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New Course Brings Big Names and Golf to Sanford

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SANFORD — In Sanford, a name made famous by football could soon become familiar to golfers. Joe Gay, son of hall of fame football coach Paul Gay, has been named Director of Golf at a unique new course, the Tobacco Road Golf Club.

High School coaching legend Paul Gay plays a lot of golf in retirement. He will soon begin to take his swings at a new course run by his son Joe.

"I think he's sneaking out here at night, and I just don't know about it," Joe said. "I'm originally from Sanford and to think a golf course would be located in Sanford of this magnitude is exciting."

The Tobacco Road Golf Club has been fashioned from an unusual track of sandhills acreage next to an asphalt plant. Architect Mike Strantz, who was voted the top golf course designer in America last year, personally oversaw the shaping of each hole.

"We talk a lot about the sphere of the golf, and how it is more than the score that you put on the card," Strantz said. "I think at this golf course each hole sets itself up to touch that spirit."

This course is also open to the public. Strantz focused most of his award winning designs on courses anyone can play.

"The public deserves a neat place and different and outstanding places to play just like the private club members do," he said.

When golfers get to enjoy the spirit of the contours, they can thank owners Mark Stewart and Tony Woodell.

"They had been going to Myrtle Beach golf trips for the past three or four years," Joe said. "They just came up with the idea jokingly to build a golf course out here in their back yard."

The dream is now a multi-million dollar layout that just needs time for the grass to mature. Paul and Joe Gay are counting the days. They hope to open the course later this Fall.

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Bob Holliday, Reporter
Bob Holliday, Photographer
Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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