Saturday, July 16, 2011
Mays Landing Golf & CC Celebrates 50th Anniversary
Tony Lima - Opened Mays Landing in match against Sam Snead. 1962.
Mays Landing Country Club Celebrates 50 Years of Golf
Golf saw a surge in popularity when Eisenhower was president and Arnold Palmer came along, but by the early 1960s, the best Jersey Shore golf courses – Atlantic City, Linwood and Wildwood were private clubs, so Leo Fraser sought to rectify that situation by building a first class public golf course in Mays Landing.
Leo was the son of James “Jolly” Jim Fraser, the Scottish born golf professional at Seaview, and Leo himself became an assistant pro at the age of 16 before joining the Army during World War II. As part of an outfit that saw a lot of combat, Leo rose through the ranks on battlefield promotions and left the service as a Major, which would become his nickname.
After purchasing the Atlantic City Country Club in 1945 from his brother Sonny Fraser, who went on to build the Atlantic City Race Track, Leo introduced championship golf to the Jersey Shore by brining in the US Women’s Open Championship (1948, 1965, 1975) and helped start the PGS Senior’s tour (1980).
As a PGA administrator, Leo recognized the need to expand the game of golf beyond the private country clubs and allow young people, women and the working class to play the game. To that end Leo and a small group of friends decided to open a public golf club. Leo himself laid out the course in Mays Landing, and convinced two popular touring professionals – Sam Snead and Tony Lema to play the first round of golf there when the course opened in 1962.
The match pitted the upcoming young pro with the aging veteran who won his first PGA Championship at Seaview in 1942, and with his down home folksy style became one of the most popular players on the tour. Lema would later die tragically in a plane crash on the way to a tournament.
They played even until they got to the 18th hole when Snead hit onto the middle of the green while Lima hit his ball 30 yards beyond. Although he chipped back to the green, Snead two-putted while Lima missed an attempt to tie.
As the story goes, when Leo’s son Doug Fraser was driving Lima to the airport and asked him what happened on the 18th, Lima hesitated for awhile before replying, “If Tony Lema beats Sam Snead nobody cares. But if Sam Snead beats Tony Lema, everybody wins, and it’s good for golf.”
And that was Leo Fraser’s idea behind Mays Landing, a good place for golf where anyone could play, a first class course that a blue collar worker could afford. Known as the "Best Birdie for the Buck," Mays Landing was operated for many years by the late Stan Dudas, who accompanied Leo Fraser and Arnold Palmer to the centennial British Open in 1960.
After the Fraser family bought out the interests of the other partners, they upgraded the course and built the Fraser Room for banquets and weddings.
While Doug Fraser handled the Food & Beverage Dept., Jim Fraser handled the course and his sister Bonnie’s husband Don Siok became Director of Golf.
Because their grandfather was one of the first golf professionals at Seaview, and their father owned the Atlantic City Country Club for nearly a half-century, the Frasers are known as “the first family of golf,” and they continue to run the Mays Landing Golf and Country Club as a first-class resort that’s open to the public.
"We're going to be celebrating later this summer with food and drinks, music and fireworks," says Jim Fraser. "We're inviting everyone, members, past members, officials and our many golfers. We also will have lots of fun things for the kids," the next generation of golfers.
In a invitation to club members and their friends, the Fraser and Siok families wrote:
Dear Members & Friends of the MLG&CC:
On Friday, July 29th 2011, the Mays Landing Golf & Country Club marks its 50th year in business. This would not have been possible without your continued patronage and support.
We are approaching our members and regular customers first before opening this event to the public, as we anticipate a large turnout. To say ‘Thank You’ for our success, the Mays Landing Golf & Country Club will be hosting our 50th Anniversary Celebration on Friday, July 29th 2011. The festivities begin at 6:00pm. Bring your family and friends out to enjoy the nights activities, including complimentary amusements such as bounce rides, barnyard pets, pony rides and magic shows followed by a spectacular firework show!
