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The five best golf courses in Maine

Best Golf Maine

The history of golf in Maine is intertwined with the evolution of the sport in the United States, having its roots in the late 19th century when the game began to spread from Scotland. Maine quickly embraced golf, establishing some of the earliest clubs and courses in the nation. Among these, the Portland Country Club, founded in 1895, stands out as a pioneer, showcasing the state’s early adoption and love for the sport.

Related: The Five Best Golf Courses in New Brunswick

As the 20th century progressed, golf in Maine saw a significant expansion. The early 1900s were marked by a surge in popularity, leading to the creation of numerous golf clubs across the state. This growth was not confined to urban areas; courses sprang up in scenic and remote locations as well, taking advantage of Maine’s natural beauty. This period solidified golf as an integral part of Maine’s cultural and social landscape.

By the mid-20th century, the sport had become embedded in the local communities, with public golf courses making the game accessible to a wider audience. This democratization of golf allowed for a more inclusive participation, further cementing its status in the state.

The late 20th and early 21st centuries have witnessed a continuation of this growth, with Maine now offering a diverse array of golfing experiences. From championship-level courses to family-friendly nine-hole tracks and links-style courses that nod to the game’s origins, Maine’s golfing landscape is rich and varied. Golf tourism has also become a vital aspect of the state’s appeal, attracting visitors from far and wide.

Despite its successes, the golfing scene in Maine has not been without its challenges. Environmental concerns and economic fluctuations have forced the sport to adapt. Courses have responded by adopting more sustainable practices and seeking ways to remain economically viable in changing times. This resilience and ability to evolve reflect the enduring spirit of golf in Maine, ensuring its place in the state’s history and future.

Belgrade Lakes Golf Club in Belgrade Lakes stands out not just for its meticulously designed course by Clive Clark but also for its harmonious blend with the natural landscape. Since its opening in 1998, the club has been celebrated for offering golfers not just a game but an experience, with rolling terrains and spectacular views that change with the seasons. Each hole is designed to challenge the golfer while providing a scenic backdrop, making every round as visually enjoyable as it is challenging.

Sugarloaf Golf Club in Carrabassett Valley takes the game to new heights, quite literally. Nestled in the mountains, it offers a playing experience that is as breathtaking as it is demanding. The course, a masterpiece crafted by Robert Trent Jones Jr., showcases dramatic elevation changes, challenging layouts, and the famous “String of Pearls,” a series of holes that run along the picturesque Carrabassett River. The natural beauty of the surrounding landscape, combined with the clever design of the course, makes Sugarloaf a must-visit for serious golfers.

Sunday River Golf Club in Newry, another Robert Trent Jones Jr. creation, presents a unique blend of challenge and beauty. Opened to acclaim, this course is set against the stunning backdrop of the Mahoosuc Range, offering expansive views that can distract even the most focused golfer. The layout takes full advantage of the natural terrain, with strategic bunkers and water hazards that require thoughtful play. The changing elevation not only tests the golfer’s skill but also provides a variety of perspectives on the breathtaking New England landscape.

Each of these golf courses in Maine offers a distinct experience, from the serene lakeside views at Belgrade Lakes to the mountainous challenges at Sugarloaf and Sunday River. Golfers can expect not only a test of their skills but also an immersive experience in some of Maine’s most beautiful natural settings. These courses embody the spirit of golf in Maine, combining the sport with the state’s stunning landscapes to offer unforgettable golfing adventures.

The Samoset Resort Golf Course in Rockport offers a historic and luxurious golfing experience. Opening its fairways in 1902, the course has evolved over time, combining the charm of early American golf with modern design elements. The course layout, redesigned by Robert Elder and updated by Geoffrey Cornish, presents golfers with a challenging yet fair test of skill across 18 holes. The highlight of playing at Samoset is undoubtedly its ocean vistas, with several holes offering breathtaking views of Penobscot Bay. These scenic overlooks, combined with meticulously maintained greens and fairways, make Samoset not just a test of golfing ability but also an immersion into Maine’s coastal beauty.

Falmouth Country Club in Falmouth represents the pinnacle of private golf club excellence in Maine. Though membership is required for regular access, the quality and condition of this course have earned it a reputation as one of the finest in the state. The club features 27 holes of championship golf designed by Geoffrey Cornish and Brian Silva, providing a variety of golfing experiences across three nine-hole courses. The layout is known for its strategic bunkering, varied terrain, and impeccably kept greens. Falmouth Country Club has hosted numerous state and regional championships, attesting to the quality and challenge it presents. Its blend of accessibility, challenge, and beauty makes it a coveted destination for serious golfers in Maine.

Together, these courses—Belgrade Lakes Golf Club, Sugarloaf Golf Club, Sunday River Golf Club, The Samoset Resort Golf Course, and Falmouth Country Club—offer a comprehensive look at the premier golfing destinations in Maine. Each brings its unique character and challenges, from coastal views and historic charm to mountainous terrain and championship layouts, embodying the diversity and beauty of golf in Maine.


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