Best Golf Courses in Maine

Maine’s forested and rugged landscape is the main characteristic of the majority of golf courses we can find here. While this state is not really known by its golfing courses, most of them are public, really well maintained and count with some well-known designers, such as Donald Ross or Robert Trent Jones Jr. Let’s get something clear: do not expect an easy game in Maine. Elevation changes, blind shots, dramatic bunkers and water hazards wait for you in most courses, most of them in some scenic locations that will make you enjoy some fantastic backgrounds. Here is the list of the top-notch public courses in the Pine Tree State. Let us know what you think!

Best Golf Courses in (Province/State)

1. Belgrade Lakes Golf Club (Belgrade Lakes)

Rating: 5.5/5.0

The top course in Maine is undoubtedly Belgrade lakes, a scenic course located in the homonym city of Belgrade Lakes in Central Maine. Only 25 to the north of Augusta, the capital of the state, this course has a privileged location, which was taken advantage of by architect Clive Clark to craft a beautiful track full of water hazards, elevation changes and rock outcroppings, which opened in 1998. (Top 100 Golf Courses, s.f.)One rare characteristic of this course is that it does not have a clubhouse, or a restaurant, or a driving range, no hotels, no houses… so going here means only one and only thing: golf at its finest.It has many signature holes, one of them being one of the state’s best par fives, the 16th. A massive tee shot which plays over a pond and bordering a huge oak, to finish uphill in a green surrounded by bunkers. Fees at this course vary hugely depending on the season. Going in May, a round walking cost $80, while in the summer season it can go up to $145. If wanting to do it by cart, the price increases in $30. (Belgrade Lakes Website, s.f.)

2. Sunday River Golf Club (Newry)

Rating: 4.9/5.0

Following Belgrade lakes we find Sunday River, a masterpiece created in 2004 by the renowned golf architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Located in the mountains in the city of Newry, almost touching the border with New Hampshire, this course offers some stunning views of the Sunday River Valley, plenty of hardwood forests painted in infinite colours and the company of Merrill Creek in several of its holes. This location gives the course some extreme elevation changes, featuring some ravines, slopes and blind shots which make it fun and challenging for any kind of player. However, these challenges are accompanied by generous fairways and large greens, so even when challenging, it is accessible and fair to every player. (Golf Advisor, s.f.)The signature hole of the course is the 14th, called “Runout”: a long par 3 which plays over a waste area to a Redan green. There are other great holes, such as the also par 3 16th, called “Zipper Fall”, which plays downhill to a green protected by 4 large bunkers. The rates of this course are somehow affordable for the top quality track you will enjoy in exchange. Depending on the season and time, green fees may range from $70 to $100. (Sunday River Golf Web, s.f.). Definitely, a must play if you are around Newry!

3. Sugarloaf Golf Club (Carrabassett Valley)

Rating: 4.9/5.0Sugarloaf opened in the year 1985, and had no rival as the best golf course is Maine for almost 15 years, until Belgrade Lakes opened in 1998. This beauty was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., and is located in the town of Carrabassett Valley, in the west side of Maine, really close to the Bigelow Preserve. Beautiful and demanding, this course has some panoramic views of the mountains, creeks and forests of infinite colours, while having great elevation changes and multiple holes that will make you sweat to score the par. The best set of holes are said to be from the 10th to the 15th, a series called the “String of Pearls”, and featuring the signature 11th, the “Precipice”: a short par 3 which plays downhill form an elevated tee to a green located 120 feet down.There are several deals for those who want to try out this magnificent track, but normally a round can cost around $80 and $100. There are also 4 rounds tokens for $250, in case you want to play more than once!

4. Samoset Resort (Rockport)

Rating: 4.7/5.0

Samoset was first established back in 1902, when 9 holes were built in this tremendous location in Rockport, overlooking the Penobscot Bay. It was not until the 70s when Geoff Cornish added another nine to complete a full 18 – hole championship layout. Finally, in the year 2000 it went through a renovation by Brad Booth, who improved holes 4, 5, 14 and 18 giving them more challenge and fun. However, this course is open and wide, offering a very playable experience to golfers of all levels of play.While having great vistas, water only come into play in 5 holes here, all of them inland: number 1, 10, 11, 13 and 18 count with ponds the golfer has to avoid in order to score well. Five par 3s in the first 13 holes make the round quite fun, and apart from those, par 4 10th and par 5 12th are some great holes too. ( , s.f.)However, the signature hole is said to be the par 5 4th, probably beacuase its spectacular views of the bay, and featuring a stone seawall. The green fees here are no different from most of the courses here, ranging from $75 to $120 in peak season.

