Refreshing Partnerships

by Kasey Olive

 Jul 04, 2019 at 5:59 AM

McConnell Golf joins forces with local brewery and California vineyard

McConnell Golf strives to bring its members new and exciting experiences throughout all sectors of the club. Its latest bounty stems from partnerships with Highland Brewing Company and Juslyn Vineyards.

It’s a warm, sunny day. After a round of golf, you head to the clubhouse and reach for an ice-cold beer from your beloved bartender. They might as well have a halo. And that first sip of brew? Ah, pure joy.

At a few different times in recent history McConnell Golf sought to put its name “on tap,” but only this year found its perfect pairing in Highland Brewing Company.

Highland was founded in Asheville, NC, by Oscar Wong in 1994. Pioneers of their trade, you may be familiar with Gaelic Ale, which was Asheville’s very first craft beer. Their rich history aligns well with another Asheville mainstay, the historic Country Club of Asheville, which is where the partnership took shape.

McConnell Golf’s very own Pin High Pilsner has quickly become Head Brewer Jamie Rowe’s go-to after a day on the course. At 5.5% ABV, it features traditional German hops like Hallertau Blanc, Saphir, and Perle. Its nuanced floral aroma and flavor balance the clean pilsner malt body. Cold fermented with lager yeast for a crisp, dry finish, this beer is simply a hole in one.

Suitably, the first tap was installed at CC of Asheville in May; however the brew is making its way eastward and will be available at all McConnell Golf properties to enjoy this summer.

For those inclined to reach for wine after a long day a work, head to the club for a meal and look for McConnell Golf’s exclusive vintage. Hailing from the wine capital of America, Napa Valley’s Juslyn Vineyards has again delivered a delectable Cabernet Sauvignon and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. 

Wine enthusiasts have found thriving communities at McConnell properties and with themed events and clubs such as Grape Nuts, the interest in wine continues to flourish.

A recent Wine and Tapas event at Sedgefield Country Club featured the new wines. I spoke with Director of Dining Services Maya Panayotova on why the Juslyn wines have become so popular.

“People love wines they can relate to a place, experience or memory and that is our everyday goal at Sedgefield – to create memories for our members and their families and friends,” she explained.

At the event, members sampled the new wines with expertly paired tapas featuring: arugula, artichoke, asparagus flatbread with a ricotta base, chives and basil, finished with lemon oil; crispy duck wontons; shredded braised short ribs with pan seared gnocchi and a tomato ragout; and an assortment of cheeses.

Next time you’re at the club, try something new – and ask your server for pairing suggestions!

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August Cookie of the Month

by Bob Dowgiallo

 Jun 28, 2019 at 8:32 PM

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

By Bob Dowgiallo, Wakefield Plantation

As a young boy growing up in Maryland, I spent many summer days with my Grandpa on the Wye River crabbing for Maryland Blue Crabs. After a long day on the river, we would journey back home with our bushels of crabs to find a plate of warm, freshly baked Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies that my grandma had made for us. Not only are these cookies nostalgic, they are delicious. I hope you enjoy!


½ cup Packed Brown Sugar

1 cup Butter, Softened

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Egg

2 cups Quick Cooking Oats

1 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

¼ teaspoon Salt

1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips


Preheat oven to 350°. In a large mixing bowl with paddle attachment, stir brown sugar and softened butter until blended. Incorporate vanilla and egg until light and fluffy. Add oats, flour, baking soda and salt. Combine ingredients, then fold in chocolate chips. Spoon onto greased and parchment lined cookie sheet about 2” apart. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet to cool.

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July Cookie of the Month

by Lauren Thedieck

 Jun 28, 2019 at 8:20 PM

Chocolate Coconut Energy Balls

By Lauren Thedieck, McConnell Golf Marketing Team

My family and I stumbled across this incredibly tasty and healthy homemade dessert that not only feeds your sweet tooth in just 10 minutes, but also supports your diet. Whole 30 approved and allergy friendly, this nutritious and easy no-bake treat is one our entire family gobbles up every time they are made.


