I’ve always wanted to visit the town of Chapel Hill in North Carolina and learn a little bit more about the ‘Basketball Centre of the World’ and to also find out why the athletic teams are called Tar Heels. Also made a lot of sense to play some great golf courses. The visit turned out to be all that I ever dreamed and more.
After four days of life in a university town (and one more to go at the Old North State Club), staying right on campus at The Carolina Inn (and owned by the university), I’ve come up with 23 reasons why you should make a trip to North Carolina, specifically to stay in Chapel Hill and venture out onto the McConnell Golf Trail.
- The Preserve – a Davis Love III Signature Golf Facility
- Room 180 in The Carolina Inn, AAA Four Diamond hotel built in 1924
- Gene Fones, the affable General Manager of The Preserve Golf Club
- tasting North Carolina wine made primarily from muscadine grapes and vinifera grapes (there are now 76 wineries in North Carolina)
- walking Franklin Street, the main street in Chapel Hill – full of boutiques, restaurants and students
- playing the famous Donald Ross design Raleigh Country Club, a traditional tree-lined golf course and also a member of the McConnell Trail
- a visit to the Carolina Basketball Museum, an 8,000 square foot facility with more than 450 artifacts, videos, photos and historical bits and pieces that highlight Carolina Basketball.
- dining at The Top of The Hill, a massive restaurant on the third floor of a building in downtown Chapel Hill with outdoor dining and standing around with a beer area that overlooks the entire downtown
- playing the very private McConnell Golf member course, Treyburn Country Club in Durham
- asking Gene Fones, the General Manager at The Preserve why the speed limit on the roads throughout the golf course subdivision is … 23
- being called ‘sir’ by everyone in North Carolina
- talking golf with Martin Armes, our host for the five day trip, while playing the Raleigh Country Club
- watching deer wander the golf course at theTom Fazio Treyburn Country Club while we played …and even the deer were ‘North Carolina friendly’
- reading in local golf magazines about our own Matt Hill, a student at nearby North Carolina State, just down the road in Raleigh
- playing the Cardinal Golf Club in Greensboro, a Pete Dye design with a par three that Dye claims is the toughest he has ever built
- breakfast in the very, very fancy Carolina Inn dining room
- learning about the mission of John McConnell who is changing the way private golf courses operate (more about this mission later)
- playing some of the best greens I have ever played
- finding out that a family named Garland pioneered the truffle business in North Carolina
- watching the tail end of a NCAA Men’s lacrosse game between the University of North Carolina and Delaware
- experiencing the extreme friendliness at each of the golf courses we played. Golf course service at its best.
- mingling with college students around the campus
- Michael Jordan