Posts Tagged ‘Playing Golf in North Carolina NC’

A Raleigh Cultural Experience

October 16, 2013

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to meet an Editor for the New York Times and a resident of that city. He had come here to visit his daughter whom I sold a house to and wanted to take me and my wife out to dinner. We ate at the always amazing Second Empire Tavern and as a New Yorker, he was eminently impressed with this restaurant. We are lucky here in Raleigh to have some fine dining experiences without the New York, Boston, Chicago, or Los Angeles prices.

Raleigh, A Great Place to Live and Work!

Raleigh, A Great Place to Live and Work!

This led me to consider all of the cultural benefits to this fine city. After dinner, I drove him around the downtown area and pointed out the many amenities our great city has to offer and he was impressed with the vibrant downtown. This further impressed upon me the important cultural relevance our city offers both North Carolina and tourist, but the local residents as well. If you do not take full advantage of the arts and museums, it is at your own peril.

My wife and I recently attended the dinner at the NC Museum of History for the new exhibit of the Russian Czar. It was a wonderful evening and the history was awe-inspiring. While in St. Petersburg Russia last year, my wife and I attended a Dinner with the Czar at Catherine’s palace and this experience led us to partake in this evening. The dinner here was much more impressive with the lone exception of the entertainment at the palace that featured Russian dancers and singers. The exhibit at the museum was very educational and flowed beautifully. If you haven’t seen it yet, I would highly encourage you to visit the museum on Edenton Street. It will be worth the effort. The exhibit will be in Raleigh until March 5, 2014, so you should plan accordingly.

At the same time, the NC Art Museum has an exhibit that I am sure most husbands will be willing to attend, the Porsche by Design: Seducing Speed. Yes, you heard me correctly…Porsche. My wife and I are planning on visiting the exhibit this Saturday and it should be amazing. As a car buff, I have always appreciated the Porsche and their design. This exhibit shows cars from the 1930s to the present to include Janice Joplin Porsche that is on loan from the Rock and Roll Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. It should be a wonderful exhibit and one you are sure to remember for years. It runs through January 20, 2014, so don’t miss it.

Until the 27th of this month, the NC History Museum has the “Turn the Radio On” exhibit which is a salute to Carolina Bluegrass. If you enjoyed the Bluegrass festival last month, you are sure to appreciate this exhibit which is in the lobby of the museum. While there, check out the North Carolina and the Civil War: The Ragin exhibit which will also close on the 27th of October. It is the second exhibit in a three-part series that commemorates the Civil War and the tumultuous year of 1863 which saw tremendous losses for North Carolina troops.

There are numerous events in the Downtown area throughout the month and I would encourage you to visit the Downtown Raleigh Alliance events to plan the rest of your month. If you are not taking advantage of these opportunities to expand your knowledge and appreciation of the world around us, you are missing a treat.

To see more of the exhibits at the NC Museum of Art, click here for more information.

What is Customer Service? What should consumers expect?

April 17, 2013
Have you ever waited 30 minutes for service only to be disappointed?

Have you ever waited 30 minutes for service only to be disappointed?

Customer service is an issue that has been prominent in society for many years and no less than in today’s market. Many professional fields require a level of service that can benefit from this debate. As I prepared a presentation last week to a networking group, I thought this would be a great subject for this blog. You see, customer service is important in the real estate business just as it is important for restaurants or retail stores. For professional, customer service is more important since it is more important to remain in business. If I had the marketing budget of a Home Depot or Wal-Mart, I could afford not to focus as much attention to each individual customer/client. But alas, I have a very modest marketing budget, so most of my new business is generated via personal referrals from past clients who have experienced quality service from me.

In this article, I plan to cover a few areas of customer service that many businesses fail to attend to properly. When it comes to service, you must consider why it is important, the communication aspects of customer service, time and details of customer service. In my many years of service both in the retail industry, territory sales and now real estate, I have developed a specific sense of customer service. I had a professor who once told me that one poor customer service experience is like having ten since most people have at least that many friends they will tell. In today’s social media, you can multiply that number by the hundreds. I personally have well over 700 Facebook friends and many people have many more than I do. So, if you are in business, it is important to understand customer service.

