The new year has brought some challenges with continuing of COVID and its related problems of health, safety and availability of staff. But also positive news of membership being up and experiencing increased activity at the club in all of our social and recreational activities. The increased activity is not only due to the COVID vaccine, but to the dedication of the staff in all the key result areas. David our Executive Chef, MaryAnne in Food and Beverage Service, Teresa in Events, Kevin in Racquet Sports, Aaron in Golf, Dave in Grounds and Natallia in Administration have all led teams (although small at this time) with care, consideration and creativity to manage their operations successfully. We recently (Mr. and Mrs. Horn) and in the past have had thoughtful members mention and have had staff barbeques, with staff and members playing golf and racquet sports with end of day barbeque. Please let me know if would be inter- ested in volunteering some time and expertise (grill master out there?) in October to participate in the family event.

Happy Spring

Patrick O’Keefe

Spring has sprung and with it the great weather for social gatherings and recreational opportunities. Also, Executive Chef David has developed new menus debuting May 1st focused on quality, sustainable food offerings that bring fresh sea and farm products to the table. Homemade offerings that will be sure to please, as well as small plate dinner options that will leave room for some homemade desserts. Chef David enjoys special requests, so please feel free to contact him at
Our annual Membership Open House will be on May 29th and the 30th to provide an opportunity for your family and friends to enjoy our club amenities and offerings for consideration of membership. Please do not hesitate to contact me at to register them for a great weekend of activities as our guest.
I would like to thank Curt Baskette, our Golf Committee Chair for assisting and Cherrie Wheeler of the LGA and Ed Kitchen of the MGA for organizing their member volunteers to help with the clubhouse beautification project this Spring. A lot of hard work was done by the members in plantings and mulching of the clubhouse grounds, it looks great! Again, it reminds me of the Duck Woods Country Club community of caring members support, before and all throughout the pandemic and as we emerge out of COVID – 19 stronger and more committed than ever to enhance the lives of our members, guests and staff.

Patrick O’Keefe

The nice spring weather has become more conducive to additional outdoor activities and with that we have developed some outdoor activities for you, your family and guests to enjoy. Such as our weekly cookout at the new outdoor dining area next to the bocce ball court. We have bocce ball and croquet set up every Sunday afternoon starting at 3:00 pm for all to play and you can also partake in half price appetizers and drink specials. Of course there is great golf, tennis, pickleball and outdoor dining for your enjoyment. Executive Chef David is finalizing his new menus to debut in early April and he is bringing back small plate dinner options as well as some traditional favorites and some new trendy food options to please the plate. The Social Committee is working on developing a new wine menu, so if you have any ideas please let me know and I will pass them along. There are so many recreational and soon to be social opportunities for you to partake in at the club. If you have any ideas for events or activities please let me know.

Happy Spring!

COVID Management Perspective

Members have mentioned how pleased they have been with club operations during the pandemic. Also, concerning my perspective on club operations, in which I touch on below.

My managerial philosophy has evolved with the challenges that we have faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to be a more effective leader during this unfortunate situation, I have made adjustments in four key areas:

Club Facilities: Our goal was to provide an oasis of enhanced safety, where members, guests and staff could participate in a way that was both fun and healthy. We installed sanitization stations throughout the property, and in our golf and pull carts. Our outdoor dining areas were expanded, adding heat towers. A hospital grade sterilization fogger was used daily in our clubhouse. These are just a few examples of the new initiatives we implemented in order to limit the spread of the virus.

Staff: We have to care about the whole person, including their emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Being empathic allows your team to be vulnerable, so that you can truly understand what they need to be safe and successful. That could be a sympathetic ear, words of encouragement, time-off or food and supplies for them and their family. Interest free loans were offered, and a psychologist was available for staff to speak with if needed. Providing avenues for open expression has allowed us to rise above any divisions and thrive as individuals and as a company.

Finances: Zero-based budgeting has always been at the core of my approach to financial management, and this discipline has led to successful financial plans over the past 15 years. We have consolidated certain positions and cross-trained our team to be able to work across departments. For example, administrative staff has assisted the food and beverage service department and I have worked in facility maintenance.

