In 1954 Dr Phillips sold his holdings to Granada Groves, a subsidiary of the Minute Maid Corporation, and retained only the raw land. Tom Barnes, a native of Minnesota, who had always wanted to build a championship golf course, took an option out on the land with his partner, Tom Dore, a Michigan businessman who surveyed the land and saw an immediate vision of what this land could become.
They broke ground on the golf course in 1960 and christened the area “Bay Hill” The original golf course architect was Dick Wilson, Bay Hill was the first golf course planted with Tifway (Tifton 419) Bermuda grass. Wildlife still inhabited the land including a family of bobcats that resided around the 17th green. In 1965, Walt Disney announced the purchase of over 27,000 acres of land nearby, where the Walt Disney World Resort would soon emerge.