off.” Earlier this year, JP went to Holston Hills to help Budniewski with a beer dinner. He had the opportunity to talk to the members 56


Executive Chefs Bruce McIntosh and Patrick Budniewski

and they got the chance to ask him all sorts of questions, just like the members at Asheville did when Budniewski went there. “The members are so happy to see another chef come in,” he reports. “They want to get to know you.” “When a chef visits, they get to see something outside of their norm,” adds JP. At one Sedgefield event, he hosted chefs Jason Neal from Providence Country Club and Todd Jackson from Wakefield. “We let them have their own Knife Fight [based on the former TV show], where they each had mystery ingredients they had to cook with, and our members were the judges. So the members got to see how Todd cooks and how Jason cooks and they got to vote for what they liked.” That type of exchange gives members another reason to come to the club – “it creates another buzz,” as JP puts it. “Whatever we can do to mix things up, that’s what we’re looking for in the club business; to come up with that next idea.”

The visiting chefs program puts the onus on individual chefs to continue to push the envelope. “Visiting other clubs really does push our chefs to be as creative as possible and to give members the best dining experience possible,” JP notes. “And for McConnell Golf, it’s a point of pride to be able to say we’ve got some of the best chefs out there.”

Upcoming Chef Visits SEPTEMBER 14 Chefs Gordils (ONSC) and O’Neill (TCC) compete at SCC

OCTOBER 26 Chef Neal (PCC) travels to WP for Chili Cookoff

NOVEMBER 15 Chef Budniewski (HHCC) visits RCC for Wine & Tapas

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DRINK by Kasey Olive

Refreshing Partnerships McConnell Golf joins forces with local brewery and California vineyard MCCONNELL GOLF STRIVES TO BRING its members new and exciting experiences throughout all sectors of the club. Its latest bounty stems from partnerships with Highland Brewing Company and Juslyn Vineyards. It’s a warm, sunny day. After a round of golf, you head to the clubhouse and reach for an ice-cold beer from your beloved bartender. They might as well have a halo. And that first sip of brew? Ah, pure joy. At a few different times in recent history McConnell Golf sought to put its name “on tap,” but only this year found its perfect pairing in Highland Brewing Company. Highland was founded in Asheville, NC, by Oscar Wong in 1994. Pioneers of their trade, you may be familiar with Gaelic Ale, which was Asheville’s very first craft beer. Their rich history aligns well with another Asheville mainstay, the historic Country Club of Asheville, which is where the partnership took shape. McConnell Golf’s very own Pin High Pilsner has quickly become Head Brewer Jamie Rowe’s go-to after a day on the course. At 5.5% ABV, it features traditional German hops like Hallertau Blanc, Saphir, and Perle. Its nuanced 58

floral aroma and flavor balance the clean pilsner malt body. Cold fermented with lager yeast for a crisp, dry finish, this beer is simply a hole in one. Suitably, the first tap was installed at CC of Asheville in May; however the brew is making its way eastward and will be available at all McConnell Golf properties to enjoy this summer. For those inclined to reach for wine after a long day at work, head to the club for a meal and look for McConnell Golf’s exclusive vintage. Hailing from the wine capital of America, Napa Valley’s Juslyn Vineyards has again delivered a delectable Cabernet Sauvignon and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. Wine enthusiasts have found thriving communities at McConnell properties and with themed events and clubs such as Grape Nuts, the interest in wine continues to flourish. A recent Wine and Tapas event at Sedgefield Country Club featured the new wines. I spoke with Director of Dining Services Maya Panayotova on why the Juslyn wines have become so popular. “People love wines they can relate to a place, experience or memory and that is our everyday goal at Sedgefield – to create memories for our


Next time you’re at the club, try something new – and ask your server for pairing suggestions! members and their families and friends,” she explained. At the event, members sampled the new wines with expertly paired tapas featuring: arugula, artichoke, asparagus flatbread with a ricotta base, chives and basil, finished with lemon oil; crispy

duck wontons; shredded braised short ribs with pan seared gnocchi and a tomato ragout; and an assortment of cheeses. Next time you’re at the club, try something new – and ask your server for pairing suggestions!


OCTOBER 3 - 19

October 4 Decades Rewind

October 11 Next Generation Leahy

October 17 Lords of 52nd Street

October 5 Blood Sweat & Tears

October 12 Pablo Cruise

October 18 Shades of Bublé

October 3 Wine & Food Gala

October 10 Carpenters Remembered

October 13 Marshall Tucker BAND

October 19 Soultown


WELLNESS by M. Linda Lee

Cauliflower Salad

RECIPE SWAPS WELLNESS IS THE SELFPROCLAIMED SPECIALTY of Executive Chef Bruce McIntosh at the Country Club of Asheville, so, naturally, he was our go-to when we wanted some suggestions for making classic summer recipes healthier. A native of California— where healthy cuisine is de rigueur— McIntosh moved to Asheville in 1981 and earned his executive chef certification at Asheville-Buncombe County Technical College. After years of working in different places around the country, he moved back to Asheville five years ago to work with McConnell Golf. At the Country Club of Asheville, the chef and his team bring a cornucopia of healthy ideas to the table. Though McIntosh’s cooking style leans toward French cuisine, he swaps the heavy butter sauces for vegetable or fruit purées, and replaces butter and flour with cornstarch and arrowroot to thicken sauces. “For example, we recently ran a grilled salmon with a pineapple and mango salsa,” he notes. “We also do a pork chop with chimichurri sauce and avocado.”

