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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