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Maine Lakefront Property
Our Maine lakefront experts are standing by to help you. Views and news about Maine lakes and lakefront homes See why the Mr. Lakefront team provides superior information and unsurpassed service Read the latest news about lakes and ponds across the state Educate yourself about buying lakefront property Find information about hundreds of Maine lakes and ponds Browse available Maine lakefront properties

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Warm, Dry Conditions Mean Early March Rounds for Maine Golfers

March 14, 2016 - Scarborough— Last year at this time, the parking lot at Nonesuch River Golf Club had an abundance of snow and a dearth of cars.

On Wednesday, the lot overflowed, with vehicles parked along the entrance road.

That is what temperatures in the 60s will do in Maine, creating its own form of March madness on the golf course.

“It’s been a crazy morning,” said Nonesuch owner and General Manager Dan Hourihan. By 2 p.m., 170 golfers had teed off, with another 60 booked for later in the afternoon.

Across the state, golf courses are taking advantage of mild weather to open earlier than usual. By comparison, many were unable to open until late April last year after a long, harsh winter. The difference not only thrills golfers, but provides a financial boost to the courses.

“If we can get open early, it has a significant impact on the budget,” said Dave Pollard, co-owner and course manager of Spring Meadows Golf Club in Gray, a public course that also sells memberships. “It creates a lot of activity. People come out, maybe buy a membership – because they have a better bang for the buck with an extra 30 days.”

Spring Meadows has yet to open, but Pollard said the course will be ready “in about a week.” Last year its opening was delayed until April 24.

In South Berwick, the Links at Outlook opened Tuesday, and welcomed 200 golfers Wednesday.

“It’s a little hectic, but it’s good,” said Jeff Maldonis, director of golf at the course.

Fox Ridge Golf Course in Auburn opened for the season Wednesday and attracted 50 golfers. Last year, it didn’t open until April 26, said manager Nolan Sullivan.

Nonesuch got its season started Feb. 26, keeping its tradition of being one of the first courses in southern Maine to open each year. Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono may have been the first in the state to open this year, on Feb. 21.

“We kind of wait and look at the weather,” said Nonesuch’s Hourihan. “As soon as we saw it looked promising, we started to get ready. That weekend (Feb. 20-21), we had a lot of melt. We looked at the forecast, and we realized it was time to go.”

And another sure sign of spring: “We actually mowed the greens (Tuesday),” Hourihan said.

The golfers noticed.

“Nonesuch does a great job,” Jake Lachance said Wednesday while on his second outing this season. “Everything I’ve seen has been dry. And the greens are a lot faster than we thought they’d be.”

Lachance, 24, is a South Portland police officer with an all-night shift. That leaves days for golf – and he’s starting earlier than in 2015.

“We got buried last year,” Lachance said. “The longer the winter season, the longer the mud season. Getting through that is almost as bad as getting through the winter.

“It’s definitely a blessing to be out this early.”

Other courses, such as Val Halla Golf Course in Cumberland, need to wait a little bit longer.

“We are probably looking at the 25th (of March) as our open date,” said Brian Bickford, Val Halla’s director of golf. “We still have snow and ice in some of our shady areas. If we can open up sooner, we will.”

But there is still activity at Val Halla, which houses the Maine State Golf Association. Last year, the association had to push back some of its events because of the harsh winter. Now it may add tournaments.

“We might get our season going early,” said Mike Doran, the association’s tournament director. “Our first (tournament) is scheduled April 29-30, but if we can find a way to get going earlier, it would be great.”

Doran, naturally, is thrilled to see golf courses opening.

“Considering it’s March 9, it’s pretty unbelievable to have options (of where to play),” he said. “It’s our revenge for last winter.

“To give golfers six extra weeks to do what they love is a bonus.”

Kevin Thomas, Portland Press Herald, March 2016

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