Our 4th and final Maine Golf Trail for 2006 requires a good driver, and I’m not talking about the one wood. Linking these 7 courses together takes you from central Maine to Downeast to Aroostook County in northern Maine and covers a lot of ground. Using Portland as your launch pad, this journey heads north up the coast to the Sebasco Harbor Resort (www.sebasco.com) in Phippsburg.
The drive from Portland is less than an hour but it transports you to a self-contained harborside village far from the bustle of southern Maine. Sebasco’s picturesque championship 9 holes golf course was fully redesigned in 2001. The challenging layout runs along Casco Bay and its bent grass fairways ensure an outstanding golf experience. Course highlights include the 145 yard, par 3 second hole, where the approach may differ depending on the tide and the new 510 yard, par 5 finishing hole challenges golfers of all levels. The Resort has a three hole, regulation length, practice and teaching area for new players as well as experienced players wishing to fine tune their skills.
Continuing north but veering slightly to the west and away from the coast our next stop is the highly underrated Springbrook Golf Club (www.springbrookgolfclub.com) in Leeds. Locals have known for years that this hilly track possesses some of Maine’s finest greens and has been a breeding ground for many of Maine’s best amateur golfers. Amazingly, this course can be played for $25 midweek and that’s not just for 18 holes – that’s an “all you can play” buffet.
A short poke to the east is the home of Maine’s only 36 hole course, Natanis (http://www.natanisgc.com/). Located just north of Augusta in the town of Vassalboro, Natanis was cut from the rural field and rugged woods back in 1965 as a nine hole track and has since added three more nines. Renowned architect Dan Maples of Pinehurst and Myrtle Beach fame oversaw the construction of the final 18 holes and the result is one of central Maine’s most popular courses.
A 45 minute drive north lands us at Palmyra (www.palmyra-me.com) where an 18 hole links style hilltop course awaits. Also home to an RV friendly 95 site campground, Palmyra started in 1965 as the 9 hole Grandview Golf Club and became an 18 hole course with its new name in 1992. A true four season resort, Palmyra is also host to a premier Nordic track facility.
Leaving Palmyra, another 45 minute drive transports us to Dedham and the Lucerne-in-Maine Golf Course (www.lucernegolf.com). A classic Donald Ross 9 hole course, Lucerne is perched on a hill with spectacular views of nearby Phillips Lake. The Lucerne Inn and the 5,000 acres surrounding it was meant to be one of the nation’s first planned communities in the 1920s – a “developer’s dream.” The village of Lucerne was created as a municipality by the Maine Legislature in 1927, and was pitched as “one of the most beautiful spots in America.” The idea for the planned community never panned out, but the municipal portion of Lucerne-in-Maine survived. Lucerne-in-Maine is located on an old stage route that ran from Bangor to Ellsworth, presently known as Route 1A. It is situated within a group of wooded mountains (with Bald Mountain the highest at 1,261 feet above sea level) and known as the “Switzerland of America.”
A pitch shot east on 1A and our saga continues in the town of Trenton and the Bar Harbor Golf Course (www.barharborgolfcourse.com) beckons. The Bar Harbor Golf Course, at the mouth of Frenchman’s Bay, is known for its picturesque beauty. Vast fairways overlook the scenic Jordan River and the majestic mountains of Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor Golf Course has natural water hazards, expertly manicured greens, and an 18th hole stretching 620 long yards will provide you with many challenges usually found only at exclusive private clubs.
Fill up the gas tank as it’s now time to point the vehicle north and embark on the 200 mile drive to the Presque Isle Country Club (www.picountryclub.com). Founded in 1957, the Presque Isle Country Club stretches to nearly 6800 yards and hosts one of Maine’s most prestigious amateur events, the Spudland Open. This picturesque course was built on hilly terrain. The fairways vary in width, and one water hazard comes into play. The course was designed with three dogleg right fairways and three dogleg left fairways.
It’s only 5 hours back to Portland! For more information on golf in Maine, visit www.GolfMe.com