Golfing In Maine is As Good
As the Lobster!

Story & Photos by: Ed Stone

ABOVE: Maine lobster at its best...great golf can also be enjoyed in the Pine State.
BELOW: The 10th hole at Sugarloaf Golf Course.

When you think of Maine, you think of lobster…not golf. You think of beautiful fall foliage…not golf. You think of the beautiful coastline but not golf.

Maine has all of this and so much more…including some 140 golf courses across the approximately 33,200 square miles of what is called the "Pine Tree State." With only 10-days to experience the New England states of New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, experienced three of Maine’s outstanding golf layouts…Sugarloaf in Carrabassett, Samoset in Rockport/Camden and Sable Oaks in South Portland. Each one different, each one worth playing again…and, again.

Having visited the White Mountains in New Hampshire during the “leaf peeper season,” the drive to Sugarloaf in Carrabassett, Maine was nothing but "big wow's" all the way. Viewing the foliage and scenic vistas caused more stops along the way than one would plan...they were well worth the time to savor the beauty and experience the neat little towns.

Sugarloaf Hotel is world-class offering superior rooms and suites.

Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel is a world-class, full service hotel; right in the heart of multiple activities whether you are there for golfing or snow skiing. The hotel offers superior rooms, suites and penthouses...all with views of western Maine's majestic mountains. The Hotel’s upgrades over the last few seasons include; new bathrooms in every guest room, a grand entrance worthy of a true resort hotel, new flat-panel televisions and the new exclusive and luxurious Boyne Beds in every room. Breakfast is included in most hotel packages.

The Sugarloaf course opened in 1985 and features fairways of a mixture of Kentucky bluegrass with rye, while the greens are bent and poiana mixed. Roughs are TifEagle grasses. You’ll encounter split rail fences, streams rushing over rocks and bridges that not only help to navigate you through the course, but also adds ambiance to the golfing experience. The Carrabassett River winds its way through the course and comes into play five times. Holes number 10 and 11 feature elevations of some 125 feet with #10 being a par four and #11 a picturesque par 3. All of these features create one of the most beautiful courses you will play…don’t miss it!

The 18-hole Sugarloaf Golf Course is one of the tops in the nation.
Open from May through October, the Sugarloaf Golf Course offers a challenge on every hole.  

Golfing on the outstanding Sugarloaf Golf Course is what raises the bar for making golf the sport it has become. Having played some 500-plus golf courses in the world, this would easily place in my top five. Golfing doesn't get any better than Sugarloaf. The following are just a few of the rankings and recognitions this course has been so deservingly given.

Golf Digest
#1 Golf Course in Maine 1985-2009, 2011
#1 Upscale Course You Can Play in New England, 1996
#45 of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses, 2007
#30 of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses, 2005
#45 of America’s Top 100 Greatest Public Courses, 2003
Top 10 Courses in the USA for Memorability and Aesthetics, 1997
#23 of the Top 75 Upscale Courses You Can Play in the USA, 1996

Golf Styles Boston
Top 100 Must Play Courses of New England, 2005

NE Journal of Golf
#1 of the Top 100 Courses You Can Play in New England, 2004, 2003

Golf Digest For Women
Top 100 You Can Play in the USA, 1999
#16 of the Best Places to Play in America, 1998

Golf Magazine
Top 100 Courses You Can Play, 2004, 2002, 2000
#1 Course You Can Play in New England, 1998
#20 of the Top 100 You Can Play in the USA, 1998

Golfweek’s 100 Best Resort Courses, 2007, 2009
Golfweek's Best Courses You Can Play - 2007-2011
#41 of America’s Best 100 Golf Resorts, 2005
#1 Public Course in Maine, 2003, 2002
#1 Golf Course in Maine, 1997
Best of Northeast Golf
Best Overall Courses, 2006

Boston Magazine
Top 10 Golf Holes in New England (11th Hole), 1996
American Golf Resort Guide
Top 150 Collectible Courses in the World, 2011

Sugarloaf Ski & Golf Resort
Rt. 27, 5092 Access Road
Carrabassett Valley, ME 04947
Phone: (207) 237-2000
Toll-Free: 800-THE-LOAF

Entrance to the beautiful Samoset Resort with the #11, par-3 hole on background.