Programs: Beyond our amenities, we didn’t want to ignore our club social offerings. How can we continue to provide a top quality, personalized member and guest experience, while ensuring that safety remains the priority? The answer came in the form of smaller, distanced, outdoor group events, online instructional videos from our golf, racquet sports, and culinary staff, and safe, themed experiences like drive-in movie nights. We also created a member pantry where we delivered essential items to members who were more at risk for COVID-19.

Thanks to our pristine facilities, recreational amenities, engaging programs and safe interactions, our club has truly become a home away from home, at a time when it is needed most. I have consulted with many clubs during this challenging time and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to help other facilities appropriately respond to this crisis.

Duck Woods Country Club news

It has been a challenging nine months in club operations and a very sad and unsettling time in the country with COVID–19. After thirty-six years of management in the hospitality industry from small market clubs to billion dollar resorts, COVID–19 has redefined my management methodology in four specific areas.

Club: Providing an oasis of enhanced safety, a healthy and fun environment.
Staff: Value staff more as a whole person of their emotional, mental, physical and spiritual well-being.
Offerings: Enhanced personalization of the member and guest experience in every key result area.
Finances: Enhanced disciplined approach to the zero based budget process. Focus on every interaction, every occurrence with every member to be as accommodating and efficient as possible and still provide the outstanding product and or service.

As a result, the club finished financially in good order with the second best bottom line year in over 20 years, despite a 56.5% decrease in food and beverage revenue and a 26 member decrease from the beginning of the year. This is a direct result of dedicated work by the staff to keep the club as relevant as possible and manage costs, member leaders that encourage participation like the Newbie, Bunker Bee, WADWCC and the Other Guys golf and social groups, the standing committees and board of directors for their input and support of operations and last but not least, the federal government for an IRS tax credit.

Our 2021 business plan is built on growth with programs and offerings to enhance the lives of our members, guests and staff. Along with the valuable lessons learned and enhanced management to become more relevant, efficient and productive in operations this year. As we manage through this year, please feel free to contact me with any thoughts or ideas to improve club operations.

Please stay healthy and safe.

Duck Woods Country Club news

As we emerge from a difficult year into a year with hope of the possibilities for a return to “normal” activities, we do so in a sound financial position. With that in mind, we have been working and redefining our five-year capital plan to maintain and enhance our property for increased member engagement and to attract new members. The plan has a mixture of behind the scenes capital, such as HVAC units that are in their 16th year of service, ovens entering their 20th year of service, as well as infrastructure, such as cart paths and bridges on the golf course. With prudent use of our 2020 capital improvement dollars, we negotiated and purchased two new fairway mowers and a tee and greens mower for $176,919.98. With the golf course on plan to maintain and upgrade course conditions, we are also planning on items for all the key result areas, such as fitness and pool equipment and supplies, as well as the possibility of dedicated pickleball courts.

This plan is a well thought out and an all-encompassing club plan that will maintain and keep our club relevant for generations of members now and in the future. Please stay healthy and safe.

Thank You.

The holidays are here and more than ever with all the problems in the world, it is a time to reflect and put into perspective the blessings in life. I have always been told that “good health” is one of the main elements to a successful life, and now I know how important that phrase is after seeing the implications of COVID-19.

As the year ends, it has been a challenging year with COVID-19 and its complications. Throughout the pandemic, the club has stayed open to provide an oasis for individuals from the day to day trials and tribulations of the pandemic. The board, committees and staff have stayed vigilant in their commitment to a safe and secure environment for socialization and recreation. Not all decisions have been popular, but have been made in accordance with the foremost authorities, such as the Governor’s Office and The Dare County Health Department.

With a few more months before the COVID-19 vaccines are prevalent, we have been developing offerings for safe inter- actions, such as Parka Nights at the club on December 12th, 19th and 26th. Put on a coat and get next to the heat towers and fire pit to enjoy delicious small plate options and winter specialty drinks, such as MaryAnne’s flaming martini. So please look for specialized events throughout the winter and come out and enjoy golf, tennis, pickleball, fitness and dining in, out or take-out food and beverages.

Happy Holidays.