Where Are They Now?

by Brad King

 Mar 22, 2019 at 7:00 PM

Catching up with collegiate standouts: Jessica and Sarah Spicer at Virginia Tech.

In January, Virginia Tech junior Jessica Spicer fired a 2-under 70 at Pinewild Country Club’s Magnolia Course in Pinehurst to win the 10th Carolinas Young Amateur championship. Spicer’s identical twin sister and Hokie teammate, Sarah, tied for sixth in the championship with a 75.

As she typically does, Jessica consulted with her sister the previous night.

“I just tried to do what I always do, which is focus on my own game, shoot the best score I could shoot, and see how it ends up,” says Jessica, who won the 2017 contest as well. “We’re so fortunate to have so many good players from the Carolinas.”

The sisters are the daughters of Michael and Maria Spicer, who have been Treyburn Country Club members since 2006. Jessica and Sarah first excelled at synchronized skating, which they started at age five. They took up golf two years later, and by their mid-teens realized that golf was their sport for the future. They played on Durham’s Northern High School boys’ golf team and earned all-conference honors.

In her sophomore campaign for the Hokies, Jessica finished fifth on the team in scoring average. Her best tournament of the season came in the fall, when she finished 16th at the Lady Paladin Invitational.

Sarah is a redshirt sophomore at Virgina Tech. She did not appear in fall 2017, but competed in two events in the spring, making her collegiate debut at the Hurricane Invitational in March. Sarah finished tied for 36th place with, among others, Jessica.


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Rising Stars

by Matt McConnell

 Jun 20, 2018 at 5:06 PM

Treyburn Country Club’s Rachael Rice, 18 years old, has been playing tennis since she was only eight, and it all started at Treyburn’s tennis camps. At age 10, Rachael began taking one-on-one lessons from VP of Tennis Operations Kyle Thorsten, who has helped develop her skills as a competitive player.

“You hear coaches talk about a dream player to coach, and that’s Rachael,” says Thorsten. “She gives 100 percent effort every time she walks on the court. She takes instruction seriously and applies it until it is perfected. I am so proud of her and cannot wait to see her play at the next level.”

Rachael’s hard work led her to star on her middle and high school tennis teams. She won the North Carolina Regional 2A High School Tournament twice, made it to the semi-finals in the State Tournament, and she’s currently ranked 25th among USTA junior girls in North Carolina.

And her tennis success doesn’t end there. This fall, she’ll be playing tennis at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. She plans on majoring in pre-health and biology, with a minor in foreign languages.

“I enjoy the competitiveness and physicality of the sport … and there is nothing like the smell of a freshly opened can of tennis balls!” says Rachael.

We look forward to hearing more great things about Rachael on and off the court.

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In Good Taste

by Martha-Page Althaus

 Jun 11, 2018 at 4:57 PM

There’s never been a better time to have dinner at the club. Executive Chef Pedro Villasana dishes on everything from locally sourced ingredients to the best entrée and wine pairings.

With 20 years at Durham’s Treyburn Country Club under his belt, Pedro Villasana has crafted countless dinner menus.

“We change the menu monthly to give priority to local items,” he says. “I talk to the purveyors to see what’s available in the coming weeks. This allows us to be creative, plus keeps things interesting for regular diners.”

Villasana’s Mediterranean-inspired menus rely on straight from-the-coast seafood, which he orders from a local company.

“I make the order the night before, and it arrives the next morning,” he says. “We do a lot of North Carolina shrimp, plus black bass, grouper, trout … all of our seafood pairs well with Juslyn Vineyards’ sauvignon blanc.”

Villasana’s affinity for the fresh, light flavors of Mediterranean cuisine can be found in dishes like flatbread with pesto, grilled peppers, Kalamata olives, and roasted artichokes, or seared trout with toasted almonds and grilled vegetable couscous.

But ultimately, it’s Chef’s love of good food that dictates what Treyburn diners can look forward to at their next meal.