Why is it important? As mentioned earlier, unless you have a large marketing budget, word of mouth can be very imperative to your business. It works both with positive and negative. As Shakespeare mentions in his play Julius Caesar, ‘the good a man does dies with him, but the bad lives on forever’. That is not a perfect quote, but you get the gist of his words. If you do not get positive word of mouth, you will never get quality referrals to enhance your business.

Communication is important when it comes to customer service. For one thing, you must speak their language and understand their body language. If your customer is Joe Friday and only wants the facts, you need to simply give them the facts and nothing else. For this type of customer, you do not need to run completely through all of the details as they are not interested in it and you will lose them quickly. Determine their language and speak it. Additionally, you need to understand the basic body languages of your customer. For instance, if your client walks into an office supply store with a focus and the body language that they know where they are going, then you will lose the customer if you stop them to ask them if you can help them. This is me and it upsets me every time an associate stops me when I did not ask for help. It is a “self-service” retail store, so let me self-serve myself. It would be better service if they made themselves available should I have a question. I don’t have any issues with greeting customers, but pay attention to the customer and speak their language.

Time is the most valuable asset any of us will ever own. We can make more money, but we cannot make more time. If this is the case, why do you see retail store associates wasting their customer’s time by not properly stocking the shelves. If you go into a home improvement store and the shelf is out, it can take as much as thirty minutes or more for an associate to get the lift machine with a spotter, block off two aisles and get the product down for you. This is saying that their time is not important to that store and its management. Furthermore, if I walk into a store and the store doesn’t have the item I am looking to purchase, they are virtually out-of-business as far as I am concerned.

When it comes to my business, I always conduct a thorough buyer’s interview to determine what the client wants to purchase to ensure I am not showing them homes that will not meet their needs. When I am working with sellers, I take the time to understand the client, their needs and determine the reason for their selling of the home. Of course, I try to understand and speak their language to ensure I am not wasting their time.

Paying attention to detail is one of the most important aspects of good customer service. A long time ago when I was in the meat business, I improved the sales from $35,000/week to over $55,000/week by paying attention to details. I took the time to understand my customer base and from that, made the decision that we would never be out of pork products, especially on the weekends. The result, we improved sales and thus, had better customer service. It did not result in letters being written to praise the fact that the product they wanted to purchase was on the shelf, but the best reward for customer service is repeat business. By giving my customers what they needed and wanted, sales went up and my department was no longer ‘out-of-business’.

In my current business, the details that are most important for them is the contract and negotiations. It is both my fiduciary responsibility and my customer service credo to give my best in all situations. The ‘devil’s in the details’ as they say, and many contracts that go awry do so because of a lack of attention to details. Every business has details that need to be attended to ensure the best customer experience for your clients. Pay attention to the details.

In closing, one of my favorite professors in college once told me that it is not enough to satisfy your clients, but you need to make them ‘raving fans’ of your business. This is the challenge of any business entity and one that I extend to you today. Make them ‘raving fans’ of your business. In our society, too many patrons are wiling to take less than great customer service. Don’t let your customers take less than ultimate service.

Just this evening, I went to the drive thru at PDQ on Falls of the Neuse. I don’t usually do this for dinner, but as I had an appointment in less than an hour, I needed to get a quick meal since the meeting was apt to go long into the evening. When I pulled up, I was tempted to either leave or go inside as there were five vehicles in front of me. They noticed this and to ensure a speedy service experience, the management sent out two associates to take orders from the waiting vehicles. A situation that at a normal fast food restaurant would have taken 20-30 minutes to get my food, it took less than 10 minutes. They paid attention to the customer’s needs and went above the call of duty to make me a ‘raving fan’ of their enterprise.

Downtown Links Golf Calendar

January 18, 2013
Lochmere...A Golf Experience!

Lochmere…A Golf Experience!

