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.
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.
Airboat & Gator Charters’ expert swamponauts ably escort guests through the placid waters of central Florida’s most serene lakes and rivers. Customers can hop aboard a 425-horsepower Diamondback airboat for a 90-minute private tour, which offers the chance to glimpse wildlife including bald eagles, herons, red-tailed hawks, manatees, turtles, and alligators. The high-performance watercraft seats up to six and comes equipped with a USCG-licensed captain, who will harness the power of the boat’s Piratecom headsets to point out targets for your eyes, whether they're animal, plant, or the occasional plantanimal. The private tours are offered year-round and launch throughout the day, from sunrise to sunset. Choose to embark on a daytime trip, which features views of the American alligator’s daily tanning habits, or embark on the nighttime tour and hope for a rare sighting of the white-tailed deer’s annual sighting of its tail.
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.