“I love food!” he exclaims. “What I like is what I put on the menu. When a member of a country club tells me ‘I come here for the food!’ … that’s the best thing they can tell me.” 

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Spinning Wheels

by Meredith Donahue

 Mar 29, 2018 at 12:19 AM

Improve your Health with Outdoor Cycling

As Spring blooms, fitness and good health become a priority for many. One of the increasingly popular trends in fitness is cycling, and McConnell Golf offers a variety of options for spinning your wheels, whether it’s out on the open roads or in a spin class at your club.

On the Road Again

The “spinning wheels” of life take us all on different journeys. If traditional cycling on the open road is your passion, long-time Treyburn Country Club member Russ Barringer can share his life-changing experience as an avid road cyclist. Barringer has been involved in cycling since the early 1990s. Soon after he begin biking, he and his wife grew their family, which now includes two college-age sons and two daughters in high school.

As many new parents know all too well, a fitness routine can easily fall by the wayside when raising children. Barringer encountered this “new parent” crisis as well. While on a family trip in 2002, he found a scale in his room and decided to take a peek. The numbers were not as expected. So he jumped on his bike and began to pedal.

“With each mile, my health improved and I was losing enough weight to revisit my serious cycling days,” he recalls. “From there, I began taking long distance trips on my bike.”

His dedicated family followed him on these trips, allowing for memories they’ll never forget. His first long distance ride was from Durham to Myrtle Beach. He completed the 185-mile trip in under ten hours, and he helped to raise more than $50,000 for Duke Children’s Hospital.

Barringer has now completed five long-distance rides taking him to 32 states. When he’s not on the open road, he takes a page from Sedgefield’s spin book, riding on his new Peloton indoor bike, a Christmas gift from his wife. Since 2008, he has completed more than 85,000 miles, a feat one can most certainly be proud of at the age of 60.

“If you ever dream of doing something, do it,” says Barringer. “You’ll regret it if you don’t.” 

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Keeping Clubs Safe

by Casey Griffith

 Aug 22, 2017 at 11:30 PM

McConnell Golf takes proactive measures for readiness in case of emergency.

“No one wants to be a hero” is a commonly shared sentiment from those whom have been unexpectedly called into extraordinary circumstances. In close-knit club environments, it’s certainly true that no one wants to visualize a life-threatening event, but that’s precisely what McConnell Golf has challenged its staff to do.

Now in its second year, a partnership with ClubSafe is a means to continually improve emergency response protocol and the staff’s ability to handle distress. On-site safety evaluations are performed at each club, site-specific response plans are created and practiced with drills, and extensive staff training takes place including CPR/AED certification.

While emergency plans were established before ClubSafe’s involvement, auditing them was a priority for Christian Anastasiadis, McConnell Golf chief operating officer.

“Our clubs are a place for members to relax, unwind, and have fun,” he says. “We want to prevent any unsureness about safety anywhere on our properties.”

Last April during the North Carolina High School Invitational at Treyburn Country Club, the staff’s training was employed to respond to a medical emergency.

“One of the officials had a cardiac emergency on the course,” says Tag Wylie, director of golf. “I was inside, but the team knew exactly what to do. We kept the gentlemen cool and calm, though he was in great pain, as we waited for help to arrive. Once on site, staff members guided paramedics directly to him. Speed is everything in such situations and ClubSafe helped us act quickly and with assurance.” Wylie adds that the official returned to the club this year and has fully recovered.

“ClubSafe bestows an invaluable confidence to ‘what if’ scenarios,” says Anastasiadis. “The pride we take in our facilities and staff goes beyond daily club operations. When every second counts, we want members and guests to know that they can count on us.”

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Ask A Member

by Martha-Page Althaus

 Apr 21, 2017 at 6:53 PM

Wilma Lathrup, member of Treyburn Country Club, played 300 round of golf in 2016 (That's 5,400 holes!)

