Growing Their Game

by Brad King

 Mar 15, 2018 at 12:39 PM

For pros at McConnell Golf, a good scorecard is a job requirement. 

A few of Ryan Tyndall's fellow golf professionals jokingly said they wanted to buy him a photograph of the 17th and 18th holes at Wilmington’s Eagle Point Golf Club.

Why? Because Tyndall, head golf professional at The Reserve Golf Club in Pawleys Island, S.C., never saw Eagle Point’s two finishing holes while coasting to victory at the OMEGA Carolinas PGA Match Play Championship last November.

In fact, Tyndall didn’t even visit Eagle Point’s 16th hole until his final pairing of the Carolinas’ most prestigious match play event, where he lodged a 3&2 victory over Scooter Buhrman of Champion Hills Club.

Playing in cool, wet conditions, the 33-year-old Tyndall rose from the No. 11 seed to claim the tournament’s $3,000 first prize.

And bear in mind, these were no slouches Tyndall was besting. He posted 4&3 victories over a trio of the CPGA’s best players — Larry George of River Landing Country Club in the opening round, Oak Island Golf Club’s Steve Isley in the quarters, and Rock Creek Country Club’s Rick Morton in the semis — to reach the championship tilt.

“It was awesome,” says Tyndall, who attended the University of Georgia and grew up competing against current PGA Tour pros including Brian Harman, Kevin Kisner, Russell Henley, Harris English, and Hudson Swafford.

“There was no pressure because I was playing so well — I never made any mistakes. You can be very at ease when everything is going your way,” he recalls.

Tyndall considers his playing performance to be an important element of his job with McConnell Golf.

“Mr. McConnell and Brian Kittler look for good players,” Tyndall says. “For me, I enjoy playing, I love to compete. I try to play and support the CPGA section in every event possible. Whether it’s team events or sectional championships or even taking members to Pro-Ams, I think it’s important for us to make a showing.”

Tyndall performed consistently well in the Carolinas PGA section events last year, claiming four top-20 finishes prior to his big win at Eagle Point, site of the 2017 Wells Fargo Championship. In last year’s Carolinas Section race for the lowest scoring average, Tyndall finished tied for ninth.

Often, Tyndall says, McConnell Golf members reach out to him during the tournaments via text or social media to inquire how he’s playing and wish him good luck.

“It gives the members something to talk about when we get home,” Tyndall says. “They enjoy asking how you’re playing and following you online, which is always fun. I think they take pride in seeing one of us — not just me but all McConnell Golf pros — play well and succeed.”

Club members also enjoy knowing that their golf pro knows what they’re talking about — and that they have the opportunity to not only learn from good teachers, but accomplished golfers as well.

“I believe the membership takes pride in having professionals who not only play good golf in tournaments and represent their club, but are also available to play with them on a weekly basis,” says Brian Kittler, vice president of golf operations.

“You’re so much more valuable to your membership if you’re a good player,” says Donald Clement, The Reserve’s director of golf, who ranked as one of the CPGA’s best players for many years. “The membership respects you because you’re a club professional. They take lessons from you. If you’re a good player, they understand that you can teach too. You understand the golf swing a little more if you’ve put your game on the line and posted some scores. Being a good player is a huge part of the job.”


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Employee Spotlight

by Brad King

 Mar 13, 2018 at 6:01 PM

Player, Teacher, and Personality - The Reserve’s Donald Clement delivers on all three. 

Brian Kittler, Vice President of Golf Operations, saves some of his highest praise for Donald Clement, long-time director of golf at The Reserve Golf Club in Pawleys Island, S.C. “We have a lot of good employees, but Clement epitomizes what McConnell Golf is all about,” says Kittler. “Whatever needs to be done, he does it. And he does it with a smile on his face. Everyone who goes down to The Reserve, they talk about ‘DC’ and how great the staff is. We’re just glad to have him on our team.”

Kittler says Clement personifies what he wants from all McConnell Golf professionals: That they be “a PTPer, like Dick Vitale,” he says: “Player, Teacher, and Personality.” One of the Carolinas’ top players for many years, Clement is a member of the Sports Hall of Fame at his high school and his college, Coastal Carolina, where he led the Chanticleers to a third-place NAIA finish in 1985, earning first team NAIA All-American honors in the process. That same year, he qualified for the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and made it to the match-play portion of the national championship. “I had never played in a match-play event in my life,” recalls Clement.

“I had a guy from Hawaii four down with five to play — and he beat me on 18. Welcome to match play. I was already playing my second match. In my mind he was done … but in the end, I was done.”

During the 1990s, Clement coached the men’s and women’s team at Coastal Carolina until his college teammate and roommate, Ronald Crow, enticed him in 1997 to come to The Reserve, where Crow was — and remains — the golf course superintendent.

Before he left Coastal Carolina, however, Clement began recruiting the player who would turn out to be the greatest in school history — current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. As a result of his relationship with Clement, Johnson was a member at The Reserve for several years after he left school.

