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Best in State

The best golf courses in Maine

Families have been summering along the coast of Maine for generations, so it makes sense that many of the courses on the Best in State list date to the first decades of the 20th century. The current courses at Cape Arundel, Boothbay Harbor, Portland Country Club and Kebo Valley all date to the 1920s.

The coast isn't the state's only asset. Sunday River, a 2005 Robert Trent, Jr. design, is nestled away in the mountains of western Maine near the New Hampshire state line. Jones also built Sugarloaf Mountain, adjacent to a ski resort of the same name, with forested valley holes that run along and over the Carrabassett River.

Below you'll find our 2023-'24 ranking of the Best Golf Courses in Maine.

We urge you to click through to each individual course page for bonus photography, drone footage and reviews from our course panelists. Plus, you can now leave your own ratings on the courses you’ve played … to make your case why your favorite should be ranked higher. 

(Parentheses indicate the course's previous ranking.)

1. (2) Cape Arundel Golf Club
Public
1. (2) Cape Arundel Golf Club
Kennebunkport, ME
4.4
41 Panelists
Despite a length of just 5,859 yards long, Cape Arundel packs plenty of punch to both challenge and engage golfers of all skill levels. Designed by Walter Travis in 1921, Cape Arundel is at its best around the greens. The green complexes are small, yet undulating and provide plenty of opportunities to putt off them. Golfers must be precise with their wedges in order to have an opportunity to get close to the flag. The pin locations dictate the strategy from the tee as different pins may demand different strategies meaning the course doesn’t play the same from one day to the next. Low-handicappers who are looking to score are not granted the luxury of hitting driver on every hole as they must think their way around the golf course. While many courses that were built in the Golden Age of course design have been forced to become bigger and longer to adapt to the modern game, Cape Arundel has stayed true to itself and has remained one of the most unique and enjoyable courses in golf.
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2. (3) Boothbay Harbor Country Club
4
41 Panelists
Boothbay Harbor Country Club is a semi-private club on the coast of Maine offering stay-and-play packages at its cottages, villas and oceanside resort. The club underwent a $50 million makeover in 2015 and 2016, funded by philanthropist owner Paul Coulombe, who made his fortune in the flavored vodka business. As part of the makeover, the course was redesigned by Bruce Hepner, and it remains one of the best conditioned courses in the Pine Tree State, as indicated by our panelists scores. The course is aesthetically strong as well, with water features, flower beds and the Maine woods framing many holes. The course has plenty of elevation changes and is best enjoyed in a cart.
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3. (5) Belgrade Lakes Golf Club
Public
3. (5) Belgrade Lakes Golf Club
Belgrade Lakes, ME
4.1
49 Panelists
A past member of Golf Digest's 100 Greatest Public list, Belgrade Lakes is a picturesque Clive Clark design in central Maine. Considered by locals to have the most scenic practice putting green in the Pine Tree State, Belgrade's clubhouse and first tee sit high above the rest of the property, offering panoramic views of the surrounding lakes and forest. The layout is intriguing with numerous elevation changes, strategic doglegs, serene ponds and omnipresent boulders that often penalize—or reward—wayward shots. The back patio of the clubhouse offers a beautiful view of the property below, including the ninth and 18th holes, which share a massive, undulating double green.
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4. (4) Sugarloaf Golf Club
Public
4. (4) Sugarloaf Golf Club
Carrabassett Valley, ME
3.9
17 Panelists
Set in the Carrabassett Valley against the Appalachians, Sugarloaf is a demanding Robert Trent Jones Jr. mountain course. A past member of Golf Digest's 100 Greatest Public list, Sugarloaf is a true ball-striking test with narrow fairways guarded by dense forest and imposing rocks. The greens have significant undulations with numerous shelves, creating a variety of possible pin locations. Sugarloaf's signature holes—the 10th and 11th—offer stunning panoramic views of the Maine wilderness and feature dramatic dropoffs from tee to green. At the par-3 11th—aptly nicknamed "Precipice"—the small, two-tiered green is set 120 feet below the tee box. In the winter months, Sugarloaf is a renowned ski resort, and the trails can be seen from many holes.
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5. (NR) Portland Country Club
Private
5. (NR) Portland Country Club
Falmouth, ME
4.2
20 Panelists
One of the more exclusive courses in Maine, Portland Country Club is a private Donald Ross course just north of the downtown area with terrific views of Casco Bay. The first tee box is set directly in front of the club patio, meaning your tee shot on the short par-4 opener will likely have a few spectators. In 2017, the club restored many of the Ross features, including the greens, which have plenty of slope and often severely penalize a short-sided miss. The second green is heavily canted from right to left and is perhaps the most dramatic on the course. Any approach landing in the right side of the green will feed down to the left, or if played with a bit too much spin, will roll well off the front of the green. The front nine is more exposed, while the back plays through tree-lined corridors before opening back up for the final few holes.
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6. (NR) Kebo Valley Club
Public
6. (NR) Kebo Valley Club
Bar Harbor, ME
3.8
26 Panelists
Established in 1888 with play starting 1891, Kebo Valley is one of the oldest golf clubs in the country. The course is situated on Mount Desert Island, bordering Acadia National Park and just five minutes from downtown Bar Harbor. Throughout its long history, notable names including Harry Vardon, Walter Hagen and President Willliam Taft have all played the track. In 1911, President Taft played Kebo and carded a 27 on the 17th hole, which is now affectionately known as the "Taft" hole. In 1922, Walter Hagen played Kebo twice, first carding an even-par 70 before firing a three-under 67, which stood as the course record for 50 years. By modern standards, Kebo is a short course, but it is protected by very small, undulating greens that often roll true and fast. With beautiful views of nearby Cadillac and Dorr Mountain, Kebo is an enjoyable walk and pairs well with a visit to Acadia National Park.
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7. (1) Sunday River Golf Club
3.8
27 Panelists
Overlooking a valley and set amongst the Appalachians, Sunday River is similar in aesthetics to Sugarloaf, another top Maine ski resort that offers a scenic mountain course. Yet Sunday River plays to more generous landing areas than the relentless Loaf, making it the gentler sibling that still delivers scenic mountain vistas. This Robert Trent Jones Jr. design is a bit of a trek from many popular coastal Maine destinations but consider the drive through the mountains and tiny villages part of the appeal. To play Sunday River in late September, with the foliage on full display, is one of the best mountain golf experiences in the Northeast.
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