Raleigh-based golf course ownership group expands southeastern presence with purchase of two golf clubs in Virginia on Smith Mountain Lake
(RALEIGH, N.C.) — McConnell Golf has expanded its footprint across the southeast with the purchase of two golf clubs in Virginia located on Smith Mountain Lake.
Always aiming to have the exact number of clubs with “14 clubs in the bag,” McConnell Golf and its affiliates now have a “full set of clubs” with the purchase of The Water’s Edge Country Club and The Westlake. Both golf clubs are set along the shores of Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia’s Roanoke region, southeast of Roanoke and southwest of Lynchburg.
McConnell Golf Virginia Club Management, LLC, a McConnell Golf affiliate, will be operating both clubs.
McConnell Golf President & CEO John McConnell first started playing The Water’s Edge in Penhook, Va., with friends in the early 1990’s. McConnell says he almost immediately, “Fell in love with the golf course and Smith Mountain Lake.”
“In 1994, I bought my first property in The Water’s Edge and my family has enjoyed our ‘home away from home’ for 25 years,” said McConnell.
Established in 1988, The Water's Edge Country Club features a private, 18-hole golf course designed by R.F. Loving, Jr. Encompassing 13.5 miles of Smith Mountain Lake shoreline, The Water’s Edge provides unparalleled mountain views, in addition to lake vistas on 15 holes. In 2007, the golf course was fully renovated by Pinehurst-based golf course architect Richard Mandell, who also renovated the Country Club of Asheville for McConnell Golf.
Beyond its 36,000 square foot clubhouse, The Water’s Edge members enjoy an extensive variety of amenities including golf, tennis, swimming, fitness, boating, fishing and horseback riding. The community — developed by Ron Willard, from the Willard Companies — is almost fully constructed.
“The Water’s Edge residents comprise 100 percent of the club’s membership roster,” said McConnell Golf Chief Operating Officer Christian Anastasiadis. “Although The Water’s Edge is a second home community, with beautiful vistas on the lake and the Blue Ridge Mountains, many members have resided full-time at the retreat during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Also previously owned by the Willard family and designed by Virginia native Russell Breeden, The Westlake is an enjoyable, public golf course in Hardy, Va., that offers a memorable layout, along with all zoysia fairways. “The Westlake Golf Course gives you the feel of playing in the mountains, with some good elevation changes,” said McConnell Golf VP of Golf Operations Brian Kittler. “The golf course, especially from the fairway perspective with zoysia, is in great shape and enjoyable to play.”
McConnell Golf now owns 15 clubs and operates 17 courses total — a total of 324 holes, as two courses offer 27 holes. This includes Greensboro’s Sedgefield Country Club, the longtime home of the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship, designed by late golf course architect Donald Ross. McConnell Golf is the only individual golf course proprietor in the world that owns four Ross-designed courses.
“McConnell Golf is a company that has set its vision on building clubs of the future,” said Anastasiadis. “We see things differently than other clubs or operators, focusing on the little nuances that make a trip to the club memorable for the customer.”
McConnell Golf is an owner and operator built upon the concept of “pure golf for the true golfer,” focusing on enhancing both the individual club’s and its company’s overall membership value. The McConnell Golf portfolio throughout the Carolinas, Tennessee and now Virginia includes courses designed by legends Pete Dye, Tom Fazio, Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, Hale Irwin and Ellis Maples.
“The Willard family has built impressive golf and country clubs in the Smith Mountain Lake region,” said McConnell. “We look forward to being good stewards of these wonderful properties that are great additions to our portfolio.”
McConnell Golf has had an eventful 2020. In addition to the company’s expansion in southwest Virginia with The Water’s Edge and The Westlake, and the addition of Porters Neck Country Club in Wilmington, N.C., Raleigh Country Club recently unveiled a $5.5 million restoration of Donald Ross’ last design by architect Kyle Franz.