Thursday, April 24, 2014
Golf is back.
Mainers started to tee it up last week, which was earlier than expected considering snow was still plentiful a couple of weeks ago. A few sunny, windy days did the trick. Some courses still have remnants of snow along perimeters and in the woods, but it's quickly disappearing.
"Anytime you can open around the first of April, you're ahead of the game," said A.J. Kavanaugh, the director of golf at Brunswick Golf Club. "We'll take it. Last year was an anomaly. We were open on St. Patrick's Day."
Brunswick opened the back nine Thursday. The front nine could follow next weekend.
The course had more than 100 golfers Saturday.
Like Brunswick, several courses took advantage of their drier side and opened nine holes. Biddeford-Saco Country Club, Bath Country Club and Willowdale Golf Course in Scarborough were among them. The Purpoodock Club in Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth Country Club also opened nine holes.
The Links at Outlook in South Berwick and Penobscot Valley in Orono opened 18 holes Friday. Riverside in Portland opened 18 holes Saturday.
"Everyone is itching to play," said Jeff Maldonis, course manager at the Outlook. "It's after the golf shows. April 1 is always our goal but in Maine you never know. We would have been open two weeks ago if we hadn't received the snowstorm. We got hit pretty good in York County. It's great to see the members again."
The Links at Outlook had a busy Saturday with more than 100 players.
"The course is drier than we thought it would be," said Maldonis.
Nonesuch River Golf Course in Scarborough, Highland Green in Topsham and Natanis in Vassalboro have been open for more than a week. Mere Creek in Brunswick is also open.
Other courses in Maine are open or set to open. The best way to find out is to call the course or check its website.
WITH THE Masters in Augusta, Ga., next weekend, the spotlight is on golf, now even more so with Tiger Woods' resurgence.
Can Woods win his first major since the 2008 U.S. Open and renew his chase of Jack Nicklaus' record 18 majors? Woods has 14 majors and with three wins already this season, he'll be favored next weekend.
Instead of wishing about playing, Mainers now can play 18 next Saturday, then hit the easy chair to watch the Masters, a nice combination.
Another sign that Maine golfers are excited to get started is the Maine State Golf Association is taking tee times for its early tournaments and the sheets are filling up fast. The first MSGA weekly amateur tournament is April 19-20 at Dunegrass in Old Orchard Beach. As of Friday, the first available tee time for both days is 12:50. The first MSGA championship event is the Club Team Championship on May 19 at Belgrade Lakes.
TEE TO GREEN: There are some familiar faces in new positions at the MSGA. Mike Doran takes over as director of tournament administration and player development. He replaces Sam Marzenell, who held the job last year. Marzenell, a golf pro, decided to return to the club pro business. He's working in Arizona.
Besides working for the MSGA, Doran is one of the top amateurs in the state.
Emily Bouchard takes Doran's place as the director of junior and senior tournament golf. Bouchard has worked summers for the MSGA while attending college. She is the state women's amateur champion.
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: