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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The Perfect Day Trip

by Matt McConnell

 Jul 01, 2016 at 4:50 PM

On any beautiful Sunday, I love traveling to Treyburn Country Club From Raleigh, the 45-minute drive takes you through historic Bull City - also known as Durham, N.C. - and into the quiet scenery of Northern Durham. The meandering, bucolic drive is relaxing after you pass the city, and the end destination is one of the most visited McConnell Golf properties. Here are a few high points to hit for a perfect day there.

The Face of the Club

After dropping off your golf bag with the cart attendants, spend time catching up with Director of Golf Tag Wylie. Wylie has been with the club for 16 years and is possibly the most welcoming and accommodating golf pro in McConnell Golf. Besides providing you personalized service, his next goal is to give you a good laugh; so be sure to get as much time with the face of the club as you can.

“Basically, we’re the course in the countryside for the members of Wakefield and Raleigh, who have bigger, busier memberships,” Wylie will tell you. He notes that Treyburn only logged a modest 14,000 rounds in 2015, which means there is always a tee time waiting for you.

Wylie can’t wait to meet any visiting member, but especially appeals to outgoing on-the-go golfers. “The most positive thing is that we try to bring the fun every day for all McConnell Golf members. We have that ‘rustic, I’m out in the country’ feeling, and we’re away from the busy, jamming places and all the construction. If you are regularly entertain clients, McConnell Golf has golf courses in every major city in North Carolina. Everyone feels comfortable and welcomed, always, because they are. The McConnell Golf experience for corporate people is a layup if you ask me.”

"A Jewel of a Golf Course"

I will never forget the late Tom Butters once declaring, “Treyburn is a jewel of a golf course.” Considering that this man was an avid golfer who played some of the best courses in the world, that’s quite the statement. Truly, there’s no better way to describe this Tom Fazio golf tract.

Every hole is unique, flanked by wilderness and wildlife. One of my favorite holes - one I consider a bit of an unsung hero at Treyburn - is No. 3. Every time I am there, I stand in the fairway (if my drive makes it there) to just enjoy the moment, realizing, “This is it, I’ve made it to my sanctuary.” But tranquil moments like this continue as you have 15 more golf holes to go.

The No. 8 tee box is possibly the best tee box to hit off of in North Carolina. Elevated way above the fairway, you are as close to heaven as you are going to get for miles. Not only that, you typically hit your golf ball 20 yards farther.

If you wind up at Treyburn on a hot day, I’ll let you in on a secret: The coolest area to stop your golf cart is between the No. 14 tee box and your next shot. The cart path wraps around to the right at probably the lowest elevation on the course and lies under the shade of a thick wooded area. Not only is it a great spot to cool down, but most of the time you will find deer wandering right by you. Amazingly, the deer are so used to the golfers, they don’t even flinch.

You’ll finish, of course, at No. 18, which is an incredible but intimidating par-four. Depending on your drive, you likely need to lay up short of the green. Surrounded by a creek and some bunkers, 18 is known as one of North Carolina’s best finishing holes. Getting on that green in two strokes is definitely considered a successful day, regardless of your overall score.

A Locker Room of Legends

Following play, walking through the 19th hole to the men’s locker room is a must - sorry, ladies. As you clean up before dinner, check out the lockers of legends such as Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis and basketball hero and five-time MVP of the NBA Michael Jordan. If you don’t have the time to get a guest locker next to these guys, then you at least need to stop by just to lay eyes on these legendary lockers.

Foodie Finish

Assuming you’ve worked up an appetite, trust Treyburn’s executive chef Pedro Villasana to finish the day with an exquisite meal. His culinary work is raved about throughout McConnell Golf, not to mention the welcoming dining room atmosphere. During the cooler winter months, enjoy a cozy, private fireside dinner in the Sanford Library. Any season is a good time for a casual bite to eat in the Fazio Grille. And warm summer evenings call for a meal al fresco on the spacious veranda overlooking the signature 18th hole.

No matter how busy your schedule, find time for a daytrip to Treyburn. No need to wait for a Sunday like me - a visit on any day of the week is sure to be personalized, pastoral, and memorable.