½ cup Pecans (or other nut)

15 Whole Dates, pitted and roughly chopped

1/3 cup Shredded, Unsweetened Coconut (plus ¼ cup for rolling)

1 tablespoon Coconut Oil

1 ½ tablespoon Cocoa Powder

1 teaspoon Hemp Seed (optional)

1 tablespoon Water


Put pecans in food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Add remaining ingredients, turn food processor on until well mixed. Using a tablespoon measure, spoon out mixture and roll in balls. Coat each ball in the remaining ¼ Cup shredded coconut. Place on a parchment covered baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until they harden. Store in the fridge in an airtight container or plastic bag for up to 2 weeks. Yield: 16 energy balls

NOTES: Nut allergy? Substitute pecans with sunflower seeds. Don’t like pecans? You can use almonds or walnuts instead.

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June Cookie of the Month

by Frankie Thomas

 Apr 22, 2019 at 7:29 PM

Jelly Cookies
Frankie Thomas, Line Cook, Holston Hills Country Club

Growing up my Great Auntie first made these for me as a child. They are my personal favorite. She would always make them for me when I would visit her in Georgia while growing up. They remind me of my family every time I have them. The recipe is great because you can pick whatever jelly or preserves you want.

Fun Facts About Frankie

- Length of Service: 2.5 years
- Hometown: Knoxville TN
- Favorite Menu Item: Smoked Chicken Wings (extra hot)
- One thing someone might not know: Frankie is a very outgoing family man who loves spending time with his five kids and seven grandchildren. He was also the Holston Hills 2018 Employee of the year!
- One thing he loves about his job: The members and getting to know them. Frankie loves the family style environment of a private club.


1 ½ cups Unsalted Butter, softened                      
1 cup White Granulated Sugar
4 Egg Yolks                                                             
½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour                                    
1 cup Jelly or Preserves (any flavor)


Preheat conventional oven to 375°. In a medium bowl, cream together butter, sugar, vanilla and egg yolks. Mix in flour a little bit at a time until a soft dough forms. Roll dough into 1-inch balls.  If dough is too soft, refrigerate for 20 minutes. Place balls 2 inches apart on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Using the back of a spoon, make a small well or indentation in the middle of the cookie ball. Fill cookie with ½ teaspoon of preserves or jelly. Bake cookies 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven until they are golden brown on the bottom. Remove cookies from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack.

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May Cookie of the Month

by Tracy Cottrell

 Apr 22, 2019 at 7:14 PM

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
By Tracy Cottrell, Sedgefield Country Club 

This recipe was given to my mom by my grandma, Mary Sumner (Momaw), to all who knew her.  Momaw shared her love of cooking with me when I still had to pull up a chair to the stove so I could stir. Growing up, I fondly remember her making these cookies for our blended family. I lost her when I was 11, but never forgot her love or her cooking.

Fun Facts About Tracy

- Length of Service: 8 years and 10 months
- Hometown: Grays Chapel, North Carolina
- Favorite Menu Item: The rock shrimp salad. I make the Caribbean salsa and it’s delicious!
- One thing someone might not know about me: I love to snorkel. Being underwater with the fish is a whole different world. It’s very peaceful to me to watch all the colorful fish.
- One thing I love about my job: Being able to put a smile on someone’s face when they eat something I’ve prepared. It makes me happy to make the members or staff happy with a good meal. That’s what I love about my job.

2 cups Sugar                                          
½ cup Milk
1 Stick (8 Tablespoon) Unsalted Butter
¼ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3 cups Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats        
1 cup Smooth Peanut Butter
1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract         
Large Pinch of Salt

Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment. Bring the sugar, milk, butter and cocoa to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally and then let boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add the oats, peanut butter, vanilla and salt; stir to combine. Drop teaspoons of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Let sit at room temperature until cooled and hardened, about 30 minutes.

