Move expands company’s portfolio of premier golf courses into the Mid-Atlantic region

RALEIGH, N.C. – McConnell Golf has agreed to a long-term leasing deal with the Virginia Tech Foundation, Inc. to lease the Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech in Radford, Virginia, expanding its portfolio of premier golf courses into the Mid-Atlantic region.

The unmistakable elements of design by legendary golf course architect Pete Dye, along with Virginia Tech’s commitment to excellence and tradition are apparent from the moment you arrive at “The River.” 

There is the distinctive look and feel of links golf in a unique setting, where the extraordinary clubhouse rests on a rock cliff 70 feet above the historic and pristine New River. With two and one-half miles of frontage, every hole at The River Course offers memorable views of the New River Valley. 

The River Course hosted the 2011 NCAA Regional Championships and the 2016 Virginia State Amateur Championships and is widely considered one of the best and most challenging courses in the region. It is also the proud home of Virginia Tech and Radford University’s golf teams. 

This layout has also been featured in multiple golf course rankings in recent years, including:

  • No. 7 Golfers’ Choice 2022: Best golf courses in Virginia
  • No. 7 in GolfLink’s 25 Best College Golf Courses in the U.S. for Student Golfers
  • No. 10 in Virginia in Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play 2022: State-by-state rankings for public-access layouts
  • No. 14 in Golfweek’s Best 2022: Top 40 Campus Courses in the United States
Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech

“This place has all the ambiance and qualities that make a golf course really good,” said Dye, who passed away in early 2020 at the age of 94. “Here you’ve got the sound of the river up and down the whole golf course the entire time. The river and scenery are unbelievable.”

Dye was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2008. Among the hundreds of highly regarded Dye-designed golf courses around the world are The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Fla., The Ocean Course on Kiawah Island, S.C., Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island, S.C., and the Straits Course at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, Wisc.

McConnell Golf is no stranger to Pete Dye courses, having had the master himself renovate his original design of The Cardinal in Greensboro, N.C., in 2006.

Founded in 2003, McConnell Golf is the largest owner of private clubs in the southeast. McConnell Golf’s ownership collection — comprised of 14 golf courses, including 13 private courses and one semi-private course — includes Raleigh Country Club in Raleigh, N.C., the last design of fabled golf course architect Donald Ross, and another Ross design, Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, annual site of the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship.

The latest addition to the Raleigh-based company’s stable of premier golf courses and clubs is a homecoming of sorts for company founder and CEO John McConnell.

McConnell grew up on a farm about two hours south of The River Course in Abingdon, Virginia, where he and his brothers would hit rubber balls with homemade golf clubs into tuna cans that were used as cups. He played high school golf and continued to play casually as a student at Virginia Tech, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance prior to his career in software sales. McConnell remains an avid and supportive Hokie alumnus.

The Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech is McConnell Golf’s second course in Virginia, joining The Water’s Edge Country Club on Smith Mountain Lake outside Roanoke.


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