GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – With the Wyndham Championship scheduled to tee off Thursday at Sedgefield Country Club, the tournament’s corporate sponsor announced a new “family” relationship with a resort a few miles away.
Wyndham Hotels announced Tuesday a marketing arrangement with the Grandover Resort and Spa at 1000 Club Road, which already serves as the host hotel for the tournament.
But there are two big questions that come with this announcement: Is the hotel chain being sold by the Koury Corporation, and would the golf tournament possibly move from Sedgefield to Grandover?
The answer to both is a firm “no.”
In a release, Wyndham, which says it owns some 9,000 hotels and resorts in 96 countries and calls itself the “world’s largest hotel franchising company,” said it was “adding” Grandover under its elite Wyndham Grand brand, which includes international locations and a lucrative rewards program.
Grandover, which was opened in 1999 by the Koury Family, features 244 rooms, convention space and two golf courses and anchors a surrounding residential and retail development. It boasts about its ranking among North Carolina’s best golf resorts by U.S. News & World Report and other travel sites.
Rob Myers, a spokesperson for Wyndham, described the relationship as “a franchise agreement,” which means Grandover would be licensing the Wyndham Grand name while gaining access to our global sales, marketing and technology platforms, which he said should happen by fall.
“There is no change in hotel ownership or the hotel’s management team,” he said.
Kelly Harrill, executive vice president of Hospitality at Koury Corporation, said the resort would add a Wyndham tagline to its logo but described the overall relationship in more intimate terms.
“Wyndham has been in Greensboro for 17 years as sponsor of the tournament, and Grandover always has been a sponsor,” Harrill told WGHP.
“They are like family to us. Their leadership team and our leadership team are on a first-name basis. It’s like home week when they come.”
In Wyndham’s announcement, Jurgen Schafers, Wyndham Grand group vice president and brand leader, called Grandover “a spectacular property that masterfully captures the essence of what makes every stay with Wyndham Grand so special. “Elevated yet approachable, personable yet polished, it caters to travelers with welcoming, tailored experiences that allow them to make the most of every moment. It’s a tremendous addition to the Wyndham Grand brand and one we know guests, particularly those with a passion for golf, are absolutely going to love.”
About the tournament
The Wyndham Championship, the final event of the PGA Tour’s season, has been a staple in Greensboro under several names since 1938, when legendary Sam Snead won the first Greater Greensboro Open at Starmount Forest Country Club. The event was played at Sedgefield in its early years and for 31 years at Forest Oaks Country Club. It moved back to Sedgefield in 2008.
Harrill said that Grandover officials are happy with the tournament’s nearby location and that the resort would be ill-suited to host a PGA event because it would limit access to the golf courses by its customers.
“Grandover is not set up to host a PGA Tour event,” Harrill said. “They [Wyndham and tournament organizers] are very happy at Sedgefield, and we are glad they are there.”
Bobby Powell, tournament director of the Wyndham Championship, said in an email that “we’re all excited about today’s announcement.” He cited the long relationship with Grandover and Koury.
“Our PGA TOUR event has a long-term agreement with Sedgefield Country Club and McConnell Golf,” he said. “The players love the Donald Ross-designed course, and we do not have any plans to move the tournament to a different venue.”
A larger resort?
Harrill had said in the announcement that “Wyndham is known the world over not only for its iconic brands but what is arguably one of the most compelling rewards programs in our industry today.”
And he told WGHP that this might be a first step in expanding Grandover into a larger facility. He said founder Joe Koury during construction had added infrastructure that would support two more wings of the hotel.
He said Koury officials always have been considering adding the Wyndham relationship but were “waiting for the timing to be correct.” He cited the ongoing growth around Greensboro as making this the right time.
And he offered the same picture about expanding the resort.
“As Grandover grew in the community, we knew this day would come,” he said. “We have no current plan [to expand], but we can have the conversation at this point.”