Midcoast golf courses target opening dates

Harsh winter keeps Rockland, Goose River, Samoset, Appleton from starting earlier
By Mark Haskell | Apr 07, 2014
Photo by: Mark Haskell The 18th hole on the Rockland Golf Course.

With the snow disappearing from the Midcoast at an alarming rate in recent weeks after a harsh winter, one of the most notable rites of passage in springtime is the opening of the area golf courses.

Rockland Golf Club typically is the first course to open and this season should be no different, said longtime PGA Pro Keenan Flanagan.

RGC is slated for a Tuesday, April 15 opening of the course's front nine holes. The back nine is “usually a week behind,” said Flanagan, while the front nine sits on a significant slate of embedded rock, which allows that side to drain faster, thus, open to play sooner.

“When you can cut the cup 13 inches down into the green, we'll open,” said Flanagan on Monday. “And right now I can get down six inches before I hit solid ice.”

When the temperature rises above 32 degrees overnight, roughly an inch of frost is lost per night, Flanagan said.

The course will only be open for walking in the first few weeks, while carts likely will become available in May. The rate to walk the first nine holes early in the season will be $20.

The Samoset Resort in Rockport will follow shorty thereafter and will target a Friday, April 25 opening of all 18 holes.

“We came through quite well actually,” said Gary Soule, director of golf at the Samoset.

Through mid-June, Maine residents can golf 18 holes at the Samoset for $49 Monday through Thursday, and $59 Friday through Sunday. Those rates include the use of golf carts.

Goose River is slated to be the final area "public" course to open, targeting a May 1 open, said pro Jim Blanchette.

Goose River's course has many peaks and valleys and, thus, has many low, wet spots throughout the layout.

The terrific snow season for the Camden Snow Bowl also plays into Goose River's plans.

“That snow melts off [Ragged Mountain] into Hosmer Pond, which is a tributary to Goose River which all comes our way along with all the drainage in that area,” Blanchette said. “We're just looking realistically to see how much runoff is coming our way. So May 1 is what we are looking at, anything before that would be a bonus."

The spring rate for Goose River, which is a nine-hole course, is $15 for nine holes and $20 for 18 holes.

The West Appleton Country Club has targeted Saturday, April 26 as opening day. The greens fee is $12 for nine holes and $12 for a cart.

The open dates are projections and not official opening dates as weather will apply for all three courses.

Other local courses such as the Union Country Club and Megunticook Golf Club in Rockport are private, although Union does accept memberships.

The 10th hole on the Rockland Golf Course. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
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