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New Arrivals

by Casey Griffith

 Mar 22, 2019 at 5:00 PM

Enjoy two new exclusive wines from Napa Valley’s Juslyn Vineyards.

Following the success of McConnell Golf's first exclusive wine offering, two new vintages arrive in March. Juslyn Vineyard’s incredible 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon received 97 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and sold out in six months — and McConnell Golf members will now enjoy the very last of it. Additionally, an exciting 2018 Sauvignon Blanc is available; Juslyn’s first from Sonoma County.

We caught up with Juslyn Vineyard’s Partner and General Manager Stephanie DeMasi for details on the new pours.

Casey Griffith: We’re thrilled to be extending our partnership with Juslyn! Tell me more about the new wines.

Stephanie Demasi: The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is sensational. It’s a true Cabernet Sauvignon off of Spring Mountain. To have a wine shine so bright in its youth is a rare achievement of nature. The 2018 Sauvignon Blanc was sourced from the Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County. The fruit is exotic and fresh, less mellow than the riper Napa Sauvignon Blanc we are accustomed to producing. The wine is exhilarating and versatile.

CG: As a relatively novice wine drinker, what will I like about the wines?

SD: Both of these wines are incredibly approachable — just pop and pour! They offer a bounty of fruit and great acidity, which allows them to linger on the tongue for some time.

CG: I’m already thinking about my favorite menu items to try these with. Can you offer pairing suggestions?

SD: A mixed grill of white and red meat can take on the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. It can also welcome pesto pasta salad with pecorino and artichokes — break all the rules! I love pairing curry with the 2018 Sauvignon Blanc — super zippy and fresh — or try it with arugula salad and citrus, poached salmon with lemon and roasted potatoes, or a cheese course with dried fruit.

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April Cookie of the Month

by Isaac Spencer

 Mar 01, 2019 at 10:01 PM

Oatmeal Pecan Cookies
Isaac Spencer, Executive Chef, Grande Dunes Members Club

These are cookies that my family and I make when it rains. I know that every family has different things that they like to do when it’s not an optimal time to go outside and play. At my house we bake cookies, watch movies, and enjoy the rainy day. The next time the weather forecast is calling for Spring Showers, make sure these ingredients are in your cabinet and spend an hour or so creating a delicious cookie that is sure to make a Darker Day … a little bit Brighter!

1 Stick Unsalted Butter, room temperature          
½ cup Dark Brown Sugar, packed                           
½ cup White Sugar                                                 
1 large Egg                                                              
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract                                    
½ cup + 3 tablespoons White Flour; leveled          
½ tablespoon Cornstarch                                                          
1/3 Chopped Pecans
¼ cup Oat Flour (blend Old Fashioned Oats in the blender)
½ teaspoon Baking Soda
½ teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 ½ cup Old Fashioned Oats
1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips, plus more for adding to tops of cookies 

Make sure your butter is at room temperature and not melted. Cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until light and creamy, at least 3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. In another bowl add the flour and cornstarch. To make oat flour, blend up regular oats in a blender or food processor until they resemble flour. Measure to get ¼ cup and add that in. Add in the baking soda, fine sea salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and old fashioned oats. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Coarsely chop the pecans and add them in. Stir together all ingredients and cover tightly; chill for at least 1 hour. These cookies do not cook well unless chilled. Preheat oven to 375°. Scoop out balls of dough. (If using a food scale, do cookie balls about 1.8 oz. in size). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or baking liner. Place balls of dough (no more than 9 cookies at a time) on the cookie sheet. Return the tray of cookies to the fridge for 10 minutes. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until lightly browned at the edges (even if center looks a little under-done, it cooks more after being pulled out of the oven). These cookies set up and become extremely delicious and chewy if they are slightly under-baked. Err on the side of slightly under-baking these cookies for soft, chewy, and tender cookies! Press some extra chocolate chips into the tops of the cookies and sprinkle sea salt if so desired. Cookies best enjoyed within 2-3 days.
Yield:  20 cookies.

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