Clement was playing with Johnson the day he hit a driver, 6-iron to 15 feet on The Reserve’s 600-yard finishing hole, made eagle, and set the course record 65 — a mark that still stands today.

Approaching the start of his third decade at The Reserve, Clement has always given back to the game and his profession. He has served on the Carolinas PGA Board several times and is now in his fifth year serving as the CPGA Area Seven director.

“I’m just trying to give something back to a section that has been good to me,” says Clement. “My job is totally hands on. I try to lead by example. I’m here … and just being here is one of the biggest parts of being a successful club professional. Your membership wants to see you.”


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A Warm Welcome to the ACC

by Brad King

 Aug 24, 2017 at 6:10 PM

This past April two McConnell Golf properties in South Carolina hosted ACC tournaments. Duke University emerged at the top of the leaderboard for both, but according to the teams and coaches, McConnell Golf stood out as a true champion.

“The 2017 ACC Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships were a great success,” says Kris Pierce, ACC senior associate commissioner for championships. “The ACC and our member schools are grateful for the hard work and dedication shown by McConnell Golf, Musgrove Mill Golf Club, and The Reserve Golf Club, along with all of the staff, volunteers, and club members.”

The Men’s Golf Championship took place at Musgrove Mill Golf Club following 15 years at Old North State Club. Meanwhile, the Women’s Golf Championship was played at The Reserve Golf Club following a nine-year run at Sedgefield Country Club’s Ross course.


Mother Nature was much kinder at The Reserve during a beautiful Easter weekend for the Women’s Championship. “It was absolutely awesome,” says Donald Clement, The Reserve’s director of golf. “We could not have had four better days of weather, camaraderie, and com- petition. It was a home run all week.”

According to Clement, the McConnell Golf standard for course conditioning meant The Reserve’s greens-keeping staff didn’t need to make any adjustments to their normal routine. “We did nothing different with the golf course,” he says. “The teams and coaches absolutely raved about it.”

Duke won its 20th ACC title — but the first conference crown for the Lady Blue Devils since 2014. Duke’s 5-under 859 total for 54 holes was the best mark, nine strokes better than Florida State. Miami was third at 874, followed by North Carolina at 876, Clemson at 877, and N.C. State at 888. The Blue Devils entered the final round leading by nine strokes. Leona Maguire, a Duke

junior ranked first in both the Golfstat collegiate rankings and Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking, was the individual winner for the second time in three years. Maguire posted a 6-under 210 to edge out Wake Forest’s Jennifer Kupcho (212) and Miami’s Delfina Acosta (213) for the title. The Blue Devils earned their 19th ACC title under veteran coach Dan Brooks. It was the 16th time that Duke won the team title and had the medalist.

The Reserve member Ellen Miller served as volunteer chairperson for the Women’s Golf Championship. Miller said she was so proud of her fellow members and friends who contributed their time during the event.

“The really cool thing is that I have received seven handwritten thank-you notes from ACC coaches and players, thanking us for the terrific experience and our warm hospitality,” says Miller. “It was just so much fun.”

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Ask A Member

by Martha-Page Althaus

 May 02, 2017 at 7:11 PM

Dennis Wahl played 300 rounds of golf in 2016 - that's more than 5,400 holes!

When Dennis Wahl retired as a Vice President at Merrill Lynch, playing more golf was at the top of his to-do list. “I’ve been golfing since I was 30 years old and I’ve always had a passion for it,” says Wahl, who joined The Reserve in 2012. “I was able to retire a year early, at age 64, and now I’m having the time of my life.”

How do you find the time to play so often?

It helps that I’m retired, but I always played a lot even while I was working. As of this past February, I’ve played 44 rounds this year. And counting. I’m on pace for another 300 rounds this year. I can play 18 holes in three hours ... four hours, tops. I like that a great deal.

What part of your game have you been able to improve the most over this past year? 

I’ve gotten better because I’ve played a lot. I walk 98 percent of my round. Walking has made me a better golfer. I’m in better shape. I think the game was made to be walked.

What’s the most memorable round you played in 2016? 

I broke eighty 58 times. I’ve shot 74 once or twice in 2016. This year, in February, I shot a 73. Our group shot 30 under par that day. We all shot under our handicap. It was a pretty good day. It’s a lifelong goal to shoot my age. Maybe I’ll get there soon. 

Any heartbreaking near-misses or blooper scenarios that you’d like to share?

Not shooting 72 in that round that I shot 73! I missed two 5-footers. Could’ve easily been 71. That’s as heartbreaking as it gets.

Who golfs with you most often? And can they keep up?

There’s a group of us at The Reserve called The Wheaties, and we play once a week. We play from the tournament tees at 6,500 yards. The Reserve, from those tees, is very difficult. But everyone in this group can hit the ball. Everyone in this group has, at worst, handicaps of 12 or 14. I’m an 11. It’s nice to play with these guys. Almost all of us are in our 60s or 70s.

What’s your post-golf ritual?

