Several Maine golf courses opened this month in their earliest starts ever, and while golfers who took advantage of near 70-degree temperatures last Saturday, fickle spring weather can put a halt to golf as quickly as it starts.

While courses stayed open this week, the weather was not conducive for playing, even though some diehards braved the conditions.

Nonesuch River Golf Course in Scarborough was the first in Maine to open, on March 5. Toddy Brook in North Yarmouth followed the next day, and more courses opened over the past three weeks.

The weather, though, is always a mixed bag this time of year.

“We didn’t think this was the end of (winter),” said Dan Hourihan, Nonesuch River’s owner.

Nonesuch prides itself on being the last course to close in the fall and the first to open in the spring.

“We get excited about opening,” said Hourihan. “It signals the start of spring.

“After a long winter, people are anxious to start playing again. Even when it’s chilly, people want to get out and swing the club.”

Rockland Golf Club opened last Friday. In 12 years as head pro at Rockland, Keenan Flanagan said it’s the earliest opening.

“We had a good opening weekend, with a lot of players last Saturday,” he said.

Even during rainstorms Monday and Tuesday, two people played both days, said Flanagan.

“Once we open, we stay open,” he said. “The only way we would close would be if we had four inches of snow. It’s all weather dependent, but we have a hardy group of golfers. Our members are very active at the club and state levels.”

Flanagan speaks for all club pros and course owners when he mentions the importance of having a long, busy golf season. Maine golf could use a good year after last year’s rainy June and July.

“The weather didn’t get nice until August. Last week’s weather was amazing. We just hope we get more of it,” said Flanagan.

Toddy Brook had 190 golfers last Saturday, said A.J. Kava- naugh, the new head pro/general manger. He hopes to play Sunday on his birthday, but with the weather expected to be cold he wasn’t sure.

“I had a guy call for a 7:30 a.m. tee time today,” said Kavanaugh. “I told him he would probably have to wait a while before he tees off. It won’t be a frost delay. It will be a frozen delay.”

Like other courses, Toddy Brook is open for the season.

“The only reason we wouldn’t stay open was if we had so much snow that you couldn’t see your golf ball. This course has good drainage,” said Kavanaugh.

 

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

[email protected]