In addition to accommodating vegetarian and vegan diners, the kitchen team also offers salt-free and gluten-free items. “We do a lot of brown and basmati rice, and a lot of steamed vegetables,” says Bruce. “And we serve all our entrées with three different vegetables, which we make fresh each day.” “For collard greens, we use chicken stock that we make [from scratch] and we smoke turkey legs and use them instead of ham hocks.” Throw in some onion and vinegar, and you have a pot of tasty collards, without all the fat of the traditional Southern version. Portion control is another big focus. For a recent children’s event, the chef whipped up 2oz burgers on little whole wheat buns. “If kids grow up with healthy food, they might turn that way when they get older,” he says. To cut some calories from your summer fare, Bruce suggests substituting your favorite vinaigrette for mayonnaise when making potato salad. Or consider cauliflower as a stand-in for the potatoes (see recipe). The same goes for coleslaw, which is just as good— maybe even better—with an Asian-inspired dressing of sesame oil and rice vinegar (see recipe). Bon appétit!


1 head raw cauliflower 1/4 cup chopped baby spinach 1/4 cup chopped cooked bacon 1 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese 2 Tbsp. finely chopped onion 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. pepper Cut cauliflower into small florets, and mix it with other ingredients in a bowl. Chill several hours before serving.


2 lbs. Napa or Savoy cabbage, shredded 2 Tbsp. salt 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced 1 cup shredded daikon radish 1/2 cup shredded carrots 1/4 cup sliced green onions 1/3 cup rice vinegar 1/2 cup sugar 1 Tbsp. sesame oil Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Let mixture sit in the bowl for about 30 minutes, then drain off any water. In a separate small bowl, mix together rice vinegar, sugar and sesame oil. Whisk until sugar dissolves. Pour dressing over slaw mix and serve. Slaw will keep up to four days.



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Summer 2019



Building Up Steam Clubs offer tons of fun for all ages, from camps to nights out MODERN PLAY HAS TAKEN ON NEW MEANING and direction as parents and childcare advocates incorporate applicable education into everyday activities. STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics — careers are the fastest growing in the country and salaries are sometimes more than double non-STEAM jobs. STEAM-based learning recognizes that life is not a series of multiple-choice questions, but rather a messy, hands-on world where teamwork and creativity reign. It moves away from traditional instruction into more cross-curricular methods like teaching kids how to build a LEGO bridge and test its strength, or using marshmallows and pasta to construct atoms. Let’s take a look at how two McConnell Golf properties are putting STEAM into practice through kid’s clubs, camps and childcare programs.

“Using Challenge Island’s model, we’ve created camps based on Minecraft, Fortnite, and superheroes.” – Karen Weathers



INSPIRING CURIOSITY AT CAMP Many McConnell Golf clubs offer camps during summertime and shorter school breaks to help kids (and parents) get the most out of their time away from school. No matter the occasion, camps are planned to maximize fun and feature a different theme each week over the summer — or for a day the kids are out of school, like President’s Day or a teacher workday. The Country Club at Wakefield Plantation offers summer camps for kids ages 3-5 and 6-11 and feature a variety of entertaining themes, including Animal Planet, Disney, LEGOs, wet ‘n wild, and sports camps for golf and tennis. The club partners with Challenge Island, a local, member-owned STEAM-based company that creates appealing activities to grab kid’s attention but also engage with them to use logic, reasoning, and creativity. One of the more popular STEAM-based camps at Wakefield is Slime Camp. Each day is based on a different theme, like Space Day or Ghostbusters. All activities use some aspects of science, technology, engineering, art, and math throughout the day. Kids often don’t notice they are learning because it’s so much fun. “For younger kids, we did a Polynesian-quest theme with Moana, and for older kids we have a camp where they will be making their own videos,” said Karen Weathers, owner of Challenge Island in Raleigh, NC. “Using Challenge Island’s model, we’ve created camps based on Minecraft, Fortnite, and superheroes.” The Country Club of Asheville also has a diversified camp lineup for kids ages 6-12. Themes include wet ‘n wild, creative arts, and nature explorer. Field trips to an area bird sanctuary and indoor entertainment facility are included for the older kids. CC of Asheville also offers mini-camps for children ages 2 1/2-6 that run both full and half days. Here, the little tots learn about art, science, dancing, nature, and fairytales in age-appropriate and entertaining ways. STEAM activities are threaded throughout all


Summer 2019





camps, from using a magnifying glass to search for bugs in nature, to creating something new out of clay in a pottery class, to trying out new dance moves. Even the youngest kids enjoy water experiments, create volcanos, and explore nature.

