Turning 25

by Matt McConnell

 Aug 22, 2017 at 6:00 PM

Old North State Club celebrates a milestone

it’s a big year for one of McConnell Golf’s most iconic properties: Old North State Club is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Recognized by Golf Digest as the number two “Best New Private Course in America” in its inaugural year, Old North State Club re- mains home to one of North Carolina’s best courses. Created by Tom Fazio in 1991 along a peninsula on Badin Lake, this course consistently ranks in the state’s top five according to the North Carolina Golf Panel.

Since opening 25 years ago, ONSC has seen some incredible moments. “Hosting the Men’s and Women’s ACC Championship for 20-plus years has been a historic trip,” says Tom Du- cey, director of golf. “Watching college golfers who played here develop into world-class touring pros has been very exciting over the years.”

The list of stars who battled in the ACC Championships at ONSC is a long one. It’s even more inspiring to consider the major tour winners, like Lucas Glover and Stewart Sink, who began their careers walking this tract in college.

VP of Golf Operations Brian Kittler began working at Old North State Club in April 1998, two weeks before an incredible ACC Championship field. Matt Kuchar from Georgia Tech was the defending US Am Champion, Clem- son’s Charles Warren was the defending NCAA Champion, and Tim Clark from NC State was the defending USGA Pub Links Champion. All would challenge each other for the lead but Charles Warren would reclaim his title.

“I am always interested to see how ACC players from today play the course and what they shoot compared to the players from the 1990s and early 2000s,” says Kittler.

It’s not just ACC athletes who have excelled here. In 2011, a new member at ONSC, Bubba Watson, was looking for some low-key competition after edging out Phil Mickelson to win his second ca- reer PGA Tour event. A condition of his membership was that he could partici- pate in the Men’s Club Championship; he stated that he wanted an opportuni- ty to meet his fellow members.

As you might assume, Watson won by a landslide. Even though he bo- geyed holes No. 8 and No. 9 to shoot 36 on the front, he shot 27 on the back and claimed the title with Mr. Paul Tucker finishing second. It may have been unfair for the rest of the members competing, but telling others that they lost to a Masters winner sure is an interesting story.

Lodge Manager Robin Barringer has been an employee at Old North State Club since the beginning. She recalls a memorable story.

“One of my favorite members, Rick Dees — the Weekly Top 40-DJ — was here with some friends, including Jack Nicholson,” she says. “They requested a boat to rent for the day, so I arranged it for them. Some friends of mine were fishing close by and didn’t believe me when I told them who was coming. Sure enough, Rick Dees and Jack Nicholson unloaded from a van. You should have seen my friend’s faces when Mr. Dees said ‘Hello, Robin!’”

With the privacy of the Lakefront Lodge, many others from all walks of life, including politicians, have stayed overnight on the property. With a beau- tiful lake, five-star lodging, and five-star dining, it’s not surprising that so many come back to this destination property.

A short drive from two bustling metros, the Uwharrie Point commu- nity maintains a relaxed atmosphere that transcends to its social hub at the clubhouse. Meals are often enjoyed on the patio, and catching up with friends occurs between Adirondack chairs with sweeping views of Badin Lake.

Richard and Lynn Matthews joined in 1992 and have a wealth of memories at the club.

“The people are what make this community special,” says Mr. Matthews. “All of the people that we have come to know have been very special.“

Here’s to many more memorable moments for Old North State Club.

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Badin Lake Bomber

by Shayla Martin

 Apr 01, 2016 at 9:26 PM

A World War II relic lies forever deep beneath the surface near Old North State Club.

From the islands of the South Pacific to the fields and beaches of Europe, you can find dozens of memorials commemorating the U.S. soldiers who fought and died in World War II. But a monument much less well-known honors two soldiers who perished tragically near the Old North State Club during the war.

Although the moments before the crash of the B-25 bomber plane into the dark waters of Badin Lake are shrouded in mystery, the story passed down through the years is one of a romantic gesture gone wrong. On June 8, 1944, two days after D-Day, 2nd Lieutenant Charles McDaniel and co-pilot John Withrow prepared to continue a delayed trip of the bomber to the marine base in Cherry Point, North Carolina when McDaniel decided to get creative with their departure. Before takeoff, he told his parents, in-laws, and new bride Elizabeth Hill that he would circle Palmer Mountain and fly past the house to signal goodbye. Unfortunately, that moment never arrived. As they waited in the front yard, they heard a loud explosion — the plane crashed into Badin Lake.

While Hill, devastated, ran back into the house, the families hurried to the lake only to find debris. Military naval divers conducted searches that located the plane but not the bodies of the pilots. A week after the crash, a report to the chief of naval operations stated that “it is quite evident the aircraft disintegrated on impact, and that the parts are well buried in the silt on the bottom of the reservoir ... No seats were recovered from the wreckage and it is possible that the bodies may still be strapped in the seats which, by their weight, would cause them to be buried in the mud on the bottom of the reservoir.”

The military never officially determined the cause of the crash, but has concluded that McDaniel was 15 miles away from his approved route when the crash occurred. The plane had no reported maintenance issues on the day of the crash; some historians theorize that the plane hit an air pocket, causing the wing tip to hit the water. The truth of what caused the crash may remain a mystery forever. Portions of the plane were recovered during the salvage operations and can be seen at the Badin Historic Museum, but no bodies were ever recovered.

In 1991, the Naval Historical Center conducted a further search that yielded only several small plane parts. Leftover funds from the effort were used to erect a memorial to the two pilots. It was dedicated on Veteran’s Day in 2001, a lasting reminder.



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