It’s that time of the year when ballots are sent out by the Maine Golf Hall of Fame to selected individuals around the state to vote on those nominees for this year’s induction. To get on the ballot, one naturally has to get nominated, but not everyone nominated gets on the ballot. The nominees’ credentials are judged by the Maine Golf Hall of Fame board of directors and a selection committee.

“We try to get five or six of the best candidates on the ballot,” said Gary Rees, executive director of the hall. “Once a candidate gets on the ballot, if they don’t get elected, they stay on the ballot for five years. If they’re not elected in that time period, they have to be renominated.”

Each year, the Hall looks to nominate a player in the veteran’s category.

“We have a lot of people in the veteran’s category that we’ve missed over the years. It’s tougher to find out about them,” said Rees.

For various reasons, these deserving players slip through the cracks. Larry Rowe is one of them.

Rowe won the Maine Open in 1937, when he was the pro at the Purpoodock Club in Cape Elizabeth. Ernest Newnham, the legendary pro at Portland Country Club, won the Maine Open the year before Rowe, and Jim Browning, one of the most well-known club pros in New England history, won it the year after when he was the pro at Lucerne.

Both Newnham and Browning were in the first class of Maine Golf Hall inductees in 1993.

Rowe’s heyday was in the 1930s and 1940s. He had no children and few relatives, so his advocates are few. He died in 1976.

Jim O’Connor of South Portland, a Purpoodock member and the club’s unofficial historian, took up Rowe’s cause too late to get him nominated this year but has his material ready for 2011.

Born in 1898 in South Portland, Rowe learned the game by caddying at the Portland Country Club, which was in the Thornton Heights section of South Portland in the early 1900s. Rowe served in the Army during World War I and later honed his talents as a golf pro.

In addition to his playing credentials, Rowe designed and built Larry Rowe’s Golf Course in South Portland, which opened in 1931. Since 1974, Rowe’s course has been known as the South Portland Municipal Golf Course. It’s a friendly nine-holer where thousands of young golfers first played before moving on to more challenging courses. It’s been a favorite course of retirees for years.

Rowe designed the front nine at Purpoodock. He was the club’s first pro and served in that capacity from 1925 to 1941.

The Maine Golf Hall of Fame’s veteran category recognizes “those who have made contributions in another era but might be forgotten.”

Rowe’s place in the hall is long overdue.

For those interested in nominating deserving individuals, forms are available online at www.mainegolfhalloffame.com or by calling Rees at 368-4907.

Besides the requisite credentials, candidates have to be at least 35 years of age, a Maine native or a longtime resident.

 

TEE TO GREEN: The Charlie’s Portland/Maine Open will be played June 29-30 at Riverside. The pro-am is June 28 and there are still openings for individuals and foursomes. For more information, e-mail [email protected] Entries are trickling in for the regular portion of the tournament. Tournament officials hope to have 160 players. This year there will be a cut to the low 50 and ties. Those within 10 shots of the lead will also make the cut. There will be cuts for amateurs and the senior division.

Entries closed last week for the 91st Maine Amateur. There were 236 entries received from those players already in the July 6-8 tournament at Kebo Valley in Bar Harbor and those who have to qualify. There were 280 entries for last year’s Maine Amateur at Martindale.

“We always have over 300 when the tournament is at the Portland Country Club,” said Nancy Storey, the executive director of the MSGA.

The MSGA’s senior tournaments (golfers 55 and over) are popular. There are 160 players in the field for Wednesday’s tournament at Dunegrass in Old Orchard Beach.

Ron Bibeau of Riverside was low pro last week with a 3-under 68 in the Maine Chapter/New England PGA pro-am tournament at the Purpoodock Club.

 

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

[email protected]