After changing owners a number of times, including separate stints in the hands of a Confederate Civil War general and a retired sea captain, the 152-acre plot of Mayfair Country Club was bought by the city of Sanford in 1922. The city quickly built four holes around the beautiful citrus trees and double row of oak trees, opening for business that same year under the title Sanford Country Club. By 1924, an 18-hole course opened and began to attract big-name golfers, including Gene Sarazen and Walter Hagen.
Unfortunately, the course’s upkeep was neglected during the nation's Great Golf-Ball Shortage. After the Depression passed, a small group of investors renovated the course and reopened it in 1945 under the name Seminole Country Club. The course wouldn’t be called the Mayfair Country Club until the late 1940s, when it was acquired by the NFL's New York Giants, a development that led to the course's hosting of PGA tour events from 1955 to 1957 and regular visits from legends such as Sam Snead and Arnold Palmer.
Today, players can walk the same fairways as the game's greats while grappling with the course’s difficult layout, named a Best Course to Play by Golf Digest. Opportunities for high-risk, high-reward shots abound, as two of the four par 5s measure less than 450 yards and the fairways remain as wide and inviting as they were in 1922, having managed to avoid growing thin and feeble with old age.
Course at a Glance:
Youth explore the treetops and lush foliage on a two-part kids' aerial adventure course at Zoom Air, soaking in a bird's-eye view of the Central Florida Zoo's forest region seated in the blackwater-river floodplain swamp. Parents must accompany their offspring, shedding tears of pride as they watch them embark on the course, which is designed for kids at least 4 years old and interwoven among the Central Florida Zoo's natural landscape, giving kids an aerial view of the area's natural exotic inhabitants. In the first section of the course, saplings learn to navigate the skies, donning a secure harness before they are elevated 4 feet from the ground, where they test their agility and bladder control.
Northside Sportsplex presents exercisers with numerous avenues to get fit and stay fit. On its soccer field, the facility hosts tournaments, leagues, and pickup games throughout the week. Competitive juices keep flowing during boot-camp classes, where groups of exercisers power through high-energy workouts under the direction of nationally certified trainers. For a more individualized routine, Northside Sportsplex also offers personal and sport-specific training programs and clinics.
Since July of 2008, the Little Linksters Golf program has brought the game of golf to a typically non-tradional sect of the golfing population; the "Pee-Wee" Golfer (Ages 3-8). The Little Linksters Golf Program is a great introduction to the game of golf for for all children in this age group.
Led by United States Coast Guard–licensed Captain Joshua Mattson, Airboat and Gator Charters' 90-minute tours glide smoothly through warm marshes and lakes in search of photogenic alligators and other Florida wildlife. Custom tours refuse to follow a set route, instead adhering to the travel wishes of each small sightseeing group and the traffic regulations spelled out by reeds. Expeditions pause for photo ops with fauna such as alligators, bald eagles, and manatees, and Captain Mattson adds narration to stunning vistas through Piratecom headsets. Spring, summer, and fall tours launch east of Sanford and flow through the tributaries and swamps of the Middle St. Johns River, and winter outings cruise leisurely from Spring Garden Lake across the DeLeon Spring Run and into Lakes Dexter and Woodruff. Tour takers seeking rare snapshots of manatees brushing their teeth may schedule a sunrise or sunset start.
Each day, golf carts trundle over wooden bridges, their wheels thwacking against each plank as they cross the myriad waterways that dot Alaqua Country Club's 18-hole layout. Designed by golf legend Gary Player, the 6,662-yard course is sculpted through tunnels of 55-foot trees and incorporates water hazards that come into play on 16 holes. One shining example is the par 3 hole 13 with an island green that tests golfers' iron play and ability to use those same clubs to fight off feral caddies that use flagsticks as swords. Surrounded by the Lower Wekiva Preserve State Park, the course enchants golfers with palms draped in billowing spanish moss and occasional sightings of deer and wild turkeys.
Alaqua Country Club's new, adobe-accented clubhouse offers weekly dining specials served to tables draped in white linens, where guests can unwind after rounds or fold burgundy napkins into festive new club head covers.