Pardon the pun, but Fox Ridge is attempting to outfox the golf industry.

The Auburn course, which opened in 2001, is experiencing the numbers/players shortages of many semi-private golf courses throughout the nation. The Fox Ridge answer to this problem, in part, is to expand on the standard of methods of attracting more golfers with reduced rates.

On its first five holes for the past two months, Fox Ridge has eight-inch cups in addition to the regulation 4¼-inch cups. These primarily are used on Sunday for its “Fab 5” package, which is an afternoon event dubbed “Family Day” — kids accompanied by adults play for free while the adults pay $10 on the first five holes

“I think it is going to work,” veteran head pro Bob Darling said. “It can’t hurt. We’re trying to make the game more fun for beginners and children.”

There also are gold tees on those holes which make them par-3 length. And if the larger cups catch on, there is talk of doing it on every front nine hole, with the possibility of a nine-hole tournament at the end of the season

Fox Ridge superintendent, Ed Michaud, another Maine veteran of numerous golf seasons, said he has seen some single-digit golfers try putting on the first five holes, where the eight-inch cups are located in out of the way positions.


“They found it’s not as easy as it looks,” said Michaud, who has done a superb job of restoring the Fox Ridge greens after the past winter did massive damage to them.

Darling agreed.

“Scratch players chuckled at this,” he said. “So they played them for fun and found that these pins, on the sides of the greens, were tricky to get to.” .

There are First Tee of Maine days at Fox Ridge, which attract youngsters from throughout the tri-county area, some of whom are pretty good golfers.

“They were here three weeks ago,” Darling said. “It was a challenge for them.”

Initially, it was believed that Fox Ridge was the only club in the area to have enlarged cups, but the course at the Bethel Inn Resort is getting into the act. Today at 3 p.m. Bethel is conducting a nine-hole scramble with all nine cups being 15 inches in diameter. Tomorrow, there will be 15-inch cups on all 18 holes.


Player feedback will determine if Bethel continues this program.

At Point Sebago, course manager/head pro Mike Cloutier said his course has standard cups on all 18 holes,

“But we might explore larger cups later in the season,” he said.

Summed up, do not be surprised if other courses follow suit. The thinking would be that the speed of play could improve for beginners and children putting at the enlarged cups, and the putting success ratio would encourage them to want to play more often.

Golf cannot afford to have people — particularly children — walking away from the game, claiming it is too hard for them. And the placement of the enlarged cups generally would be in spots which do not interfere with golfers putting at the standard cups..

This would seem to have a chance of being a win – win situation on the golf course.



Aug. 18: Martindale  Sr. Tour

Aug. 18: Ledgemont (R.I.)  New England Jr. Championship

Aug. 19: Waterville  Midweek Special

Aug. 20-21: Springbrook  Weekly


Aug. 18-19:  Natanis  JDM Open Championship

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