Mayfair Country Club on Path to Realizing Past Glory

Mayfair Country ClubAtrue Orlando-region classic full of heritage and history, Mayfair Country Club is redefining itself as a modern day course worthy of must-play status among a region full of courses boasting that distinction.

Equipped with a legacy that dates back to the 1920s, the Sanford-based Mayfair course is a Donald Ross creation that follows the legendary designer’s taste for traditional design, playability and straightforward challenges. A former host of the PGA Tour, the layout has welcomed many legends of the game including Ben Hogan, Sam Snead and Orlando’s own Arnold Palmer.

It’s also a legacy that for years was forgotten as the course lost its charm and character due to neglect and mistreatment. Nearly four years ago, however, Mayfair Country Club was purchased by longtime industry professional Steve Phillips, who has methodically and with great care worked to bring the facility back to its former glory. While Phillips acknowledges there is still work to be done, today Mayfair County Club holds its own with any Central Florida public course.

“You would have to have been here four years ago when we took over the course to appreciate where we are today,” said Phillips, who has worked with golf greats such as Palmer and Billy Casper. “The course was really nothing but dirt. It was terrible. We’ve worked hard to get this course back in great shape, especially for a daily fee facility.”

That hard work has clearly paid off for Phillips and his golf course. Today, Mayfair welcomes locals and visitors alike seeking a fair value, a true challenge and a comfortable environment that really is all about golf and very little else. In fact, recent efforts to provide affordable and enjoyable golf have resulted in an impressive membership drive that has introduced more than 200 or so new golfers to the club, that when coupled with the popular daily play, is making Mayfair a true success story during trying economic times.

Mayfair Country Club

The reasons for its re-birth are equal parts quality, value and challenge – something today’s economy-challenged golfer is certainly in search of. For less than $90 a year (two year commitment), members can play Mayfair for cart fee every time out and visitors to the area can access the course for reasonable rates that make it equal parts affordable and rewarding.

“The economy is such a challenge right now, and that is why we are putting our membership and daily rates where they are,” Phillips said. “Golfers need fair value and quality places to play and that is what we are offering here.”

Fair both from a value and playability standpoint, Mayfair has also emerged as a true test of golf given the original design by the legendary Ross and the new care being taken by Phillips’ team. Located a mere mile off I-4 and the 417, just east of Downtown Orlando, Mayfair provides the perfect mix of long and short par-4s, scoreable-yet-challenging par-5s and a diverse mix of par-3s that require accuracy and touch. By and large, the course’s primary defense is its collection of small yet well-guarded and quick greens that fit the true Ross style.

“These greens are just typical of what Donald Ross does,” Phillips said. “No matter how many times someone plays here, they are always challenged by the greens. The best thing is every day they just keep getting better and better.”

The same can certainly be said for the entire Mayfair course. At just over 6,400 yards, Mayfair is anything but long; that said, don’t confuse short for easy. As Ross courses tend to, the layout demands a myriad of shots off the tee and on the approach and the aforementioned greens will test the patience and touch of all level golfers.

Mayfair Country Club

Generally speaking, the course allows golfers some latitude off the tee and with greens that are open in front, a selection of approach shots for every situation. Both the fairways and greens, however, feature large bunkers left or right, so wayward doesn’t necessarily equal safe at Mayfair.

“It’s a fair golf course that is playable for all level of players,” Phillips said. “But it’s also a challenging course because it really requires that you hit every shot in the bag. That’s one of the things that has helped make us such a popular course in the area the past couple years.”

Mayfair is indeed that. Not only does the course boast a burgeoning membership base, but it plays host to a several area high school golf teams, the Seminole County State College girls golf team and is a popular location for golf outings and charity events. Likewise, the course is typically hosting events for its membership several days a week including men’s and women’s days.

“There is almost always something happening  here on a daily basis,” Phillips said. “We created a real community feel around the course.”

It’s the course and its rebirth over the past couple years, however, that truly is the calling card at Mayfair. Indeed, there is a reason the layout played host to the Tour and professional greats such as Palmer and Snead – and it doesn’t take long to figure it out.

The outward nine really gets moving with the scoreable par-5 2nd hole. Finding the fairway off the tee is critical to challenging the water- and bunker-fronted green in two, but there is plenty of room to miss right for wayward golfers. The fourth hole is among the toughest par-4s at Mayfair featuring a difficult tee shot to a winding fairway. Golfers that favor the left will have a better approach to a downhill green that isn’t visible on most approach shots and is guarded on the left by water.

The front closes with another reachable par-5 with the 516-yard 8th hole, which, like the second hole, requires an accurate tee shot to challenge the green. The tee shot features one of the few forced carries off the tee at Mayfair and also must navigate bunkers on the left that guard the beginning of a right dogleg.

In an unusual twist, the inward nine starts out with a par-3, which just happens to be the layout’s longest and most challenging. At 190 yards, the hole demands an accurate shot to one of the larger greens on the course. Miss the green on the tee shot and you will not find an easy up and down on this sloping green.

Just as the front nine is, the back is highlighted by a par-5 in the short, but challenging, 12th hole. The hole features water some 100 yards or so before the green that will make shorter players think twice about attacking on the second shot. Medium to long hitters must still negotiate a green that is fairly large, slopes signifi cantly back to front and is well-guarded by bunkers on both sides.

Mayfair certainly finishes as strong as it opens with a challenging par-3 and a pair of par-4s that are among the longest on the course. The 16th features a tee shot over water to one of the largest greens on the course that works from back to front. The 17th is a medium length par-4 featuring a right dogleg that provides the primary challenge on the hole.

The 18th is among the toughest par-4s on the course with another dogleg right off the tee and an approach shot that must work uphill to a green wellguarded by bunkers in the front.

The green moves significantly from back to front so short is much more preferable than long.

Mayfair Country ClubIn addition to member and public play, Mayfair is a popular destination for local tournaments and golf outings. Its full service restaurant, terrific customer service and fair course design combine to make for the perfect outing or event that will serve every taste. For more information on the outing or events program at Mayfair contact barb@phillipsgolfinc.com or call 321.689.7799 or listen for more information on 740 The Game on your radio.

There’s a reason for so much energy and excitement around Mayfair Country Club these days. A labor of love has restored the course to its original glory, and while there is still work to be done and improvements to be made, the old girl has come a long way in the past few years.

 

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