The Loop

A Mainely Great Idea

August 12, 2007

There was not a great deal of golf in our Maine family vacation, but we played one round and wished we'd played another. The round we played: Point Sebago Resort, a sturdy, natural-looking layout, a little rough around the edges, close to Sebago Lake, near Portland.

The one we wish we had: Clinton Golf Course, a nine-hole track about 25 northeast of Augusta and south of Bangor. Here was its ad in the Bangor Times:

Clinton Golf Course Play at Your Own Pace

Tee Times Every 1/2 Hour>

Being a stickler for pace of play, that last line got my attention. I called and spoke to Brandy Brown, who with her husband, Mike, a coach at Maine Central Institute during the winter, runs the place. "Was that a misprint?" I asked. No, said, Brandy. "We try to give people a relaxing experience." And you really keep to pace? "We run into problems once in a while when we have someone playing 18 (and making the turn)," she said. "Then it may be more like 15 minutes. But for the most part it's half an hour."

The golf course opened in 1994 and was built by Brandy's in-laws, Paula and Steve Brown, a real estate exec who owned the land and loved golf. It was literally built by hand by the family and neighbors. In 2001, the Browns opened Clinton to the public. They encourage charity events, and give the course over to the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter once a year with all proceeds that day (and some others) going to the Shelter.

CGC is beautifully maintaind ("Some of the neighbors still work on it. Paula has planted gorgeous annual and perennial gardens," says Brandy) and is a haven for families and beginners who don't feel comfortable at some "big" courses. Still, whether you're accomplished or not, the pace of play is right: "It's about an hour and 45 minutes walking and a little faster by cart," says Brandy. The course measures 3265 yards for nine, 6400 yards, 18.

The price is also right: Nine holes, $25 walking, $35 riding; Eighteen holes, $50 walking, $70 riding.

That goes for weekdays or weekends. They want you to have a relaxing experience.

--Bob Carney