The Nationwide Tour’s Rex Hospital Open is the first of several important golf championships being contested this summer at McConnell Golf venues around the Tar Heel State
(RALEIGH, N.C.) — The Nationwide Tour’s Rex Hospital Open at TPC at Wakefield Plantation starting Thursday will serve as the opening tee shot to a summer of top-flight tournament action for McConnell Golf. Clubs from the select McConnell Golf stable will play host to the North Carolina Amateur, Cardinal Amateur and the Wyndham Championship among others.
The 2012 Rex Hospital Open will be contested May 31 to June 3 at TPC at Wakefield Plantation, which opened in July 2000 and began hosting the event a year later. Another McConnell Golf property, Raleigh Country Club, was the event site for three years starting in 1998, then called the Nike Tour.
Last June, Kyle Thompson rolled in a birdie putt on the final hole to win his second Rex Hospital Open in five years, and needed just four words that day to describe his feelings about TPC at Wakefield Plantation and its Hale Irwin design: “I love this place.”
Two months later, in August 2011, McConnell Golf took over ownership of Wakefield making it the company’s eighth premier golf club in the Carolinas. “We added another layer of sophistication to McConnell Golf that we didn’t have,” said McConnell Golf CEO and President John McConnell.
With the purchase of TPC at Wakefield Plantation, McConnell Golf gained not only another highly ranked golf course in its impressive collection, it also added another well-known golf course architect to its company of others including Donald Ross, Tom Fazio, Pete Dye, Arnold Palmer and Greg Norman.
In addition, Wakefield added the Nationwide Tour to McConnell Golf’s resume along with its PGA Tour presence. Once again this August, after warming up with the best golfers this side of the PGA Tour, McConnell Golf welcomes the world’s finest during the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., from August 16-19.
Also this summer, for the seventh year in a row, The Rex Hospital Open began tournament week with The Rex Hospital Open Junior Invitational at TPC at Wakefield Plantation. A pair of McConnell Golf Junior Scholars – Carter Jenkins and Grayson Murray – won the past three tournaments and earned spots in the field. Murray made the 2010 tournament cut and also qualified for the 2012 event with rounds of 70 and 67.
Plus, the Tom Fazio-crafted Treyburn Country Club in Durham has already played host to the prestigious North Carolina High School Invitational in early April and this summer will welcome the 52nd North Carolina Amateur Championship on June 14-17.
Not to be outdone among the stable of McConnell Golf offerings this summer, The Cardinal Amateur in Greensboro (August 10-12) is one of the nation’s most coveted amateur events with a storied history of matching some of the world’s top players in a competitive but fun environment.
The 2011 tournament champion on Pete Dye’s masterful Cardinal Golf Club, Olafur Loftsson, played the Wyndham on a McConnell Golf sponsor’s exemption, grabbing national headlines as the first golfer from Iceland to compete in a PGA Tour event.
These are just a few of the numerous championship events contested over McConnell Golf properties. Old North State Club served as the host site for the ACC Women’s Golf Championship in the early 1990s. The league was so impressed it awarded Old North State the men’s golf championship in 1995 and has held it there ever since.
“We think we offer our membership some of the best golf anywhere,” said John McConnell “[Along with the Nationwide Tour at TPC Wakefield and the PGA Tour at Sedgefield] the game’s rising stars are playing in the ACC men’s championship at Old North State, ACC women’s championship at Sedgefield and the long-running Cardinal Amateur at Cardinal Golf and Country Club.”
McConnell Golf is an organization dedicated to delivering quality golf and amenities to its members, and having strategically located courses throughout the Carolinas is a big part of the overall plan that brings exceptional value to 3,000-plus members.
McConnell Golf’s high standards and a tradition of championship golf are among the reasons the company, since its founding in 2003, has spent millions of dollars above the club purchase price in capital investment improvements.
During this year’s Rex Hospital Open, TPC at Wakefield Plantation will proudly unveil a subtle yet substantive facelift courtesy of McConnell Golf. A light and warm feel provided by the interior renovation to the 32,000-square-foot clubhouse gives the entire building a brand-new look and feel.
In addition, upon completion of the Rex Hospital Open, Wakefield’s practice facility will also undergo a complete renovation of the chipping green, and the practice target and fairway area. There are plans to add a teaching center to the practice facility as well, which will include indoor hitting bays and video teaching technology that will bring a whole new dimension and an elevated experience at Wakefield Plantation.
Meanwhile, Sedgefield Country Club closed its golf course on May 14 in order to convert its green complexes to a more heat-resistant strain of Bermuda grass. McConnell Golf representatives indicate the facilities will be in pristine condition for the August 16-19 Wyndham Championship.
Treyburn Country Club also recently completed a nearly yearlong renovation just in time for the spring golf season. The first and most vital aspect of the project was to replace the decades-old, Penncross bent grass greens with a newer, more heat tolerant 96-2 bent grass — very similar to Crenshaw bent grass — which will provide a much better putting surface during the summer months. By reseeding the greens, renowned architect and renovation expert Spence and his team were able to rebuild each green to their original specs, while also providing better drainage to each complex.
Also, every bunker on the Treyburn golf course was upgraded with new drainage and the best white sand available, and several new bunkers were added. In some areas, the bunkers were re-designed or moved to increase their relevance and provide better visual shaping of the holes that is synonymous with Tom Fazio golf courses, while others were added for strategic purposes. In addition to the new putting surfaces, bunkers, and irrigation and drainage upgrades, Treyburn’s two-decade-old practice facility also received a face-lift.