A Winning Fundraiser

by Rebecca Howerton

 Jul 04, 2019 at 8:41 AM

Providence members team with club to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand

When Trina Blankenship agreed last year to organize the annual ladies tennis charity event at Providence Country Club, she didn’t know how much work it would be, but she knew which nonprofit she would choose as beneficiary – Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

Her husband, Charles, is vice president of human resources for Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, which has an ongoing partnership with the charity. When the couple attended the organization’s 2018 Lemon Ball in Philadelphia, Blankenship became aware of the full scope of its efforts to change the lives of children with cancer.

“I was blown away. Alex was a little girl who had cancer and started a lemonade stand to raise money to help other children with cancer. Her family started the foundation in her honor, and they’ve done an amazing job,” Blankenship said. “We heard from doctors who benefited from their funding for cutting-edge research, and families they helped with travel costs and medical expenses to get their child the treatment they needed. It was pretty incredible.”

Blankenship knew she would need help to make the most of the member-guest tennis event, so she called her friend Sharon Dolan to ask if she would co-chair.

"Sharon promptly told me no,” Blankenship said. “But within an hour she had read about Alex’s Lemonade Stand online and she called back and said, ‘I’ll do that.’

The pair worked diligently canvassing for sponsorships and donations for silent and live auctions. From tournament entry fees to Jell-O® shots, it all added up: In just four hours last August, 64 women played a round-robin tournament and raised over $17,000 to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

“We tried to think of ways to raise money that would go straight to the charity. Toward the end, we asked for donations and gave examples of what different amounts could do to help with childhood cancer,” Blankenship said. “When the totals came in, we were stunned.”

The event was so successful, it was recognized as the United States Tennis Association North Carolina’s 2018 Charity Tennis Event of the Year at its 2019 Awards Ceremony in Pinehurst, N.C.

“We had no idea; it was a total surprise, ”Blankenship said of the award. “It was a lot of work, but it was extremely satisfying. We’ve passed the baton; the organizers for this year’s tournament will support Make-a-Wish Foundation.

William Noblitt, director of tennis at Providence Country Club, said Blankenship and Dolan did an amazing job organizing the tournament and coordinating the efforts of members and club staff who volunteered their time.

News of the event was so inspiring that this year, sister property The Country Club of Asheville hosted a fundraiser for Alex’s Lemonade Stand June 1–2.

“As part of McConnell Golf we are always looking for ways to support different charities and give back to our community in meaningful ways,” Noblitt said.

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Serving up Success

by Meredith Donahue

 Mar 21, 2019 at 10:03 PM

William Noblitt has big plans for Providence Country Club

William Noblitt Knows Tennis. Earning All-ACC Honors during his time at N.C. State University, the record-holder is considered one of the greatest tennis players in school history. But beyond his talents as a player, he understands the needs of his members and has ambitious goals for his tennis program.

In his current role at Providence, Noblitt oversees the club’s 14 tennis courts, including 12 clay courts, and the pro shop. His largest duty however is tennis instruction, at which he indeed excels. The thrill of competition was certainly a factor in his success as a collegiate athlete and that same competitive spirit now helps him teach and inspire others.Noblitt’s favorite part of his job? Doing what he loves every day.

“I get to go to work and share my knowledge and passion for a sport that has been a part of my life since I was six years old,” he says. “I love seeing members improve and always hope to instill that same lifelong love of the sport.”

An average day for Noblitt is a full one. He spends the majority of his time on the courts. In the morning, he’s busy with private lessons, cardio tennis clinics, and ladies’ team clinics. In the afternoon, he’s working with junior players through private lessons and clinics.

Looking back on his first year at Providence, two events stand out. In 2018, the Make-A-Wish Pro-Am fundraiser and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation’s Ladies Member/Guest were held at PCC. Noblitt was fortunate to work alongside members for these events, enjoying a fun day of tennis while raising funds and awareness for important causes.

Looking ahead, Noblitt has big plans for the future of PCC’s thriving tennis program.

“My goal is to create a fun, enjoyable atmosphere where people want to come out and play, and participate in what we have going on,” he says. “The junior program in particular is something I want to build. I believe that with the facilities we have and the staff in place, we could have one of the best junior programs around.”

A vision for program enhancements, coupled with the addition of new clinic offerings, social events, and tournaments, is a recipe for the continued success and growth of the tennis program at Providence. Heading into his second year at the club, Noblitt serves up a winning program with no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

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Holding Court!

by Matt McConnell

 Mar 17, 2018 at 12:47 AM

Game, set, dinner!

Exhibition matches have long been a celebrated occasion across the tennis facilities of McConnell Golf; however starting last year, a new twist was added — members can enjoy great food, service, and entertainment right on the court.

“What can be better than dining under the stars while watching local collegiate and professional tennis players compete?” asks Kyle Thortsen, director of tennis operations. “These Dining on the Courts events are a night for the entire family to enjoy.”

In Charlotte, members said “Hola!” to a Mexican-themed menu and matches from local tennis pros.

One of the most exciting matches was the Battle of the Sexes. Former Director of Tennis Eric Winn and current Head Tennis Pro Josh Oxendine represented the men. The women’s team included former Director of Junior Tennis Ana Ruzir and camp counselor Morgan Ingram, who currently plays at UNC-Asheville. The women put up a good fight, but the men prevailed 6-3.

“My husband and I had such a great time at Dining on the Courts,” says member Claire Daniels. “The food was fabulous, and watching the pros play was absolutely a highlight. This was a new, great way to enjoy the club.”

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