Town & Country Clubs
BY Mary Margaret McEachern
Carolina Yacht Club
History and Tradition
The Carolina Yacht Club founded in 1853 on Wrightsville Beach is among the three oldest yacht clubs in the nation. The club fosters an appreciation for the history and tradition of yachting while also providing a fun family beach and soundfront destination complete with a deli and full bar.
The club’s historically designated facilities are bare-bones compared with those of other local beach clubs. Except for limited locker room and staff areas there is no climate control. The building comprises primarily porch deck and open ballrooms. There are two adjacent beach cottages that can be reserved by members.
The Yacht Club’s season runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day but members enjoy its facilities for beach and sound access year-round.
At only a few hundred dollars annually dues are surprisingly low; many members cite the guaranteed parking as more than worth what they pay in dues and assessments.
Full membership is closed but the club accepts legacies and offers limited membership classes for local clergy and those interested only in sailing. For a nominal fee the club offers sailing instruction to the public. It even offers a S.T.E.M. educational program for children and youth that uses sailing as a practical learning platform in physics and mathematics. More information on these programs can be found at www.carolinayachtclub.org.
Hanover Seaside Club
A Little Something for Everyone
Founded by German immigrants in 1898 the Hanover Seaside Club is the southernmost beach club on Wrightsville Beach. Originally constructed on Carolina Beach its clubhouse was moved to its present location in 1906.
The Seaside Club offers its members a delightful blend of restaurant-style meals room reservations on the property sound-side amenities and easy beach access. Unlike seasonal clubs the full use of its climate-controlled facilities is available year-round and it hosts social events throughout the year.
Membership categories include full and seasonal with reduced dues for seniors. Originally prospective members had to prove a heritage linked to Hanover Germany.
Membership is currently closed to the public; however legacy membership is available for the children of current members.
Fine Dining at a Beautiful Venue
The beachfront Surf Club is the northernmost of Wrightsville Beach’s three private clubs. It was built in 1941 at a time when restaurants were scarce to provide Wrightsville families a place to dine and entertain during the summer.
It hosts social activities and provides its members year-round access to an upscale dining experience at the beach. It is a sought-after venue for beach weddings and receptions.
Membership is currently closed but it offers a waiting list for prospective members upon proposal by a current member.
Cape Fear Club
Men’s Professional Club with Deep Roots
Founded in 1866 by former Confederates Wilmington’s Cape Fear Club is recognized as the oldest men’s club in continuous existence in the South. It originally served as a social and networking club for single gentlemen and provided home-cooked meals gaming a bar and a gathering spot during an era when bachelors and widowers lived in hotels and had no other access to such amenities.
Located at 201 Chestnut Street the Cape Fear Club serves as a business and professional club. Its membership has historically comprised politically influential individuals. Membership is available by invitation only. The Cape Fear Club is extremely private and has no website. Only limited information is available.
The City Club of Wilmington
Fine Food & Southern Charm
The City Club of Wilmington was founded in 1841 as a local networking and entertainment hub. It is headquartered in the historic DeRosset House at 23 South Second Street and is considered Wilmington’s premier fine dining club. It is a go-to site for wedding receptions professional meetings and elegant lodging in its historic setting.
Unlike most private clubs membership is open and can be secured with a $1 500 initiation fee for a one-year contract $700 for a two-year contract and $450 for a three-year contract. Dues are $85 monthly with a $60 monthly food and beverage minimum. Members enjoy full access to the historic grounds an opportunity to network with top local business leaders monthly wine tastings and reciprocal relationships with more than 50 exclusive private clubs worldwide.
The City Club hosts the annual “Great Gatsby Gala ” an elegant event that supports its nonprofit charitable foundation. The foundation in turn supports numerous notable local charities.
More information can be found at www.cityclubofwilmington.com.
No longer simply havens for golf and tennis lovers local country clubs are evolving in creative ways to attract members by offering fitness and social opportunities family-friendly events and structured dues and fees schedules making them more attractive and available than ever.
Cape Fear Country Club
Timeless & Evolving
Founded in 1896 Cape Fear Country Club is the oldest private country club in North Carolina. Its hallmark facility is its classic golf course designed by legendary architect Donald Ross.