Samoset Resort in Rockport/Camden, Maine is one of those places you can't help but fall in love with upon arriving. The original resort hotel was built in 1889 and the golf course of only 9-holes opened in 1902. Now with a beautiful championship 18-hole course, this is one of New England’s premier resorts located between Rockport and Camden, Maine and situated on some 230-acres along waterfront on the edge of Penobscot Bay. The views are fantastic. During 2009 and 2010 the resort upgraded with a series of improvements elevating the resort’s attractiveness to guests.

In early 2011, the La Bella Vita Ristorante and Enoteca Lounge, the Spa at Samoset, a new lobby complete with double-sided granite fireplace, an observation deck for guests and three stunning, luxury guest cottages were added. First-class...all the way on each of these additions!

Conde Nast Traveler named Samoset Resort in 2010 as the third best in Northern resorts. Well deserved honor and climbing as to our observation. Other writers and publications have called Samoset "the Pebble Beach of the Atlantic." We agree.

Samoset Golf Course Samoset Resort Hotel Samoset Golf Course
From the veranda of the Samoset Hotel, a view of the golf course and Atlantic Ocean. The Samoset Resort Hotel Number 10 hole of the Samoset Resort golf course.

Samoset Resort has recovered from two fires and several bankrupt owners. In 1981, Gregg Grenert came on board as the golf course superintendent. He tells the story of bringing his father, the basketball coach at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, to show him Samoset, where he was applying for the job. “I don’t think God could bring this place back to a great golf course,” his father said. Greg told him that the golf course is the goose that laid the golden egg. And, today…it is.

Gregg Grenert, Samoset Resort's Golf Course Superintendent. Gary Soule, PGA Golf Professional at Samoset Resort.

Greg was up to the challenge and tells us the first thing he did was to get the greens in top shape by spraying for weeds, verde cutting and top-dressing them. “You must have good greens for a golfer,” he stated. In convincing the management to support his idea of bringing the course to the standard it is today, he emphasize that less than 10 percent of all golf courses have ocean views. This course has 12 holes that offer a view of the Atlantic Ocean and Penobscot Bay.

The affable golf pro is Gary Soule and he runs a very tight operation with customer service as his primary goal.

Samoset Resort
220 Warrenton St.
Rockport, ME 04856
Phone: (207) 594-2511
Toll-Free: 800-341-1650

Sable Oaks Golf Course
Sable Oaks offers an 18-hole challenging and beautiful course in South Portland.

Sable Oaks in South Portland, Maine opened in 1989 and is one of those golf courses you want to return to play time and time again. Geoffrey Cornish and Brian Silver designed the course and made great use of the land recognizing many environmentally sensitive areas. Sable Oaks has 14 forced carry shots throughout the course. It is scenic, challenging and makes great use of the natural terrain. You will find the course meandering through large oaks, maples, spruce, pines and birch with elevations changing from hole to hole and fairway to fairway.

Sable Oaks Golf Course
The Sable Oaks Golf Course is adjacent to the Marriott and Holiday Inn Express offering great golfing packages.

The course is part of a large commercial office complex. The Sable Oaks Marriott and the Sable Oaks Holiday Inn Express are managed by Ocean Properties based in nearby Portsmouth, NH. Ocean Properties owns the 125-acre Sable Oaks Golf Course. With somewhat limited acreage, the fairways are fairly tight but the greens are plenty large to accommodate a first-class golf course. In order to make best use of the land, there are three par-3’s on the back nine (#’s 11, 13 and 17), but not to the detriment of the game. The golf professional, Roger Densmore, pointed out that holes number 9 and 18 mirror image each other. Roger is a native of Massachusetts and his father was career Navy. There are photos of Disney characters playing golf along with a beautiful photo of ships and submarines given to Roger by his father.

The Marriott and Holiday Inn offer very attractive packages that include accommodations, breakfast and golf.

Sable Oaks Golf Club
505 Country Club Dr.
South Portland, ME 04106
Phone: 207-775-6257

Maine's Bar Harbor
Maine's Bar Harbor is one of those "not to be missed" places to visit.

The entire State of Maine is attractive for both golfers and non-golfers.  Showcasing some 140 courses, some 40 of them are 9-hole golf courses. The plethora of outdoor activities is unlimited. Be it water sports, hiking, camping, fishing, sightseeing or finding all the delicious lobster, you will find activities of interest and delicious cuisine in this beautiful land of the Northeast.

For more information on the State of Maine:
Maine Office of Tourism
#59 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0059
Phone: 1-888-624-6345
Toll Free: 1-877-624-6331
You may request a free full-color guidebook about Maine vacation opportunities.