As a member of the committee for the Downtown Links, I am pleased to announce the calendar that we have do date. The Downtown Links is a group of professional who are also members of the Downtown Clubs of Raleigh, The Downtown Clubs of Raleigh is a combination of the Capital City Club and the Cardinal Club. Each of these clubs are business and social clubs that include many opportunities for networking, each with wonderful dining rooms.

This calendar is for informational purposes and may change at the committee’s direction. If you are not a member of the Downtown Clubs of Raleigh and would like to play one of the beautiful courses we have scheduled, please contact me and you can play as my guest.

March 13th, Devil’s Ridge Country Club in Holly Springs

April, Prestonwood Country Club in Cary. Date and time TBD

May 14th, Raleigh Country Club in Raleigh

June 6th, North Ridge (Lakes Course) Country Club in North Raleigh

July 22, Brier Creek Country Club in North Raleigh

August, Hasentree Country Club in Wake Forest. Date and time TBD

September 23, Treyburn Country Club in Durham

October, The Neuse Country Club in Clayton. Date and time TBD

November 7th, Lochmere Golf Club in Cary


Upcoming golf tournament

April 22nd, North Raleigh Rotary Golf Tournament, Wildwood Green Golf Club, 1pm shotgun start

We are excited about this group of courses and it should be another great season. Most of our outings this year are shotgun starts, but not all of the final details have been negotiated. If you are interested in playing any of these courses, please contact me at to get on the list of players.

What Golf Community would you buy a home and join the club?

September 18, 2012

Payne Stewart’s Glorious Moment!


Last week, I had a meeting with a gentleman who asked me a question that made me think. His question: If money was not an issue, what Wake County golf community and course would you recommend to a client? This question was also predicated upon location not being an issue for the client. With these open options, it made me think. I must admit, no one has asked me that question in the past.

It made me think of all of the great courses and communities here in Wake County. Most people do not realize, but there are nearly 20 golf course communities in Wake County alone, not to mention the Triangle. My answer to this gentleman was simple, “it depends!” This is the number one answer to all real estate questions as the answer depends on different factors. For instance, what types of courses do you like to play and do you want multiple golfing options with your purchase?

For me, I would want to join a club that gives me multiple course options as I get bored with the same course, day in and day out. Variety is so important to me that I rarely travel the same route home. I have always been like that, but others may be happy to have access to simply one course where they can learn all of the nuances of that course and “master” it. Others still may have specific ideas of what type of community. Some may be more interested in older homes with larger lots as opposed to many of our newer communities that have smaller lots and the rooms tend to be smaller. All of these and many more factors can play into your decision.

For me, I would have to recommend a community like North Ridge that has two courses or Wakefield that would give you access to all of McConnell golf courses. Some may prefer single courses like McGregor Downs, which has an amazing course, but only one course. In this blog post, I hope to address some of the great golf course communities in Wake county and give you an idea of which are the better ones.

To start, I need to cover some of the less expensive communities with public or semi-private courses. Among these would be Hedingham, Eagle Ridge, and Crooked Creek. The benefit of each of these communities is purchasing in these communities, you have the option of joining all three as the Fred Smith Company now owns all of these courses and have a membership level for these communities. These courses are very nice and are typically in good shape. Last year, Hedingham was closed for major repairs and regeneration of its greens, fairways and tee boxes. I played it shortly after it re-opened and it played very well. It has many challenging holes to keep your interest, but not so much that you are over challenged and cannot score well. Eagle Ridge and Crooked Creek are very nice courses. I cannot speak too much about these courses as I rarely play them due to driving distance, but as memory serves, they are both challenging and fair at the same time. If housing price is a factor, these communities offer affordable housing, many with great golf course views. Hedingham is the most affordable as it offers town homes for less than $100,000 up to single family homes in the $200-low $300s. Eagle Ridge and Crooked Creek consist of single family homes that tend to be priced in the $200s.