I go into the clubhouse, have lunch or a beer. Every time I play, I eat lunch there. A member of a club needs to support their club. It’s about more than just playing golf.


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The Reserve GC Hosts the ACC Championship

by Brad King

 Apr 19, 2017 at 1:46 PM

In 2017 the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Women's Golf Championship was moved from its nine-year stint at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, NC to The Reserve Golf Club of Pawleys Island.

Duke University emerged on top of the leaderboard with its 20th ACC title - but the first conference crown for the Blue Devils since 2014. This marks their 19th ACC title under veteran coach Dan Brooks and the 16th time that Duke won the team title and had a medalist.

Duke’s 5-under 859 total for 54 holes was the best mark, nine strokes better than Florida State. Miami was third at 874, followed by North Carolina at 876, Clemson at 877 and N.C. State at 888. Wake Forest was last in the 12-team field at 931. The Lady Blue Devils entered the final round leading by nine strokes.  

Duke junior Leona Maguire, who is ranked first in both the Golfstat collegiate rankings and Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking, was the individual winner for the second time in three years. Maguire posted a 6-under 210 to edge out Wake Forest’s Jennifer Kupcho (212) and Miami’s Delfina Acosta (213) for the title.

The following week at Musgrove Mill Golf Club near Clinton, South Carolina Duke’s men’s golf team won the Men's Championship to sweep the ACC honors for the Blue Devils as they head into the NCAA Regionals.

WMBF Local News Tournament Coverage

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The Reserve Golf Club

by Brad King

 Mar 30, 2017 at 7:23 PM

Stay and play in pristine Pawleys Island

In 2010, McConnell Golf made its then-sixth club acquisition, The Reserve Golf Club on Pawleys Island, S.C., for several different reasons. First, The Reserve offered McConnell Golf members an outstanding design by the legendary Greg Norman — providing a prominent new face in the enviable stable of McConnell Golf architects. Equally important, the 700-acre private gated Litchfield community is a popular beach vacation destination where many McConnell Golf members already owned second homes. For McConnell Golf, The Reserve was a natural fit.

Little wonder why folks are enchanted by this serene coastal escape. A narrow barrier island less than four miles long nestled between the Waccamaw River and the Atlantic Ocean on Myrtle Beach’s South Strand, Pawleys Island is one of the oldest resorts on the East Coast, having served as the summer home to wealthy antebellum rice planters, who retreated to the island to escape the heat. The island’s slower pace and laid-back lifestyle encourage leisurely hours in hammocks with views across the wide expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. Residents and visitors alike proudly call Pawleys Island “arrogantly shabby,” reveling in its simplicity and natural beauty.

In 1998, Greg Norman chose Pawleys Island to make his first mark in the Carolinas as a golf course architect. On 350 pristine acres walled in by the longleaf pines and hardwoods of the Waccamaw Neck, “The Shark” crafted a minimalist masterpiece, adorned by waste bunkers, native grasses, white sand stacked sod-walled bunkers, which provide a stunning contrast to the flat, brown sand waste areas and flawless green complexes that are enormous and crowned in places. There is no semblance of rough on the golf course. Since opening, The Reserve has garnered numerous state and national rankings.

“My ultimate goal (at the Reserve Club) wasn’t to create an extremely difficult course, just one that’s very challenging,” says Norman, who won more than 90 tournaments worldwide including two British Open Championships and claims the distinction of having held the No. 1 position in the world rankings for 331 consecutive weeks. “While you don’t have to hit it straight every hole, you always have to think straight.” 

When McConnell Golf purchased The Reserve, it converted the green complexes from Penn G-2 bentgrass — a cost-prohibitive, cool weather grass that fights the summer heat — to Champions ultra dwarf Bermuda. McConnell also spruced up the extensive fairway, waste, and greenside bunkering with new feldspar sand, the same type used at Augusta National Golf Club, site of The Masters. The Reserve also features one of the widest practice ranges at the beach, a short game area with a practice bunker and a true-rolling practice green. The result? In 2014, The Reserve was voted South Carolina’s “Club of the Year.”

The Reserve has hosted several championships, including the 1999 South Carolina Open, 2001-02 Carolinas Opens, 2003-05 Carolinas PGA Section Championships, 2014 South Carolina Amateur, 2012 S.C. Senior Championship, 2016 Carolinas Women’s Amateur, and a U.S. Open qualifier in 2000. In April, The Reserve will play host to the ACC Women’s Golf Championship.

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Experience of a Lifetime

by Jessie Ammons

 Aug 01, 2016 at 9:40 PM

As we ramp up for the Wyndham Championship, members recount their most memorable PGA tournament moments

"Rick and I were USGA marshals at the 1997 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club (pictured at right). At that time, tournament marshals walked inside the ropes, and it was a thrill for both of us. Since then, Rick became a USGA Rules Official and Competition Committee member.

Golf is the cornerstone of our philanthropy and we both serve on the Executive Committee of the SCGA and SCJGA, respectively.

Play Golf America!”

— Ellen and Rick Miller, The Reserve Golf Club

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