Country club looks to expand

By Kenneth Detwyler Jr.
Posted 11/14/18

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The term “country club” can bring up a lot of mixed responses from people, especially depending on which side of the gates that get frequented.

For some Clay County …

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Country club looks to expand

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The term “country club” can bring up a lot of mixed responses from people, especially depending on which side of the gates that get frequented.

For some Clay County residents, the chance to enter the gates of Magnolia Point Golf and Country Club, would be likened to getting a behind the scenes pass. For residents of Magnolia Point, it’s simply “home.” Currently, the club management is actively looking for a way to meet in the middle.

“Not only [is it] a country club for the neighborhood of about 1,000 homes, but for the community,” Deneen Rothfels, Club co-owner. “This is not a private club, anybody can actually join, eat here, or pay for golf.”

The Rothfels purchased the club in 2012. Under their ownership, facilities have been renovated and the club has begun to move in a different, more public direction. The club houses, golf courses and pool are now accessible to anyone.

Magnolia Point’s location doesn’t lend itself to heavy traffic as only its sign is visible from U.S. Highway 17. However, this hasn’t stopped the staff from trying to increase its visibility outside their gates. That visibility is usually in the form of community service.

“We’re very blessed, I think this community is very blessed, in showing our gratitude, I think it’s important that we look out beyond our gates and see what’s out there” said Rothfels. “How can we help people that aren’t as fortunate, it’s circumstances and things that are out of their control.

Despite the well-intended service, Rothfels acknowledged that Magnolia Point’s new policies have required an adjustment for some residents.

“This has been their private playground, so change is always hard for people who’ve experienced one way for so many years,” said Rothfels. “On a whole, all of our residents are very giving and they’re really great people.”

In addition to charitable causes, Magnolia Point hosts local youth sports and offers its facilities to Clay High School’s golf and tennis teams.

However, recreation isn’t the only draw for the public. The dining and bar options at the Club have attracted not only hungry guests, but a talented chef.

“To me, it’s all about making people happy,” said Michael “Chef Mike” Meeks, executive chef. “The moment I decided to become a chef, was when I really enjoyed people enjoying my food.”

Meeks, who has over 20 years of experience, serves up more than conventional meals in the Club kitchen. His experience and his attitude about the profession, make him a big catch for the country club.

“You’re only as good as the last meal you made,” said Meeks.

Chef Mike learned to cook from his mother. In his youth, he discovered a passion for the culinary arts and began to pursue small kitchen jobs until he worked his way into the chef’s hat. He recently worked at the Omni Hotel in Jacksonville.

“In the hotel business, you have to become a journeyman of everything – I did baking, I’ve done Asian, I’ve done Italian,” said Meeks. “Old southern ladies worked at the Omni for 5-10-15 years, they taught me things.”

As Magnolia Point continues to grow, so does its standing as a Clay County destination. Future plans call for the expansion of their existing areas, a move that will help them accommodate more guests from inside and outside the gates.

“As our Club is supported, no matter where it’s supported, it gets better and better and better,” said Rothfels.

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