If money is not an issue, then the choices increase dramatically. I will start with the Southwestern Wake communities. There are several and one that I really enjoy is Devil’s Ridge, located in the Sunset Ridge community in Holly Springs. The community is well done and well maintained and the course is always in great condition. Membership in Devil’s Ridge will give you the option to join the Triangle Society with ClubCorp and give you access to several courses in the Triangle. A great way to be introduced to several courses. The community is primarily single family with housing from the mid $200s up to half a million. Membership in Devil’s Ridge is affordable and the course is semi-private.

More high-end in this area would include both McGregor Downs and Prestonwood. McGregor Downs is an exclusive community that is laid out very nicely with larger lots and is a highly established community. Many of the homes were built in the 1980s, so if you want an older community in this area, I would highly suggest this course. Membership in McGregor Downs will give you access to this amazing course and all of the additional community features such as tennis courts and lakes. This club was formed in 1967, so it is one of the oldest in the Triangle. Prestonwood, home of the SAS Championship, is more modern with additional benefits such as 3 courses to choose. All three courses are amazing courses with some very challenging, but fair holes. I have only played the Meadows course and I thoroughly enjoyed my experience (though I didn’t score well). Prestonwood has housing that consist of condos around the $200s to town homes for a little more and tops off with single family homes from mid $200s up to well over a couple million. Most of the lots are smaller than you would see in McGregor Downs, but most are more modern and updated as it is a newer community.

Moving north, you have several options in the Northern Wake area to include Brier Creek, Wildwood Green, North Ridge, Hasentree and many more. I will try to talk about each of these in some detail, but there are too many to cover in much detail.

Brier Creek and Hasentree are very nice courses and are both Toll Brother properties, so membership in one will get you membership in the other. Plus, you can add to your membership access to all Toll Brother golf communities in the U.S. Both communities are fairly new, but Brier Creek tends to have smaller lots than Hasentree, primarily due to the fact that there is more room with this community. Brier Creek course is very nice, but is currently being repaired as many of the greens were infected with a disease, which has caused them to close down the course to rid the greens of this infestation. If they have not yet re-opened, it will be soon. The course is challenging with one of their signature holes being the 18th, which is an awesome finishing hole. This hole offers a blind tee shot and a green that is surrounded by water on three sides. Brier Creek offers housing from condos priced in the low $100s to single family homes over a million. It is convenient to all the amenities that you could ask and very close to RTP and I-540. Hasentree is not as convenient as it is located off Hwy. 98, close to Wake Forest, but the benefits are larger lots and more nature areas. Housing starts in the mid $300s and goes up from there. The golf course is always pristine and the 88 bunkers on this course may make you curse Tom Fazio as they tend to be well placed for danger at every turn. For shopping, you would have to head towards Wake Forest. If you work in downtown Raleigh, the commute can be difficult.

A little closer to Raleigh, you will find both Heritage and TPC Wakefield Plantation. Both are fairly new communities with varying pricing range for homes and smaller lots than can be seen in some of the older communities. To get a larger lot, you will need to purchase one of the larger homes. I have never played Heritage, but had the opportunity to play Wakefield for the first time last week. It was an amazing golfing experience with some very challenging holes. The signature 18th hole is a Par 5 where you aim for the clubhouse from the tee box. The approach shot is over a stream, but do not go long as it elevates quickly towards the clubhouse with two bunkers. My approach shot sailed over the green and I thought it landed in the bunker, but it was not there. With the tall, thick grass, I couldn’t find the ball.

Heritage is a semi-private course located in the heart of downtown Wake Forest. Membership is affordable as it pertains to golf clubs. You only have access to that course along with the swim and tennis. Being closer to Hwy 1-Capital Blvd. the commute to Raleigh is much more efficient than the other courses around it. Wakefield membership offers the 18-hole course, the 9-hole walking course, access to all TPC Network courses and reciprocal golf privileges at all McConnell Golf Properties. McConnell Golf has eight golf clubs in North and South Carolina to include three in the Triangle, Raleigh Country Club and Treyburn being the other two. Membership is affordable based considering what you get for your membership. Even though I don’t live anywhere near Wakefield, I would probably be more inclined to this membership or at least it’s sister club, Raleigh Country Club due to the variety of clubs you can access.

