The Water’s Edge in Penhook and The Westlake Golf and Country Club in Hardy have been sold to McConnell’s Golf, which is located in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Waterfront in Moneta also has reportedly been sold to a Roanoke lawyer who loves to golf.

All three courses were originally owned by the Willard Companies and were sold through Hilda W. Allen Real Estate Inc.

The amount that the properties were sold for was not revealed, but in 2019, the Water’s Edge was listed for $7.9 million, The Westlake was listed for $1 million and The Waterfront was listed for $3.2 million.

John McConnell, who is the owner and CEO of McConnell Golf, has talked about how he played golf at The Water’s Edge Country Club in the 1990s.

With the purchase of the two golf courses, McConnell Golf now owns 15 clubs, according to reports.  

The Water’s Edge was first listed for sale in 2015. According to a 2015 Smith Mountain Eagle article, it is a private 712-acre development that includes an 18-hole PGA Championship course and a private 36,000 sq. ft. country club nestled along 13.5 miles of Smith Mountain Lake shoreline.

At the time, it was listed through Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Smith Mountain Lake Real Estate for $25 million and included a 12,000 sq. ft. gated estate and primary residence of Ron Willard Sr., president of the company.

According to The Willard Companies, the land was purchased in 1985 and the course was designed by nationally known golf course architect R.F. Loving Jr. and was renovated for $5 million in 2007 by well-known golf course architect Richard Mandell and Aspen Corporation. It was listed as one of the best five courses in the U.S. by Golf Digest. Its listing included a 36,000-square foot clubhouse, 36-acre equestrian center and 48-seat historic chapel built in the 1890s and restored.

The Westlake was originally the semi-private golf course Chestnut Creek before the company purchased it in 1996. It “carries the trademark touch of Russell Breeden,” mixing distance and accuracy.

According to the listing for The Waterfront, it is an 18-hole, PGA Championship Golf Course that covers 750 acres and 8.5 miles of shoreline. It was designed by George Dillon of Fazio Group and built in 1976.

In the 2015 article, Willard Sr., one of the leading developers at Smith Mountain Lake for more than 40 years, announced plans to retire.

Christopher Finley, who was the director of marketing and communications for The Willard Companies and is now the Executive Director of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce, had stated at the time that a committee was formed by the homeowners association to look into the possibility of The Water’s Edge becoming member-owned, but there was not unanimous support for that.

Read more stories in the upcoming issue of the Smith Mountain Eagle newspaper. Pick up a copy or subscribe at to view articles in the print and/or e-edition version.

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