Mays Landing Golf & Country Club aggressively marked its 50th birthday in January. First, it grabbed the recession by the throat and offered players two years of weekday greens fees for $149.
Second, it reseeded the course greens.
Both programs succeeded. Many area golfers seized the weekday special, which ended in April, and the rejuvenated greens are a critical component of keeping their business.
"What happened last summer was unheard of, given the more than 50 days of 90-degree weather, so reseeding the greens made sense" says club general manager Bob Herman, addressing the burnout problem that plagued every course in this region last year. "But now the course has made a great comeback. The greens are in the best condition in many years."
Mays Landing appeals to players on many levels. Advanced golfers find sufficient challenges from the back tees, measuring 6,633 yards. Skilled players also appreciate the shot-making possibilities allowed from the clean woods area. It's not impossible to punch a low iron out of the woods, achieving enough yardage to avoid wasting a stroke from that troubled area.
Medium-level players benefit from the absence of fairway traps in the landing area and greens open in the front. Course layout accommodates pitch-and-run shots, a relief for those who hate to loft shots over traps and onto the green.
Mays Landing fashions four strong finishing holes, starting with a tantalizing par 3. The 15th hole plays 172 yards from the middle and 220 from the back. Tee shots must clear water running across the fairway, traps and trees on the left and a body of water on the right. The small green holds shots well, but the woods, tall grass and slope behind it will pile strokes upon any shot hit too far.
Feel adventurous? Try this one from the back tees. It's a wood or a low-iron shot demanding pinpoint accuracy. Hitting the green from this tee area may be the most gratifying accomplishment on the course.
The par-4 16th requires a tee-shot decision. Play safe, landing a drive between two creeks running across the fairway and leave a long shot to the green. Or, gamble on clearing the second creek with a drive that must carry 240 yards. The reward? A wedge to the green. The risk? A penalty stroke for being wet.
Seventeen is a monster, 541 yards with a sharp dogleg right. Flirt with the trees and cut substantial yardage off the hole, but don't miss it right. A tee shot into these deep woods could produce an awful score. The green rises out of a valley, and is large and well-guarded.
The 18th features a tough dogleg left. A fairly tight landing area forces many drives into the woods. But players avoiding that find a downhill slope toward a friendly green.
The course was build by the late Leo Fraser, a past PGA tour president. The best deal is $25 after 5 p.m., cart included.
A ladies clinic runs 5:30 p.m. Thursdays, which includes instruction from Herman, golf and food for $34. A beginners/intermediate package, for anyone, runs 6 p.m. Tuesdays, also $34.
Mays Landing Golf & Country Club
Where: 1855 Cates Road, McKee City
Greens Fees: Weekdays, $58 before 1 p.m., $45 after 1 p.m.; weekends, $74 before 1 p.m., $45 after 1 p.m.
Twilight: $25 after 5p.m.
Tee Times: Usually up to 7 days in advance
Amenities: Clubhouse, large practice putting green.
Contact: 609-641-4411; www.mayslandinggolf.com