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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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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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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