A Special Bond with the Special Olympics

by Lauren Thedieck

 Mar 21, 2019 at 3:00 PM

McConnell Golf is proud to support the athletes and the organization.

This past year, the warm smiles and genuine hearts of Special Olympics athletes brought McConnell Golf properties together.

Director of Tennis Operations Kyle Thortsen and The Country Club at Wakefield Plantation hosted the Wake County Special Olympics team at the tennis complex. Together, club staff and junior players led practices, games, and lessons to help Special Olympics athletes prepare for state competitions.

“We encouraged our juniors to get involved and see how rewarding it is to give back to the community,” says Thortsen. “Next year, our goal is to extend our commitment with this organization to our Sedgefield, Providence, and Asheville properties.”

Also at Wakefield, Director of Golf Adam McLaughlin hosted an invitational tournament at the nine-hole Plantation Course. It allowed athletes that did not get a chance to compete in the state championship an opportunity to play in a local tournament.

“We are humbled by their courage, contagious spirit, and eagerness to get better as individuals and teams alongside their family and their loved ones,” says Michael Thomas, club manager at Wakefield.

Over the past six years, members and staff from Treyburn CC, Wakefield, and Raleigh CC have volunteered for the Track and Field Spring Games in Raleigh. They’ve taken on roles to announce winners, organize races, and cheer on athletes throughout the games.

Nearby, Brook Valley CC welcomed all Special Olympic athletes from Greenville County to enjoy an end-of-year pool party celebration. East Carolina University Assistant Athletics Director Matt Maloney was in attendance and shared a little about the celebration with Brian Bailey of WNCT News.

“I started 21 years ago coaching these wonderful friends ... a few years later, we wanted to celebrate all the good things they do not only in the pool but also in the community,” said Maloney.

On a personal level, I have been involved with the Special Olympics in every stage of my life and am so proud of our clubs for continuing to engage with our community. I believe lending our facilities, our resources, and our time deepens our relationships with those we support and teaches us all of the power of giving.


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On the Water

by Meredith Donahue

 Mar 20, 2019 at 7:30 PM

McConnell Golf’s three marinas provide the perfect launching point.

Whether at sunrise, sunset, or high noon, setting off on your boat is truly a treasured pastime to boat owners at the marinas adjacent to three McConnell-associated properties. For members and their guests, certain trips spark fond memories and some even create annual traditions.

McConnell Golf manages three marinas: Crazy Horse Marina, Old North State Marina, and Grande Dunes Marina. All are open to the public and offer slip opportunities for those looking for their next marina home, or just stopping by for the day.

Crazy Horse Marina, located in Moneta, VA, is owned by the McConnell family. This picturesque place is centrally located on Smith Mountain Lake in a cove just off Blackwater Marker B-10A, and offers full boating services. The marina hosts popular annual events such as Bass Pro Shop’s Big Bass Tour and the SML Wine Festival.

A little further south is Old North State Club Marina in New London, NC. Full-service, and available to boat owners and renters, the marina offers 50 wet slips, 100 dry-storage spaces, and 50 fence spaces. Anchoring Uwharrie National Forest, it’s the perfect launching point to explore 115 miles of shoreline.

In South Carolina, Grande Dunes Marina is the ideal place to begin your adventure on the Intracoastal Waterway. With 126 wet slips and 1,200 linear feet of lay-along floating docks, the marina offers a protected harbor for vessels up to 120 feet. A full-service marina, Grande Dunes is also located next to the Anchor Café, a favorite spot among locals.

For Grande Dunes member Francis Bell, the marina is like home. Bell was one of the first to purchase a slip in 2005, citing the marina’s prime location. Centrally located in Myrtle Beach, Grande Dunes Marina has allowed Bell to travel along the Waterway to picturesque fishing villages like Southport, NC and Georgetown, SC.

Most memorably, Bell recently took his Sea Ray to the annual Georgetown Wooden Boat Show, which features wooden boat exhibits with more than 140 classic wooden boats displayed on land and water. Poised to enjoy the novelties of the Wooden Boat Show, one can imagine Mr. Bell gazing eagerly towards the dock, preparing for the historical day ahead.

Bell’s marina neighbors, Steven and Denise LeMaster, use the marina year- round — mostly for extended weekends.

“It’s a great place to relax and enjoy fabulous sunsets,” says Steven LeMaster. The couple take longer boat trips in the spring and fall to beautiful coastal Carolina towns like Beaufort, NC; Wrightsville Beach, NC; and Hilton Head Island, SC. Add in a stop at the Anchor Café for a post-sail cocktail, and it’s the perfect recipe for the perfect trip down the Waterway.

Whether your vessel is headed for the quiet, smooth waters of Badin or Smith Mountain Lake or toward the Atlantic by way of the Intracoastal Waterway, marinas like these are the perfect place for members’ beloved boats to call home.

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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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March Cookie of the Month

by Graham Heaton

 Mar 01, 2019 at 9:46 PM

Marshmallow Toffee Cookies
By Graham Heaton, Sous Chef, Old North State Club

As a parent of little ones, it’s very important that we spend time with them and share our love of our jobs so that they have an appreciation of what we do. When given the chance to recreate memories of my childhood, I get out one of our old family recipes and share with my children the joy of baking. Baking is also a chance to work with our children on simple daily tasks that help when learning and practicing math. The children don’t even realize you are quizzing them on these math questions.