Wilma Lathrup, a retired teacher, moved from New York to Treyburn in 1999. And she hasn’t looked back since. “That move was the best thing I ever did,” she says. “My big passion in life is to be outside, and I can do that here.” Lathrup began golfing when she was nine years old with her parents. “And I hated it!” she recalls. “I couldn’t wait till I was old enough to stay home and not golf with them.” But she eventually developed a love of the game; in 2016, she averaged more than 300 full rounds played. “It’s just what I do,” she says. “I get up. I take care of my cats. I get on the treadmill. Then I go play golf.”

What part of your game have you been able to improve the most over this past year?

I would like to say my short game, but that’s wishful thinking. Probably my ability to drive the ball.

What’s the most memorable round you played in 2016?

I scored a hole-in-one on No. 13 at Treyburn.

Are there any heartbreaking near-misses or blooper scenarios you’d like to share?

A few years ago, I flew to Florida to play golf with my mother. I was so excited, as she was quite elderly. I knewI wouldn’t have many more times to golf with my mom. I went to put my golf shoes on at the first tee, and I realized I brought two left shoes with me! I gave the cart boy my credit card and gave him instructions: Go into the pro shop, buy a pair of ladies white golf shoes size 6.5, and bring them straight here. He did it, and I was good to go!

You grew up golfing with your parents. Who do you golf with now?

I have six grandchildren and I’m determined that one of them will play with grandma! My youngest grandson, Pablo, is 14 ... at that age, you just give them a ball, any ball, and something to hit it with, and they’re happy. They just want to hit it, and hit it far! So right now, Pablo is the one that plays with me. I’ve played quite a few times with him and his dad. It’s so nice. That’s three generations of us on the course. What else can three generations do together and enjoy? Pablo was dying to outhit me, so on the 9th hole, I let him outhit me. I wanted him to go home happy! And he went home happy, wanting to do it again. That’s what it’s all about.

What’s your post-golf ritual?

I take my shoes off and forget about it. I just blank it out of my mind. It does me no good to go over the round and have regrets. I don’t ever think “Oh, I should have made that putt.” It’s forgotten. And the next time I play, I have a clean slate to start all over again.


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Members Corner

by Jessie Ammons

 Dec 21, 2016 at 5:01 PM

Finding and giving support at Treyburn

Most days of the week, you can find Susan Owens at Treyburn Country Club, likely refueling from a round with an Arnold Palmer Iced Tea or leaving the gym after a morning workout. Often, she’s with her husband, Steve; Treyburn has been their way of life for 25 years. “When we first saw Treyburn, we were living in Cary,” Susan remembers. “We looked at Treyburn, fell in love with the course and the clubhouse and bought a lot that day.” They’ve lived on hole number 15 ever since.

Both in their 60s, Steve Owens has golfed for much of his life while Susan picked it up about three decades ago. “I fell in love with the game because no matter how you end up playing, you can always go out there and have a great time,” she says.

While having a great time, Susan has become quite the player, too. She won the club’s ladies’ championship last year and is the president of its ladies’ golf association. She down-plays her success with humility, and says it’s a club community perpetuated by members and staff alike. “The staff we have at Treyburn treats you like family. They know everyone by name.” The familial atmosphere is why, after Susan lost her mother to Alzheimer’s, she worked to organize an Alzheimer’s event at the club. Susan donates a Christmas tree each year to the club in her mother’s honor, because her mother loved Christmas. “I look at Treyburn as an investment,” Susan says. “Now that we’re retired, golf and the club are our main entertainment.”

To that end, Susan loves hosting friends on her home course, and the couple makes a point to visit other McConnell properties. Avid travelers, they appreciate the excuse to explore. “We have friends in a lot of different places, and we love going to stay with them and play other courses.”

But nothing beats coming home to Treyburn. Here, Susan finds the course as enthralling as she first did in 1991. “It’s challenging and it can beat you up; but it’s fair. It changes every time you play. You never set out and just know what score you’re going to get. And the scenery is gorgeous. It’s beautiful out there.”

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