The development of junior golf has always been a key part of the Maine State Golf Association’s mission.

That mission is even more critical in 2015 as the average age of golfers in MSGA-sponsored tournaments has increased, reflecting the popularity of the game with baby boomers.

The organization is ramping up its efforts to get more kids interested in golf with its first Maine Junior Golf Open House on Sunday, May 3, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the MSGA Banquet Center on Val Halla Road in Cumberland.

“We need the young generation of players to carry the torch forward,” said Mike Doran, director of tournament administration and player development for the MSGA.

The First Tee of Maine and the Maine chapter of the New England PGA have partnered with the MSGA to host the free event. The Women’s Maine State Golf Association and the Southern Maine Women’s Golf Association are helping to promote it.

“It’s a chance for kids to see what’s available in junior golf,” said Nancy Storey, the executive director of the MSGA. “It’s for all levels of juniors (ages 7 to 17). We have a few golf pros to give free lessons. There will be club fitting. We have 12 golf courses participating.”

Juniors who attend the open house will be given free MSGA memberships and handicapping services.

Storey said the average age of golfers in MSGA tournaments has increased from about 45 to nearly 60 during the 19 years she’s been executive director – in large part because of the rise of senior tournaments.

“When I started, we didn’t have a senior schedule of tournaments,” she said. “Now we have a very active one. Play in our weekend tournaments has decreased while our seniors numbers have increased. I know golfers who stopped playing in our weekly amateurs a few years ago are now playing in our senior tournaments.”

The MSGA has a junior golf tournament season from mid-June to mid-August, but is looking to extend it to the so-called shoulder season (April-May and September-October).

“We’re still getting young players interested in the game, but not enough of them,” Storey said. “Obviously we’re trying to reverse the trend. This is recognized as a problem throughout the industry.

“If we don’t replace some of the older golfers with juniors, we’re going to be in trouble.”

THE GOLF season finally has arrived in Maine. A number of courses are open in southern Maine and along the midcoast. Nonesuch River Golf Club in Scarborough was the first to open with nine holes April 11. It now has 18 holes open.

According to the MSGA website, these courses are open: The Links at Outlook in South Berwick, Dunegrass in Old Orchard Beach, Old Marsh in Wells, Brunswick Golf Club, Dutch Elm in Arundel, Toddy Brook in North Yarmouth, The Meadows in Litchfield, Mere Creek in Brunswick, The Ledges in York, Bath Country Club and Falmouth Country Club.

Riverside in Portland and Spring Meadows in Gray will open 18 holes Wednesday. Val Halla in Cumberland will open 18 holes Friday.

TEE TO GREEN: The opening MSGA tournament at Biddeford-Saco Country Club was postponed from Friday and Saturday. The course wasn’t quite ready to open. Since Biddeford-Saco is a popular tournament, it has been rescheduled for May 4-5. The first MSGA tournament will be a senior tournament at Dunegrass on Tuesday, weather permitting.

The 51st Paul Bunyan Amateur will have a southern Maine course in its rotation for the first time. The tournament, run by Harris Golf of Bath, will be played at Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono and Falmouth County Club. The two-round tournament had been held at Penobscot Valley and Kebo Valley Golf Club in Bar Harbor for the last seven years.

With the Bunyan partially moving south, a new tournament has moved in. The 36-hole Downeast Metro Amateur will be played at Kebo Valley and Bangor Municipal Golf Course. Bangor Muni was one of the original courses of the Bunyan but dropped out a few years ago.

“We really missed that tournament relationship,” said Rob Jarvis, an assistant pro at Bangor.

“When Peiter DeVos of Kebo Valley called me and told me they weren’t going to be part of the Bunyan, we jumped at the chance to have a tournament.”

Now here’s the kicker: Both tournaments will be held June 13-14.

“We wanted a later date because we heard that holding it around the first of June conflicted with graduations,” said Matt Barnard of Harris Golf, which owns Penobscot Valley and Falmouth country clubs.

Barnard said the Bunyan would like to get 288 players.

“I don’t like the fact we’re going head to head,” Jarvis said, “but I think we have our audience. We would love to get 200 players. If we get 150, that would be fine.”

For more on the tournaments, go to and