Mays Landing Country Club owns a comfortable niche.
It was born with pedigree via design by the late Leo Fraser, past president of the PGA tour, and was baptized by golf legends Sam Snead and Tony Lema, who opened the club in 1962 with an exhibition match.
The history, coupled with modern innovations like midweek leagues and banquet facilities, puts this facility in a good spot. Mays Landing was the king of area public courses before the era of high-end, daily-fee establishments flooded the marketplace in the 1990’s. The club could have been swarmed under or prospered. And it prospered, by identifying and embracing its market position.
“You have to pay a lot of money to build new courses and as a result, you have to charge more,” says Bill Papa, the pro at Mays Landing and a 50-year veteran of area golf establishments. “I think we are in a perfect spot. We are not real cheap and not real expensive (generally $30-65), we have the right price to play golf. Everybody can afford it. As you look at the future, and as people get older, they are worried about money, so affordable golf is very important.”
Papa emphasizes the club’s central location and accessibility from Hammonton, Atlantic City and points North and South.
“We are in the middle of everything, not at the edge,” he says. “That’s a major advantage for us. We’re close to everything, including many places for senior citizens. We are easy to get to and you will be treated right.”
Mays Landing features a men’s league on Tuesday nights, women’s on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and a Friday scramble. The golf often includes dining afterwards.
“A number of players like the food even more than the playing,” he laughs. “It’s a great deal when you combine the buffets, etc. into the golf experience.”
The course has always more than held its own. It features good challenges and has tee boxes stretching from 6,395 yards down to 5,083 yards. It offers a mixture of wide and narrow fairways, doglegs, water and sand traps that guard the greens but don’t impact the landing areas off the tee.
The sixth can be turned into a monstrous challenge if one wants to play the back tees of this par 3 at more than 200 yards, but Papa advises the 172-yard distance for most players. It is an excellent hole, with a couple of creeks running across the fairway, a left-side trap and large body of water on the right.
The green is small and runs uphill. It takes a precision shot to reach. Some players will opt to hit the tee shot short of the putting surface and hope it runs onto the green. Or, if the pin is in the front, they can deliberately play short and be putting uphill from just in front of the green. Given the woods behind this hole, being long of the green is disaster too.
The eighth is a long par-5, with a fairway that slants sharply from right to left. This means flirting with the right-side trees to allow enough room for the shot to bound back into the fairway. The terrain dips and then rises before the green, making shot placement important.