McConnell Golf has propelled all 10 of its North Carolina courses into the state's prestigious Top 100 rankings for 2020
McConnell Golf's Carolina Clean Sweep
By Dave Daubert
In total, Raleigh-based McConnell Golf owns a dozen 18-hole, private golf courses, one semi-private and one nine-hole course throughout the Carolinas and Tennessee. McConnell Golf courses are designed by many of history's most celebrated architects, including Donald Ross, Pete Dye, Tom Fazio, Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman and more.
Providence Country Club in Charlotte made the highest debut of any course in the 2020 rankings, going from previously unranked to No. 79 in the state following a renovation by Greensboro's Kris Spence Golf Design.
McConnell Golf unveiled its $5-million Providence CC renovation in mid-2018. Spence moved and added bunkers, reconfigured several holes and transitioned the greens to Champion Bermudagrass, while injecting tremendous character into the layout in the process. Now, Providence CC is considered significantly different than other layouts in the Charlotte market. The original Dan Maples design at Providence opened in 1989 and was tweaked by Mike Gleason in 2006.
In 2020, leading the rankings for McConnell Golf courses is Old North State Club on Badin Lake near New London, which is ranked No. 8 in North Carolina, followed by Greensboro's Sedgefield Country Club at No. 11 and Raleigh Country Club at No. 20.
Sedgefield's Ross-designed layout annually challenges the world's best golfers during the PGA Tour's Wyndham Championship. Meanwhile, Raleigh CC - another Ross design, the heralded architect's last, established in 1948 - is currently in the midst of a restoration overseen by Ross expert Kyle Franz. Raleigh CC began work at the beginning of February and plans to reopen in early October. McConnell Golf estimates the project cost to be approximately $5 million.
Franz played a key role in creating several of the most innovative and acclaimed courses built in the last decades, while also helping enact the restoration plans of several classic courses. That list includes a pair of North Carolina-based Ross designs: the highly profiled restoration of Pinehurst No. 2, where Franz assisted Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw prior to the 2014 U.S Opens, as well as his 2013 restoration work at Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club, which garnered "Best U.S Resort Renovation of the Year."
McConnell Golf's Treyburn Country Club in Durham, another Fazio masterpiece, moved up one spot in the North Carolina rankings to No. 30, while the recently renovated Ross design at Country Club of Asheville moved up a spot to No. 47. The Cardinal by Pete Dye in Greensboro, McConnell Golf's lone semi-private layout, moved up three places to No. 51 in the state.
Another Fazio design managed by McConnell Golf, Porters Neck Country Club in Wilmington, remained No. 71 in the state in 2020. McConnell Golf now owns or manages three top-tier golf courses along U.S. Highway 17 - Porters Neck in North Carolina, along with The Reserve Golf Club and the Grande Dunes Members Club along South Carolina's Grand Strand. Representing the Palmetto State's Upcountry, Musgrove Mill near Clinton is ranked No. 13 in South Carolina by Golf Digest. Among the South Carolina Golf Panel's Top 50 Modern Courses for 2020, Musgrove Mill is No. 18 and Grand Dunes Members Club No. 49.
Rounding out McConnell Golf's perfect score in North Carolina's Top 100 is Raleigh's Country Club at Wakefield Plantation - longtime host of the Korn Ferry Tour's Rex Hospital Open - ranked No. 80 in the state, while Greenville's Brook Valley Country Club remains at No. 96.
"We take great pride in consistently providing our members with golf courses that they are proud to show off to their friends and family. The rankings further validate our efforts," said John McConnell.
Meanwhile, the 2020 state rankings also include a category identifying which courses, by region, boast the best greens complexes, with factors including design, variety, conditioning and bunkering. For McConnell Golf, Raleigh CC and Sedgefield were ranked No. 1 in the Triangle and Triad regions, respectively.
McConnell Golf's impressive portfolio of clubs also includes Holston Hills Country Club in Knoxville, Tenn., and its highly regarded, 1927 Ross-designed golf course. Holston Hills will annually host the Korn Ferry Tour's newly named Visit Knoxville Open after recently signing a five-year agreement that runs through 2024. Most recently the course was ranked No. 4 in Tennessee by Golf Digest.
The N.C. Golf Panel presented its 25th annual report on the state's 100 best courses in the April issue of Business North Carolina magazine. Pinehurst No. 2 claimed its traditional top spot in the state rankings, followed by western North Carolina favorites Grandfather Golf & Country Club in Linville and Mountaintop Golf & Lake Club in Cashiers.
Revised: 04/17/2020 - Article Viewed 714 Times - View Golf Course Profile
About: Dave Daubert
David has been writing about golf since the turn of the century. He was Managing Editor at a regional golf magazine for 11 years, published in Canada, the IAGTO and a Staff Writer for The Georgia Golf Trail. His insightful perspective brings golf to life.