Doubleheader in Maine
There a few things that I will never forget from my first visit to Sugarloaf Golf Club in Maine. The first and this has become a line that I have used with so many a macho golfer “The woods are full of long hitters.” Oh, so true and if there is one course that you could lose a few of those golfers it is in the woods lining these fairways.
The other, the number of moose in the area and plenty of these god-like mammals roaming the resort. My favorite was descending from the clubhouse on route to our condo below. My head turning from side to side keeping an eye out for any moose that might cross. Suddenly a voice from the back seat calls out, “Claudio, if you are looking for moose, look straight ahead.” Sure, enough staring us down, I am guessing well over a thousand pounds of majestic muscle, with a look that said, “this is my road too!
We sat patiently and waited for him to mosey on.
Golfers in the State of Maine are so fortunate to have 2 resorts that are part of the Boyne Resorts Family, Sugarloaf being one and Sunday River the other. Boyne Resorts is a collection of mountain and lakeside resorts, ski areas, and attractions spanning from British Columbia to Maine. The company owns and operates eleven properties and an outdoor lifestyle equipment/apparel retail division with stores in cities throughout Michigan. An industry leader in multiple U.S. regions, operations include snow sports and year-round mountain recreation, golf, an indoor waterpark, spas, food and beverage, lodging and real estate development.
Sugarloaf is Maine’s premier golf destination; the Robert Trent Jones Jr. design provides golfers with stunning panoramic mountain views and an unforgettable experience from first tee to final putt.
Panoramic views there are a plenty, but one that you are not likely to forget, I certainly have not, the view from the 11th tee box, the hole appropriately named PRECIPICE. This par 3 is Sugarloaf’s most famous hole and one of the most photographed holes in New England. Dropping more than 120 feet, the hole plays nearly 2 clubs downhill to a green guarded by bunkers back and right of the green and the Carrabassett River short and left. A par is a great score.
The 11th is the “Signature” and the 2nd in a run of 5 holes, 10-15 known as the “String of Peals.” The collection of holes offers up everything and anything that anyone could want, from risk-reward, intimidating bunkers, flirting with the Carrabassett River, and spectacular views of the Bigelow Mountain Range.
Closing out the String, is the 15th hole, Cobbled Stone. Providing a unique challenge, similar to Augusta’s 12th hole, wind will swirl causing indecision on club choice. A successful approach over the Carrabassett River will provide a great chance at par on this receptive green.
Sugarloaf Golf Club is a must play and many would agree as accolades have been pouring in year after year. Playing here is no walk in the park, 5 sets of tees allow you to choose the right one’s course ratings and slope, range from Black 75.2 / 150 to Green 72.6 / 135.
- GOLFWEEK – #1 Course In Maine 2017 & 2018
GOLF DIGEST – #1 Course In Maine 28 times since 1985
GOLF DIGEST – America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses 2003, 2005, 2007
GOLFWEEK – America’s 100 Best Resort Courses 2007, 2009, 2016
A round would be complete without a visit to Strokes Bar & Grill for a made-to-order breakfast before you play, or pick something up to take with you to the tee. Finish your day with a quiet cocktail on the patio while soaking in the panoramic mountain views.
Just about any style of accommodations that anyone could wat are available at Sugarloaf, from hotel, to condos to homes. Many with views of the roaming moose!
Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun
Regardless of where you may be coming from to play in Maine it would behove you to double up your pleasure and include a visit to Sunday River Golf Club a part of the Resort by the same name. Approximately 90 miles from Sugarloaf.
Another spectacular Boyne property in a classic New England setting. Also, a Robert Trent Jones, Jr. design. The course itself is perched on a sloping hillside, overlooking the Sunday River Valley with the Mahoosuc range towering above offering panoramic views that stretch all the way to Old Spec, Maine’s third highest peak. Tree lined fairways take you to dramatic elevation changes with natural topography striking the perfect balance between challenge and playability. Mountain golf at its best!
The par-threes, several of them playing from dramatically elevated tees, as well as the par-fives, are a strength of Sunday River. The 499-yard par-five first hole sets a stunning tone for the remainder of the round. The fairway runs downhill to the green and the putting surface can be reached in two shots, providing you play your ball down the right side and avoid two bunkers on either side of the green.
The 425-yard-par four fifth plays shorter than its length because it’s all downhill, and the ninth, a 339-yarder, is a great example of a superb, short par-four. The tee shot and approach must carry waste areas.
The 17th, par 4, #1 Handicap hole is just a beast from whichever tee box you are playing. Finding the fairway cut off the tee of this demanding par-4 is critical for success. Bunkers guard the right and left side of the landing area. Carrying the fairway bunker along right side will allow the best angle of approach from the right center of the fairway to a dramatically elevated green.
I hope the 17th did not scare you. Jones does produce a great challenge with his courses. For the most part here, the fairways are generous, greens are spacious a few blind shots and of course uneven lies. The key to scoring is your shot into the green. Pick the right tees for you and you will be OK!
Many great accolades for the course as well, so you know you can’t go wrong with either.
- GOLF DIGEST – #1 Course in Maine
- GOLF MAGAZINE – Top 100 Courses You Can Play
- GOLFWEEK MAGAZINE – Best Courses You Can Play in Maine
- GOLF DIGEST – Top 10 Upscale Public Courses
- LINKS MAGAZINE – Best Mountain Courses in New England
The resort has over 700 condominiums, ranging from studio condos to three-bedroom townhomes, all with access to indoor and outdoor pools and saunas. Sunday River offers attractive stay and play package at the property’s Jordan Hotel, which is just two miles from the golf course.
On either of the Resorts website your will find stay and play options not only for the respective resorts but also the option to make that double header a reality!