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Paying It Forward

by Lauren Barry

 Jul 16, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Rick Fisher’s personal journey has taken him from corporate executive to a photographer extraordinaire who is giving back

In reality, Rick Fisher has been a photographer all his life.

Working as a corporate executive in the biotech and chemical industries, Fisher constantly found himself with camera in hand. In fact, during his decade in the biotech industry, most employees viewed Fisher as the company’s photographer.

So it probably came as no surprise when Fisher decided to retire from the rat race in early 2006 and began ardently pursuing his interest in photography.

Yet, even Fisher couldn’t have predicted the road he would take.

Since retiring, Rick immersed himself in honing his photographic skills through formal courses offered from sources throughout the country. In January 2011 he formed his own business, Rick Fisher’s Photography, LLC, and in 2012 photographed the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club, the McConnell Golf Cookbook, as well as a number of member events for McConnell Golf clubs. He also joined the Professional Photographers of America and North Carolina. And, somewhere along the line, Fisher determined that the mission of his business would be to donate 100 percent of his profits to charity. “I lost interest in golf and decided to learn everything I could about all aspects of photography,” said Fisher, a McConnell Golf member at Treyburn Country Club.

“Building a small business, practicing the art of photography and giving the profits to charity are such fun. There are few things better than having someone give me a hug and tearing up because they love the image I have taken. It’s hard to put a price tag on that.”

Fortunately, Fisher’s operation has grown from Day One. His first month in business, January 2011, his total revenue was about $250. For the same period this year, it approached $6,000.

“I try to focus on providing quality photography, pleasing my customers and charging a reasonable fee for the work,” he said. “That simple formula seems to be working and the word is getting out. I’ve started to hear from people through referrals of others.”

Fisher said by the end of the year he is on track to exceed $100,000 in contributions to charity since starting his business. Not to mention, “I also provide work without charge to help various nonprofits,” he said. “I work as many or more hours today as I did at any time during my career,” Fisher said, “but most of time it doesn’t feel like work.”

And he spends a significant amount of time educating himself as to the latest software and photographic techniques. “In 2013, I’ll spend about six weeks in some kind of formal training,” said Fisher, who also teaches a number of photography classes at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens and the Museum of Life of Science in Durham.

People constantly ask Fisher what his specialty is - Weddings? Events? Portraits? His answer is always the same. “I do everything - weddings, family portraits, pets, events, sports, nature, you name it,” he said. “I’m getting a growing interest in my nature photography for home decorating.”

“I think I would get bored being too narrowly focused,” he said. “I’m doing this because I love the art of photography. I balance making money for charity with my interest in the subject.

Photo credit: Rick Fisher

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Treyburn Juniors Playing Strong

by Brian Kittler

 Mar 12, 2013 at 3:57 PM

Treyburn’s junior golfers are having a very good summer on the links. McKenzie Barringer teamed up with Director of Golf Jason Harris to win the CGA’s 8th Carolinas Pro-Junior hosted by Greensboro Country Club (Farms Course). McKenzie and Jason shot a six under par 66 to beat four other teams to claim the championship. They got off to a good start with a birdie on their first hole, the par 3 number 8. With pars on the next four holes, they were able to play the next 8 holes in six under par. “McKenzie made everything he looked at. Before we knew it, we were 6 under through 13 holes,” noted Jason. A bogey on their 14th hole stalled their momentum, but they were able to birdie their last hole to card 66. “After we made a bogey on our 14th hole, McKenzie made a huge 12 foot putt on our last hole for birdie, which in the end won us the tournament,” stated Jason. Following this victory, McKenzie qualified for the 99th Carolinas Amateur Championship at Kiawah Island July 11-14. Declared Jason, “I can’t tell you how proud I am of the great player and fine young man McKenzie has become.”

A day after McKenzie and Jason won the Pro-Junior, Jessica Spicer qualified for the USGA US Junior Girls Championship being played this year in Fort Wayne, Indiana July 22-27. She qualified by shooting 75 at the Country Club of North Carolina Dogwood course in Pinehurst. Unfortunately her twin sister, Sarah, didn’t qualify but will be on her bag caddying for the Championship. Sarah did bounce back two days after the qualifier to win on the Peggy Kirk Bell junior tour earning a victory in the Precision Golf School championship at Forest Oaks CC in Greensboro.                  

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