5. Kebo Valley (Bar Harbor)

Rating: 4.6/5.0

Welcome to one of the oldest golf clubs in the U.S. Founded back in 1888, they hired the architect Herbert Corey Leeds to design the original 6-hole layout. Five years later, they added three more holes, completing the 9-hole course that remained until 1920, when the other nine were created to complete the definitive 18-hole track.Located in Bar Harbor, in the southern Mount Desert Island, Kebo Valley counts with some memorable and challenging holes. Its signature is the 13th: a par 4 with an approach shot over some mounds protecting the green, with also some bunkers on its back. Apart from this one, the other par 4s are amazing as well: look for example the 16th, and its crazily protected green with 5 huge bunkers! Or the following 17th, playing to a tiny green and having to carry over a big sand bunker. (Kebo Valley Web, s.f.)This course counts also with a pro shop and a restaurant-bar called The Links Pub, known by its great food.

6. Fox Ridge Golf Club (Auburn)

Rating: 4.6/5.0

Fox Ridge is set in the city of Auburn, and was designed in 2001 by Carol L. Myshrall, Jr. This course mix some links style holes with others parkland ones, both of them with some trees and fescue lining the fairways and with water coming into play in 9 holes. Another of its characteristics is the presence of some stone walls and brooks throughout the whole layout.The course is really well maintained, with large and undulating greens with consistent speed, and counts with great holes, the most famous one being the 5th: a downhill par 3 to a peninsula green on the lake. The course also counts with a great driving range of 10 acres, with five target greens and 15.000 square feet practice tee. The great thing here, apart from the layout, are the ridiculous prices: green fees range from $30 to $40 per round! So there is no excuse for not visiting this fantastic and affordable golf course.

7. The Ledges Golf Club (York)

Rating: 4.4/5.0

Brad Booth designed this course back in 1999, and made sure of creating a track perfectly melted with nature. The rugged terrain, multiple pines and the fact that there are no houses nearby gives this layout the feeling of being completely in the wild.The signature holes here is the 8th: a par 3 which plays downhill from an elevated tee, where you can experience the spectacular views of the coloured trees and the two big ponds. You can also see the green, multi-tiered and protected by two little bunkers. Another memorable hole is the closing one, which is said to be one of the most challenging finishing holes of New England: a long par 5 with two carries over water that will make you sweat to make the par here.Rates at The Ledges are a bit more expensive than Fox Ridge, but anyway affordable, ranging from $55 to $65 per round. However, if playing in twilight time you will pay half of the price. An absolute bargain!

8. Penobscot Valley Country Club (Orono)

Rating: 4.3/5.0

Designed by Donald Ross in 1924, the Penobscot Valley course in the Penobscot Valley Country Club has held multiple tournaments since its foundation, such as ten Maine Amateur Championships, and counting. It counts with a wide variety of holes, and went through a renovation in 2008, in order to add up to thirty bunkers and rebuild a couple of greens.Here you will find a natural layout, with great rolling fairways, well-groomed greens and spectacular views; all of it accompanied by a great clubhouse, a fine restaurant, luxurious locker rooms, a pro-shop, meeting rooms, and even an outdoor heated swimming pool.And what about green fees? You will have to pay $25 per round. Sounds great right? Do not wait and visit this gem!

9. Cape Arundel Golf Club (Kennebunkport)

Rating: 4.2/5.0

This old course was established in 1900 with only 9 holes, and twenty years later the former U.S. Amateur Champion Walter Travis designed the other nine, completing the 18-hole golf facility situated in Kennebunkport, a beautiful coastal town in the south of Maine. As many coastal courses, this is a links-style track, quite short, and with the particularity of only having one par 5, the 9th, with only 480 yards. From the par 4s, only the 12th, with a dogleg to the right, has more than 400 yards. The rates here range oscillate between $50 and $100 depending on the season. Although it is not the cheapest course, the location is priceless, so if you are in the area and are up to some golf, this is the place to go.

10. Prouts Neck Country Club (Scarborough)

Rating: 4.1/5.0

As the last course of our list, we have the Prouts Neck course in Scarborough. As many other tracks of the list, it was built more than a century ago, with the first 9 holes. Then, in 1924, Wayne Stiles redesigned the course adding the other nine holes to create the layout we have nowadays.This club is private, however, there is a way of playing if you are not a member: staying at the Black Point Inn. So if you are thinking of visiting Scarborough and take the clubs with you, this could be a fantastic option. Make sure of visiting their web and calling in order to check their availability!

Wrap up

As we have seen, challenge, fun and views are some of the common adjectives when golfing in Maine. Be sure to try one out and let us know about your impressions and experience in the comments.


Author: Abraham

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