1 cup Margarine 
¾ cup packed Brown Sugar
¾ cup Granulated Sugar
1 large Egg
1 large Egg Yolk
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
¾ teaspoon Salt
¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
½ cup Mini Chocolate Chips
¾ cup Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits
¾ cup Mini Marshmallows


Preheat oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment or silpat liners. Mix brown sugar, granulated sugar and margarine, for about 30-45 seconds, or until fluffy. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla; mix until well blended. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda until blended (dough will be soft and creamy). Add mix-ins into the dough until every spoonful of dough has some of the delicious mix-ins. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets 3 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes until edges are lightly golden. Cool 1 minute on wire rack. Remove from baking sheets and cool completely.

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The Cardinal Now Semi-Private

by Brad King

 Feb 26, 2019 at 1:50 PM

Greensboro’s Sedgefield Country Club Dye Course will become a semi-private facility and restore its original name, The Cardinal by Pete Dye.

On March 1, 2019, the Sedgefield Country Club Dye Course near Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro becomes a semi-private facility and restores its original name, The Cardinal by Pete Dye.

“We are excited about this change and look forward to increased rounds and activity on the golf course,” wrote McConnell Golf Triad Regional Director Beverly Marler in a letter to the membership. “Rest assured membership will still have its privileges.”

In 2006, McConnell Golf purchased the Cardinal Golf & Country Club, a Pete Dye-designed masterpiece originally constructed in 1974 and host to many nationally recognized amateur tournaments, including the club’s renowned Cardinal Amateur. After nearly $5 million in renovations to the clubhouse and golf course, most notably hiring Dye to return and fully restore his original design, The Cardinal is recognized as one of the state’s most challenging courses.

With the recent announcement, The Cardinal tee sheet is open to non-member play with the following conditions: 

  • All members will have preferred access to the tee sheet, allowing them to secure the same prime times to which they are accustomed.
  • All Full Golf members may retain the same access that is currently enjoyed at Sedgefield and other McConnell Golf properties.
  • All Dye Family Golf members may retain their same membership privileges at The Cardinal as well as dining privileges at Sedgefield.
  • All current dues/fees will remain in place.

Tee times are available to the public via CardinalGolf.com and GolfNow's online tee time marketplace. 

Dye Family Golf memberships for The Cardinal will continue to be available. In addition, Head Golf Professional Chris Terry and his team will offer a full calendar of golf tournaments, events, and programs throughout the year that are available exclusively to members — including Full Golf members who have access to all McConnell Golf properties, existing Dye Family Golf members and any new Cardinal memberships. These programs will not be open to non-members.

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February Cookie of the Month

by Lauren Thedieck

 Jan 01, 2019 at 10:24 PM

Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies
By Shug Hammond, Line Cook, Providence Country Club

Anything red velvet is my favorite! During the month of February when RED is so prevalent, I think this special dessert will bring something “lovely” to your house... enjoy!

Fun Facts About Shug

  • Length of Service at PCC: Two years
  • Hometown: Plainfield New Jersey
  • Favorite Menu Item: Pan-seared Norwegian salmon, honey Dijon, dill crème fraiche, potato latkes, and shaved asparagus
  • One thing someone might not know about me: I want to try standup comedy
  • One thing I love about my job: I love the freedom to be creative through desserts


1 Egg                                                      
1 ¼ cup All-Purpose Flour
½ teaspoon Baking Soda                       
½ cup Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract                 
½ cup White Sugar
1 ½ cup White Chocolate Chips             
1 ¼ cup Red Velvet Cake Mix
¾ cup Butter

DIRECTIONS: Using a paddle attachment, cream butter and both sugars until smooth and creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add in flour, cake mix, and baking soda until a smooth dough is formed. Then, add in chocolate chips. Let dough chill at least 2 hours. Chilling prevents the cookie from spreading too thin while baking. Bake at 325° for 9-11 minutes. Cookies may not seem fully cooked but will firm up when cooled. Yield:  24 cookies


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January Cookie of the Month

by Lauren Thedieck

 Jan 01, 2019 at 10:23 PM

Oatmeal Cranberry Apple Cookies
By Cedric Hendricks, Line Cook, Raleigh Country Club

These cookies remind me of my travels to Atlanta, Georgia. At a hotel where I stayed, these tasty treats were offered as free samples to the guests. I loved them so much I wanted to recreate the recipe and spread the same delight to others. Sometimes it’s the little things we remember the most. I hope that this recipe will make some special memories for you and your family as they have done mine.

Fun Facts About Cedric: 

  • Length of Service at RCC: Three years
  • Hometown: Henderson, NC
  • Favorite Menu Item: Crispy softshell crab on toasted brioche bun with arugula, pancetta, sliced tomato and tarragon caper remoulade
  • One thing someone might not know about me: I like Japanese anime
  • One thing I love about my job: The ability to be creative


1 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour
2 large Eggs
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
3 cups Quick Oats
¼ teaspoon Nutmeg
1 ½ cups dried Cranberries
1 cup Butter, softened
1 ½ cups small, diced Apples
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Pecans, toasted
½ cup Sugar

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350°. Mix all dry ingredients. Cream the butter and sugars together. Gradually, add eggs and vanilla until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until incorporated. Fold in oats, cranberries, apples, and pecans. If mixture appears too thick, add 1 tablespoon of water. Form 1-inch balls on a cookie sheet one inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes.


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