Located five miles from Bethel, Maine, the Sunday River Golf Club offers a relaxing yet adventurous pastime to summer guests of this renowned ski resort. Built on a northwest facing hillside, the golf course provides views much like those a skier might enjoy from a lift or mountaintop: across the Sunday River Valley to the Mahousuc Range, Goose Eye Mountain, and Old Speck, the third-highest peak in Maine. The fall foliage of the surrounding hardwood forests creates a dazzling seasonal panorama.
One of our challenges in building Sunday River was to route the golf course through a series of dramatic elevation changes, including steep slopes and deep ravines. At the same time, fairways and greens needed to be shaped to receive and hold shots. One solution was to utilize stone retaining walls- the largest of which remain out of sight-to create fairway terraces. We mimicked the look of the surrounding terrain to make the golf course appear to flow through the site. Robert Trent Jones II created eighteen separate, self-contained golf holes, each following the natural topography. Every hole stands as an individual work of golf art while also functioning as a component of a seamless, aggregated whole.
The 7,130-yard course features fairway, greenside, waste, directional, and cross bunkers, although wide fairways help to establish a fair and eminently playable, if testing, golf course. Tiered greens, rock outcroppings, wetlands, occasional forced carries, and the musical, clear waters of Merrill Creek present additional challenges. The classic Redan hole at number fourteen echoes the rich history of golf course architecture. Moose and bear are among the visitors who enjoy the course.
Master architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. has called Sunday River "One of the most outstanding courses we have had the opportunity to develop." Early reviews in the golf press suggest that Sunday River will garner its share of additional accolades.