DROP & PLAY IN ASHEVILLE The Kids Club at CC of Asheville incorporates STEAM learning into the daily activities of even the smallest children in the staff’s attentive care while filling a need for childcare that many parents grapple with when they begin families. “It’s not like a YMCA where kids play and do what they like until the parents pick them up,” said Laine Kovac, a former preschool director who now serves as director of activities at CC of Asheville. “We use the Learning Box Preschool curriculum, which centers around two different themes every month. Each week the children learn about different shapes, letters, and colors. They also learn sign language and focus on art and music.” Beginning in 2018, the club offers two hours of free childcare per day for parents who remain on-site. This frees up time for moms and dads to grab a workout, practice on the range, or meet up for a tennis match. Drop & Play is available for up to four consecutive hours and minicamps are also offered for non-school days; ages 2 1/2-10. Many CCA members happily use the Drop & Play program and appreciate the steps taken to ensure a vibrant learning community. It is so popular that the Kids Club is going a step further. “Hopefully by next January we will be fully licensed so we can offer fulltime daycare,” said Kovac. “It’s a big perk of being a member and the cost is significantly less than other full-time daycares.”

special dining events or summer cookouts. From 5:30-9:30 p.m., the kids participate in crafts and games and enjoy a kid-centric meal. Activities center on a theme like science or art, and always incorporate a learning aspect into lively fun. McConnell Golf clubs utilize STEAM learning to integrate real-world skills into their camps and kids-club activities. Problem solving, innovation, creative thinking, and communication are key to the foundations of a well-rounded education based in thoughtful play and activities at McConnell Golf. Over the coming months, Raleigh Country Club is also working to integrate STEAM into its Kid’s Club programing. “I think parents really appreciate our programs and activities,” said Natalie

Clemens, director of activities at Wakefield. “We’ve grown our program a lot recently and many of my ideas come from members telling me what they want and think their kids would enjoy. We work with a wonderful group of people, which makes the kids really want to come back.”

“We use the Learning Box Preschool curriculum, which centers around two different themes every month.” – Laine Kovac

AN EVENING JUST FOR KIDS While adult-oriented social events occur a few times monthly across the sister properties, that doesn’t necessarily require parents to find a babysitter. Several clubs coordinate Kids Night Out programs with their more popular adult events to make it easy for all members of the family to enjoy the club. Wakefield’s Kids Night Out usually happens twice a month to coincide with


Summer 2019








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Summer 2019


THE BACK NINE by John Maginnes


Webb Simpson Catching up with the Major winner and North Carolina native WEBB SIMPSON IS AN EXPERT on the highways of North Carolina. He was born and raised in Raleigh, had a standout college career in Winston Salem at Wake Forest and now resides at Quail Hollow in Charlotte. I met a 12-year-old Simpson at Landfall in Wilmington and knew right away that I was meeting a quality young man who shook hands with adults and looked them in the eye. I wish I could tell you that I knew then that he would one day win the Wyndham Championship, the US Open and the Players. Simpson has been on the PGA Tour for a decade now. He has played on two Presidents Cup teams and three Ryder Cup teams. Another decade like the first and he will eventually be enshrined in the World Golf Hall of Fame. Most importantly is the fact that Simpson and his wife balance his career and their five young children. Here is a brief conversation with Webb. JM: The PGA Tour calendar took on a new look this year, there is now a two million dollar bonus for the player that wins the regular season, and the top ten will get paid. How do you think this will affect the Wyndham Championship? WS: First, it was really nice for Steve Holmes and Wyndham to step up and provide the bonus pool. Secondly, I think this will strengthen their field. The course is great and Bobby Long and Mark Brazil do a great job. I hope we as players 68


recognize that Wyndham stepped up and support their efforts. JM: Your life has changed quite a bit since your first victory here in 2011... what do you remember about that week. WS: Lots of memories on several levels. It was my first win and that is always special. JM: Most players on Tour donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get a single home week... does it feel like you get two? WS: Yes, I am fortunate that Charlotte and Greensboro are both home for me. JM: How do you balance a big, young family and all that comes with being a star on the PGA Tour? WS: It is fun. My wife and I both come from big families so we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know any different. We would not change a thing. We are having fun. JM: As the Tour continues to get younger and younger are you okay with being the wily veteran? WS: I am working hard to stay fit and keep up with the young guys coming out. I have lots of good golf left. John Maginnes is a former PGA player and hosts the popular Katrek & Maginnes on Tap broadcast on the PGA Tour Satellite Radio Network.

PR_McConnellGolf_ad_print.pdf 1 2/19/2019 2:46:17 PM

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McConnell Golf, The Magazine - Summer 2019  

McConnell Golf LLC owns and manages private country clubs in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. For more information, visit mccon...

McConnell Golf, The Magazine - Summer 2019  

McConnell Golf LLC owns and manages private country clubs in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. For more information, visit mccon...

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