North Ridge is another wonderful course with two courses available. It is located in North Raleigh and offers tennis and pools. I have only played one of the two courses and it was an intriguing experience. Many of the holes have water with a couple of Par 3s that go directly over water on the Oaks course. It plays very nicely with many challenges, but fair. Membership is not the most affordable, and to get the most value for your membership, you need to play multiple times a week. My wife and I almost purchased a home in this community and would have joined this course had we purchased that home. Housing is diverse with town homes in the low $100s-mid $200s and single family homes range from the mid $300s to well over a million. If you have not played this course, I would highly recommend it. I hope to be able to play the Lakes course at some point in the future as I have heard that this course is better than the Oaks.

Finally (but not lastly), Wildwood Greens Golf Club is also located in North Raleigh and is a course all about golf. The John Budwine Golf Academy operates out of this course and offers teaching professionals for any player. The course is very challenging, but fair with several water hazards throughout the course. I am a member of this course as it is very affordable, especially for someone who likes to play other courses. Membership dues are less than $200 a month and the initiation  is extremely reasonable. This course was in place before the community was developed around the course. The community offers homes priced from the low $200s to over $400s. The community is well laid out well with the golf course so you are not crossing several streets throughout your round of golf. If you are on a budget, this is a great course.

I hope you have enjoyed this and please let me know what your preference is. I haven’t covered all of the golf communities in Wake county as there are more than I can cover in this blog. Keep following this blog as I am always talking about individual courses in Wake county and usually focus on one course per blog post.

In answering the question, what community would you join if money was not an issue? I want to hear from you!

Brier Creek Countyr Club-Discover a New Lifestyle

October 13, 2011

18th Hole at Brier Creek Country Club

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to play for the first time at the Brier Creek Country Club and it was an amazing experience. Brier Creek is located in Northwest Raleigh, near the border of Durham County. This Arnold Palmer designed course offers challenging, but fair holes that are breathtaking with spectacular views on every hole. Your handicap will not inhibit your ability to enjoy this well-designed course. As a high handicap player, I had several opportunities for pars and even an opportunity for a birdie on this course. The more challenging holes offered the better golfers an opportunity to make difficult shots while leaving the lesser golfer spots to lay-up for a better approach shot to the greens. This course, unlike some I have played in the Triangle, is truly a fair and challenging course.

Brier Creek has been ranked at a Top 40 course in North Carolina as the conditions were near perfect. The fairways were well maintained and drained well despite heavy rain the prior day and drizzle on the day I played it. Of course, there were some saturated spots on the course, but very few. Most of the fairways offered safe landing areas for your tee shots despite your length off the tee, but with enough hazards for the very poor tee shots. Several fairways had water hazards and natural growth areas that had to be negotiated throughout the round, but very forgiving for the occasional poor shot.

The greens were well maintained with some speed, but not to the extent that makes it difficult for the amateur golfer to make putts. Many of the greens offered challenging putts, but not like a Donald Ross green where it is nearly impossible to make a simple put. The most challenging and breathtaking green is the 18th. It is an amazing finishing hole with the green being protected on three sides by a lake. The solid tee shot will give you the opportunity to reach this Par 4 in regulation, but a poor tee shot is not a deal breaker on this hole as there are ample areas to lay-up to give you a better shot of getting over the water.

My favorite hole on this course is the Par 3 16th. This hole is difficult, yet very fair. From the back tees, you will have 195 yards, but the blue tees will give you a 178  yard shot to this green. It is all water carry as the green is just off the lake’s edge with some tall grass between the water and the green. The green is elongated and not very deep. Go to long and you may end up in a sand bunker, giving you a delicate shot to hold the green without running off the front of the green. I was fortunate to land on the green from the tee, but with the elongated green, I had a forty-foot put to birdie. Unfortunately, I three putted this hole, but a boggie for me is a good score.