Far from being simply a golf club it has clay tennis courts and a state-of-the-art 11 000-square-foot fitness center complete with a fully equipped gym and weight room. The fitness center offers classes for yoga boot camp and high-intensity interval training and specialized classes like CPR and self-defense. Its full-sized pool is perfect for lap swimming.
The Country Club provides an elegant experience for members hosting special events like weddings meetings and parties at its expansive clubhouse which boasts a full-service pro shop spacious men’s and women’s locker rooms several dining areas and meeting rooms and a cozy bar room.
The club’s world-class cuisine can also be enjoyed on an outdoor terrace overlooking the pastoral golf course. A caf� at the fitness center serves delicious and nutritious fare for the health-conscious.
The Country Club is family-friendly hosting parent-child golf tournaments dances and sleepovers. It has a child-watch center and offers numerous summer camp opportunities. Comprehensive junior golf and tennis programs offer camps and lessons and the youth swim team is among the best in the region.
The club offers several membership categories with a tiered dues structure. While initiation fees can be steep — $35 000 for full membership — options for financing over time are available. For those interested in the clubhouse and fitness center only a house membership with a $10 000 initiation fee is offered.
New member candidates must satisfy a six-month residency requirement and be proposed endorsed and approved.
Country Club of Landfall
Billed as the Finest Private Member-Owned Club in the South
The name “Country Club of Landfall” conjures up thoughts of beauty exclusivity and affluence. Bearing the fees however confers copious benefits on members.
Landfall boasts 45 holes of championship golf on picturesque courses with views of the Intracoastal Waterway. It also has state-of-the-art tennis and fitness facilities and an Olympic-size swimming pool. It hosts hundreds of activities each year including the Landfall Foundation Legends of Tennis in September and the Willie Stargell Foundation Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament in November.
Other special events include wine tastings ballroom dancing a classic car show holiday menus and numerous social events.
Landfall’s dining facilities offer gourmet cuisine and casual fare among three restaurants two snack bars and a caf�. Family-friendly activities include golf tennis and swim lessons summer camps and other educational and social events for younger members.
Landfall offers several membership tiers with graduated dues and initiation fees to accommodate different interests and budgets. Initiation fees are $30 000 for full members $10 000 for sports members and $5 000 for house members.
Full members may use all golf tennis swimming fitness dining clubhouse and social facilities; sports members can use all facilities except the golf courses; and house members have access to the clubhouse and social facilities.
Membership in Landfall is open and information can be obtained at www.countrycluboflandfall.com.
Pine Valley Country Club
Classic & Affordable
Founded in 1955 Pine Valley Country Club provides a welcoming atmosphere for its members centered around a classic championship golf course.
Other than the timeless golf course membership benefits include use of the pool tennis courts and clubhouse. Certain membership levels also include privileges at O2 Fitness. The clubhouse has a fully staffed restaurant offering fine cuisine and catering services.
Exemplifying its family-friendly goals Pine Valley’s fees are the lowest of all area country clubs including a $3 000 initiation fee for all membership categories. Monthly dues ranging from $69 for the house membership to $479 for the full legacy membership are also comparatively reasonable. Pine Valley also offers corporate and young professional memberships for candidates seeking networking opportunities.
Membership in Pine Valley is open and information can be obtained at www.pinevalleycountryclub.com.
Eagle Point Golf Club
Locally Famous & Impeccably Beautiful
Host of the 2017 PGA Wells Fargo Championship Eagle Point Golf Club’s Tom Fazio-designed course is noted for its beautiful fairways and elegant integration with its location on the Intracoastal Waterway. The course is ranked among Golf Digest’s Top 100 in America.
Eagle Point’s 22 000-square-foot Down East-style clubhouse offers plenty of room for gathering dining and discussing the day’s round.
The club attracts members from throughout the state and nation. An article in Links Magazine says most of Eagle Point’s 400-plus members live more than 50 miles away. Members are greeted by airport shuttles and provided with on-site cottages equipped with pool tables fireplaces grills drinks cigars and cookies.
Membership in Eagle Point is closed and little public information is available.