McConnell Golf has expanded its footprint across the Southeast with the purchase of The Water’s Edge Country Club and The Westlake, a pair of Virginia clubs located on Smith Mountain Lake.
McConnell Golf Virginia Club Management, LLC, a McConnell Golf affiliate, will be operating both clubs. The purchases increase McConnell Golf’s portfolio to 14 courses.
McConnell Golf President & CEO John McConnell first started playing The Water’s Edge in Penhook, Virginia, with friends in the early 1990s. McConnell said 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,” McConnell added.
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 mountain views, in addition to lake vistas on 15 holes. In 2007, the golf course was renovated by Pinehurst-based golf course architect Richard Mandell, who also renovated the Country Club of Asheville for McConnell Golf.
“The Water’s Edge residents comprise 100 percent of the club’s membership roster,” McConnell Golf COO Christian Anastasiadis said. “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, Virginia, that offers a memorable layout, along with zoysiagrass fairways.
“The Westlake Golf Course gives you the feel of playing in the mountains, with some good elevation changes,” McConnell Golf vice president of golf operations Brian Kittler said. “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 Donald Ross.
“McConnell Golf is a company that has set its vision on building clubs of the future,” Anastasiadis said. “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.”
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,” McConnell said. “We look forward to being good stewards of these wonderful properties that are great additions to our portfolio.”
McConnell Golf 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, North Carolina, Raleigh Country Club recently unveiled a $5.5 million restoration of Donald Ross’ last design by architect Kyle Franz.