Brier Creek Membership

Brier Creek is a private club with membership opportunities for both residents and non-resident members. Initiation is not as high as you may imagine and Signature membership will also give you access to The Hassentree Club. Club amenities include the golf course, a 40,000 sq ft luxurious clubhouse, driving range, locker rooms, steam rooms, fitness center, banquet facilities, swim and tennis pavilion and much more. For the money, it is a good value, especially if you live in or near Brier Creek. I am not a member, but if we lived closer to this area, my wife and I would have to consider this as an option.

Living in Brier Creek

Living in Brier Creek has its benefits that few areas in Raleigh can compare. With easy access to I-540 and I-40 the conveniences is unmistakable. The conveniences do not end with this as all of the shopping you would need is near by with nearly all of the national retailers within minutes from your front door to include (but not limited to) Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Dicks. There are also several restaurants nearby with choices such as Wild Wings, Carolina Ale House, Red Robin and many more.

The community has all of the benefits you would imagine to include the golf course, clubhouse, pools and tennis courts and social events throughout the year. It is truly an environment that your family can live and thrive with resort style amenities that will make for a pleasant home life. This community has everything you could ever want in a community.

Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh is a 2nd largest Metropolitan city in North Carolina. The economy is diverse with several technology and drug companies located in the Research Triangle Park (RTP). It is one of the fastest growing cities in the Southeast due to the lifestyle this area offers its residents. Real estate in the Triangle has always been a solid purchase as this area has benefited from stable growth over the past several years. Currently, the real estate market in the Triangle has declined due to national trends, but this area remains a mecca for families looking for quality of life along with strong schools and outdoor living. There are nearly 20 golf courses in Wake County alone with several more within the Triangle region and North Carolina. Raleigh and the Triangle has consistently been ranked among the Best Places to Live in the U.S.

Hasentree-An Amazing Golfing Experience

August 17, 2011

Welcome Home to Hasentree

Last week, I have the opportunity to play one of the area’s most prestigious golf courses when the Downtown Clubs of Raleigh organized an outing to Hasentree. I have to admit, Hasentree, a Tom Fazio designed course, is an experience that all avid golfers in the Triangle should have. The course was immaculate and the greens in top-notch condition. The greens were a little quick, but not too quick.

Despite having a very poor outing, I could not help but appreciate the course. The challenges start on the first hole with a dogleg left and fairway bunkers along the left side of the fairways. It made for an exact shot to get up in regulation, of which I did not accomplish.

Another memorable hole was the Par 4, #10 that actually has two greens. On this day, they were utilizing the right green  which was below the fairway. It made for a challenging hole. The finishing hole is one of the more challenging holes where there were few areas to land your tee shot without danger of hitting a fairway bunker.

Speaking with the pro shop after my round, I gathered that they have openings for members and it appears to be affordable. Hasentree is offering membership with the initiation of $10,000 and monthly dues of $385. Click on the link to learn more about membership at this inspiring course.

Several great shots were made by my group, but not enough to score well compared to some of the other teams. Paul Pratto, one of the organizers of the Downtown Links group, was the big winner as his 2 person team had the lowest score while also earning the cigars that my company, Back Nine Homes, offered for the closest to the pin on one of the par 3s on the front nine.

Hasentree Community

Recently, Toll Brothers purchased this project from the bank and have made strides to make this a successful project. They have lowered the prices that the original developers had placed on the homes and you have several options to get into this community. The Golf Villas Collection prices start in the low $300s with most of the floor plans having first floor master bedrooms. Of course, the prices go up to the $2+ Million dollar with many of the Executive homes starting in around $700,000. In the past, it was difficult to find a home in this community for less than $700,000. It would appear that the new price point has been successful as they have started to sell homes despite the economic times.

Some of the community features in addition to the golf course include resort-style pools, tennis courts, hiking and biking trails and planned activities. For more information or a guided tour of this great community, please contact me as I would be happy to show it to you.

Newly Renovated Hedingham Golf Course

July 13, 2011

Notice the plush grass on the #1 Fairway

I spent last Friday afternoon on the newly opened Hedingham Golf Course to see the difference after a nearly 2 month renovation. The results were very promising in some respects and not so much in others.

