This has been a great stretch for Maine golfers. They played through December last season for arguably the longest season ever in the state. Two and a half months later, golfers are out there again.

Summer-like temperatures last week had a slew of course openings around the state, many their earliest openings ever. This golf season has the potential to be as long as last year.

“It’s so great for the golf economy in the state,” said Nancy Storey, executive director of the Maine State Golf Association, of the early openings. “The weather was absolutely unheard of. The weather is going to get colder this week. We still might have more snow, but we won’t have any more winter.”

The early spring has allowed the MSGA to start its weekly tournaments three weeks earlier than expected. The opening tournament is scheduled for next Saturday at Old Marsh Country Club in Wells.

“We’re the only New England state golf association that’s holding a tournament at home in March,” said Storey.

Nonesuch River GC in Scarborough will host the second MSGA weekend tournament April 6-7. Dunegrass CC in Old Orchard Beach has one scheduled for April 13-14.

Then Biddeford-Saco CC, which annually hosts the season opener, follows with a tournament April 20-21. The formats for the three tournaments will be team events because golfers can’t post computer scores instate until April 15. They can post scores shot elsewhere, but not here until the middle of next month.

The tournament at Old Marsh is a team best-ball event. The entry fee of $35 will include skins and pins. For the first two tournaments, an MSGA card is $20 instead of the normal $30.

Nonesuch will be a best two-out-of-four while Dunegrass will be a variable best ball.

With Wilson Lake in Wilton opening today, all but one of the properties owned or managed by Harris Golf are open. The lone holdout is Sunday River GC in Newry, which is always the last to open.

The earliest opening for Sunday River in its young history was two years ago when it opened on April 24. There’s a good chance that date will be beaten.

Harris Golf courses and their openings: Mere Creek CC, March 12; Old Marsh CC, March 13; Penobscot Valley CC, March 14; Falmouth CC, March 16; Highland Green, March 21 and Freeport CC, March 23.

Old Marsh, Falmouth, Mere Creek and Penobscot Valley all had New Year’s Day tournaments.

Riverside GC in Portland missed its earliest opening by a day. It opened last Monday, the 19th. Two years ago the course opened on March 18. The course didn’t close last year until Dec. 30.

“We used to open the middle of April and close the middle of November,” said Ryan Scott, the course general manager. “We’re a month ahead of schedule. As long as it doesn’t affect the course, we’re trying now to stay open longer in the year.”

Scott reported a brisk business since Monday’s opening.

TEE TO GREEN: Twelve players, including LPGA Hall of Famers Nancy Lopez, Pat Bradley and Patty Sheehan, have committed to play in the Hannaford Community Challenge at the Falmouth CC from June 21-24. The tournament is one of the nine tournaments on the LPGA Legends Tour in 2012. Tickets are available at: The field will have 40 players.

Entries are being accepted for the 48th Paul Bunyan tournament on June 2-3 at Kebo Valley GC and Penobscot Valley CC. To enter go to: The field will have 300 players. As of a week ago, 100 players were entered.

Purpoodock Club in Cape Elizabeth, celebrating its 90th season, opened on March 20 for its earliest start in course history.

The MSGA office has been restructured. Sam Marzenell is the new director of player development and tournament administration. Mike Doran adds senior golf directorship to his junior golf director duties. Don Doyon is director of member services. Randy Hodsdon remains as director of rules and competition. Cody Berkowitz and Adrian Boutot are interns. Romeo Laberge has retired as tournament director. Laberge is on the MSGA’s board of directors.

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

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Twitter: TomChardPPH