In 2000, Wakefield Plantation was a new club in a new community, and newly joined members were excited about all the opportunities that were now open to them: meeting families, the creation of lifelong friends, social events only moments away… the excitement was contagious and the possibilities endless.
It only took one round of golf between members Dick Hummel, Roger Honbarrier, Butch Charlton, and John Securcher to know this was the place they wanted to be. As this foursome teed off for the first time, their journey together had just begun. What began that day as four men playing golf grew to a standing group of twelve members in just two years. Over the next few years, this group’s popularity and bond grew enough to allow them to become part of the Five County Seniors Interclub Association, and then in 2010 to how it is known today - the Wakefield Senior Men’s Golf Association (WSMGA).
Under the direction of the original founders, Dick Hummel, John Securcher, Butch Charlton, John Easton, Jim Burns, Ed Kozlowski and Bill Brumagim, this group is now comprised of more than 70 men over the age of 50 who pay a small annual fee of $50 for all of the year’s events and gatherings. Known for their “play days” as well as their participation in club and private golfing events (totaling around 2,000 rounds of golf in the last few years), the WSMGA travels regularly to McConnell Golf sister properties to create support of the club, to enjoy new experiences and to bond as friends.
They helped start Wakefield’s Senior Member-Guest, they regularly host numerous social events and they are a driving force for significant growth at the club and on the course.
One of the WSMGA’s proudest achievements that sets them apart from most associations is their mission to serve through charity within their community. Josh Points, Director of Golf at Wakefield Plantation states, “The WSMGA is a group of dynamic men that embodies all that is good in a private country club. They foster camaraderie in all that they do, support all club activities and go out of their way to give back to the local community. Wakefield Plantation is a better club because of their efforts.”
This enriching goal is accomplished with the help of WSMGA’s members, their friends and family as well as the fellow club members and staff of Wakefield Plantation through volunteer hours and donations.
Organized and supported by the club over the past 3 years, the WSMGA gives back in many ways, including but not limited to:
- Creation of a non-profit organization under WSMGA
- “We Care” packages and phone cards to soldiers serving in Afghanistan (over 150 packages sent in 2011 and 2012 combined)
- WSMGA Military Scholarship Fund: academic scholarships established in the form of annual grants for deserving children of NC service personnel (to begin 2014)
- Organizing donations to the military from club members
- Preparing and delivering food to be served to the USO
- Assisting with the REX Hospital Open
Currently their two primary charitable efforts include providing volunteers for the “Shepherd’s Table,” a daily operating soup kitchen in downtown Raleigh. To date, 37 of the members have volunteered with this charity and reached over 460 hours served last year alone primarily working to prepare and serve food. Jay Eggenberger and Jim Weathers lead this effort as team captains and are the organization’s cooks on the fourth Wednesday of every month. The second is the creation and implementation of the “WE CARE” First Annual Golf Classic to benefit North Carolina Military and their families, which will take place on October 1, 2013 at Wakefield Plantation. “What started two years ago as a way to provide care packages and phone cards to troops overseas and to express our appreciation and gratitude for their efforts under the founder and leader, Robert Bartholomew, has now grown in new ways,” says WSMGA’s President Dick Hummel.
“We support the SAAF (Soldiers and Airmen Assistance fund), the USO at RDU and the scholarship grants. The SAAF is our primary charity. It helps returning deployed National Guard servicemen located in NC. They are a forgotten group and get no State or Federal financial support,” says Hummel.
A retired Lt. Colonel (with Bronze & Silver Star Awards), Bartholomew is in charge of all pre-ceremony activities and all military involvement. He states his inspiration, and that of the group, came from a brave and selfless young Army 1st Lieutenant. “The simple truth is, if it were not for this gentleman the “WE CARE” programs would not exist,” states Bartholomew. This heroic serviceman (who requested to remain anonymous) was contacted about being the recipient of some packages and thoughtfully asked about the support of his platoon as well. He coordinated the logistics, set up a video conference and provided names and personal package requests for the men in his platoon to make every package mean something even greater to the men and women receiving them.
With the announcement of Footprints on the Green, this group has now further expanded its charitable efforts to volunteering with McConnell Golf ’s scheduled opportunities, such as Special Olympics, Soles 4 Souls, and Project Linus, to date.
What pleases the group’s founders the most is watching how group members rise up to help within their network. Many of the families have been successful in their personal lives and now they wish to give thanks and give back to others. “It is moving to see,” says Lauren Barry, Director of Marketing at McConnell Golf. “We are well aware of the challenges our society and environment face daily and we are so proud to have a group come together in this way: supporting one another, supporting their club and, in turn, the community in which they live.”
Through charity and camaraderie, the WSMGA and McConnell Golf are building lifelong friends and experiences not available anywhere else.