As far as the renovations, they did not re-design any of the holes as it basically plays the same as it always has. Of course, I don’t think I was expecting too much difference in this regard as you are looking at a major expense to re-design a course…money that I don’t think they wanted to spend. However, they did accomplish some wonderful things in the 2 months it was closed.

The tee boxes were in pristine condition, especially considering the playing rates for this course. The grass was plush and very green. Additionally, the fairways and roughs were in very good condition. They played very well and you did not have the issue of taking your shot off dirt while being in the middle of the fairway as you possibly could have done last year.

One aspect that made it very difficult, but in a good way is the rough off the greens. The grass was very thick and it made it difficult to get it out of the rough at times…especially until you realized this issue and made adjustments in your swing. On the first hole, my approach shot landed just shy of the green and rolled down the hill into the tall grass. If you do not know this course, you realize that there is a creek-type area that protects the green on the front side. It took me three shots to get the ball out of the tall grass and onto the putting surface. Of course, on future holes, I made the adjustments and did not face the same issue when chipping from the rough.

The Par 5 #9 Fairway

The one area that was somewhat disappointing are the greens. The greens were not fully grown and you had some splotches throughout many of the putting surfaces. I know they are trying to correct this issue and it is probably due to the simple fact that they need to grow more grass on the greens, which in a common issue with our courses as the summer heat often makes it difficult for the shorter grass to survive.

Overall, I was impressed with the conditions of this course considering the green fees and the typical conditions of this course when I have played it in the past. I am concerned whether or not they will keep the course in the same condition going forward. In fact, a resident of the community was saying the same thing to me while we played a few holes together. This will be the real test for this course.

On a side note, I had received an email stating that Hedingham would be charging $25 green fees and cart throughout the month of July. So, this would be an excellent time to visit to see the newly renovated course.

1st Anual Golf Tournament!

May 14, 2010 sponsors a hole and a team for this event

The Rotary Club of North Raleigh held its first annual golf tournament on April 29 and it was a huge success. Despite not reaching the participation goals that the club representatives set, they had great participation from the community and a wonderful event was held for all of those in attendance.

Mike Riddick of Riddick Insurance chaired the event on behalf of the Rotarty Club and did an amazing job to put this event together. Several other Rotarians assisted in the planning of this event that is being planned as an annual fundraiser for the club.

As a member of this Rotary club, Steven W. Nelson and Back Nine Homes sponsored a team and a hole for this event. Although the team did not bring home a win, a great time was held by all in attendance. The team included Steven W. Nelson, Greg Brissette, Hurly Gough and Steve Henion. “With my limited skill, I cannot say that I was a major assistance to the team, but I did have a few shots that helped the team”, reported Mr. Nelson. “The reason we get together is for those who will be helped because of the contributions of all of the participants”, added Mr. Nelson.

As this was a shot-gun start, the team started on the 15th hole. The team finished with 4 birdies and 2 bogies for a 2 under par. Although we were not the winners, we avoided the bottom of the list as there were 2 teams below us.

Despite not winning the tournament, we did have a winner among  us. The longest drive contest that was held on the Par 5 7th hole was won by one of our team members, Hurly Gough. Hurly had a great day as he also won one of several closet to the pin competitions. For his efforts, he took home 2 gift certificates to local restaurants.

“Due to the great work of the Rotary and the enjoyment of the event itself”, stated Mr. Nelson, “ plans to sponsor a team next year and possibly enhance our support of this great event.”

Wildwood Greens Golf Course is a semi-private course in North Raleigh located off of Strickland Road. Wildwood Green is a very challenging course with several water hazards, a few long par 5s and some very difficult par 4s that force you to craft your shot to ensure reaching the green in regulation. For more information about this course, you can visit the website at

Wildwood Greens Golf Clinic-Drivers

April 9, 2010

On Tuesday, I participated in my second golf clinic performed by Wildwood Greens Golf Club, both centering around the driver. And yes, if you are wondering, I can use the extra work with my driver.  The clinics were very interactive and informative while very basic. I have done clinics and lessons in the past where the golf pro made the swing very complicated and forces you to over-think your swing while still attempting to perform the swing.