We are offering FREE admission to this event. A variety of food and drinks, including our Famous Fraser Crab Cakes, will be available for purchase. This special event will be dedicated to Executive Chef Rick Lafferty, who passed away suddenly on May 28th 2011. A culinary scholarship will be established in his name at the Atlantic Cape Community College Culinary School.
Again, we thank you for your continued business. Please feel free to bring the whole family, your friends and your lawn chairs and celebrate 50 successful years of business. We could not have done it without you.
Call the Pro Shop at (609) 641-4411 ex 10 to R.S.V.P. Hope to see you there!
The Fraser & Siok Family
NOTE: There are sponsorships available for those interested in participating.
For details call our Pro Shop at (609) 641-4411 ex 10.
MAYS LANDING GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB CELEBRATES 50TH ANNIVERSARY WITH FAMILY FUN AND FIREWORKS
ON FRIDAY, JULY 29TH
MAYS LANDING, NEW JERSEY (July 12, 2011) – For over half a century, the Fraser family has enjoyed the distinction as the first family of golf in South Jersey, offering first-class golf experiences, delicious cuisine and memorable special events – all at affordable prices. On Friday, July 29, 2011, the Mays Landing Golf & Country Club honors that legacy with a 50th Anniversary Celebration, complete with fun and festivities for the entire family, plus a fireworks spectacular.
Festivities begin at 6:00 p.m., including complimentary amusements, such as bounce rides, barnyard pets, pony rides and magic shows, followed by a brilliant fireworks display at 9:00 p.m. by Pyrotechnics. All family activities are free and open to the public. There will be food and drinks for purchase, including Doris Fraser’s Famous Crab Cakes.
“The 50th Anniversary Celebration is our way of thanking our loyal members and the community for their support over the years,” says Jim Fraser, President, Mays Landing Golf & Country Club; and Founder/1st President, Greater Atlantic City Golf Association. “Our family remains committed to providing an outstanding golf experience at an exceptional value. We are still the ‘Best Birdie for the Buck’ in South Jersey.”
Sponsorships are available for the Anniversary Celebration, which is dedicated to the late Rick Lafferty, who served as executive chef at the Mays Landing Golf & Country Club for 15 years, before passing away suddenly on May 28, 2011. In tribute to his memory, a scholarship will be established in his name at the Atlantic Cape Community College Academy of Culinary Arts.
A Little History
The 18-hole Mays Landing Golf & Country Club was established in 1961 by golf pioneer and past PGA president, Leo Fraser, along with partners Jack Nugent, Bill Christiansen, Bill Rafferty and Bruce Coltart. Their vision to create a course that would be accessible and affordable to all golfers was realized and the 175-acre Club opened to the public with greens fees as low as $12, following an exhibition match between two of the nation’s top competitors – “Champagne” Tony Lema and Sam Snead.
By 1992, all of the original partners had passed away. The Mays Landing Golf & Country Club is now owned by Fraser’s children – Jim, Doug and Bonnie – who have continued the tradition set forth by the founding partners. Over the years, the new regime upgraded the facilities to include a banquet hall for weddings, as well as the Grille Room restaurant.
About Mays Landing Golf & Country Club
Known as the "Best Birdie for the Buck," Mays Landing Golf & Country Club provides first-class golf and events at affordable prices. It is owned and managed by the Fraser family, the first family of golf in Atlantic County and former owners of Atlantic City Country Club. Beyond the scenic fairways and greens, the Mays Landing Clubhouse is home to a variety of celebrations, banquets and outing events. The Grille Room is perfectly suited for post-round relaxation and casual gatherings, while many memorable wedding receptions and other formal events take place in the Fraser Room. Adjacent to both venues are Patios for outdoor gatherings overlooking the greens.
Mays Landing Golf & Country Club is located at 1855 Cates Road in Mays Landing, New Jersey. For information, call 609-641-4411, visit www.mayslandinggolf.com or follow via Facebook.
Lisa Johnson Communications