John Budwine, the golf pro who overlooks this program indicated that the most important aspect of the swing is the setup. If you are not properly set up, your swing will not be successful. Also, if you are swinging all of your clubs the same way, you are doing something wrong.

The basic setup that John promoted is to set your club where you want it before you set your feet. Too many people do this in reverse and often times results with their hands being in front of the ball. You want your hands to be even with the club, which should be set a few inches behind the ball. This is due to the fact that the ball is on a tee and thus, you will be using a flatter plane to swing your club. If you were hitting from the ground, you would want a more vertical swing in order to pick the ball out of the grass and give it some height.

The next item to be addressed is the feet. They should always be square and shoulder length apart for maximum distance. You want your feet square and immobile, especially the back foot, to add to the rotation of your body to give yourself greater club head speed. Imagine your body as a coil when you go into your back swing. If you feet are planted, then the coil will be tighter and result in greater club head speed as you release into the ball. It is just like a catapult, the greater resistance,  the greater the release and the greater distance.

Once you have these elements in place, take a swing that is about a 45 degree angle. Do not over think the shot and do not kill the ball. A golf instructor once told me that there is no reason to swing hard with your body as your body does not hit the ball, but rather the club. The two factors that result in distance is impact and club head speed. Typically for me, the harder I swing the club, the more out of control I am and the more likely I am to top the ball. John also pointed out that if you rotate your body too much in the backswing, then you are forced to take your eyes off the ball and then you are more likely to mis-strike the ball.

Of course, after the brief lesson with setup, each player hit several buckets of balls while John walked among us to point out some specific issues that we are facing and the cures to those issues. For instance, my greatest issue was that I was bending my arms too quickly in the follow-through, thus forcing the ball to go left. The simple cure was to focus on keeping my arms straight through the swing until my arms had no choice but to bend. Another issue, I had a tendency to swing too hard at the ball and it resulted in me loosing my balance. If I swing with club head speed, but not hard, then I hit the ball farther and do not lose my balance.

Real Estate News

On a different note, the spring season for real estate is in full bloom. The pollen is out and so are the buyers looking to take advantage of the tax credits that expire at the end of April. For first time homebuyers, the $8,000 tax credit will act as a refund in the following tax year. What this means is that if you do not pay $8,000 in annual taxes, then you will get it back in the form of a tax refund, or at least the difference between your tax liability and the $8,000. Of course. many people do not realize that the tax credit is actually 10% of the purchase price up to $80,000, then it is a flat credit. So, if you are looking to buy your first home or know someone who is, you owe it to them or yourself to call a real estate professional like myself to ensure that you can take advantage of this great offering before it is too late. Will Congress extend it again? I have no ideal, but you should not count on it.

For current homeowners, you can get a $6,500 tax credit if you sell your home and purchase another one. Of course the timing for this program is running short as you must be under contract with your new home by the end of April. As far as I know, there is nothing in the bill that states that you have to sell your home before you purchase another one, but then you must be able to keep 2 mortgages until you sell your previous home.

The Triangle real estate market is moving along, not at a breakneck speed, but very well. My year has started out very well and I am on track for a record year for me. Of course, I hope the market does not die after the tax credits expire. Currently, the homes priced below $300,000 are selling the best with the lower end of this range  selling the best. New reduced interest rates for jumbo loans should help to increase the high-end market as rates recently have been very bad for these jumbo loans.

In the event that you are not from this area, the Triangle area is in North Carolina and consist of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. Where these are the major cities in the Triangle, you also have several counties that encompass the Triangle and smaller towns such as Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Knightdale, Wendell, Zebulon, Wake Forest Youngsville, Rolesville and many more. If you are looking for a lifestyle that has been consistently ranked among the best places to live in America, call or email me for a visitor’s packet of this wonderful place to live, work and play.