Hopkins graduated from Golf Academy of America in Altamonte Springs, Florida, where he earned his Associates Degree in Business Administration, Teaching Certification, Player Ability and Club Repair Certification, in 2008. After working at Freeport Country Club, Penobscot Valley in Orono, Purpoodock Golf Club in Cape Elizabeth as a head professional or assistant professional, he looked to set his sights on owning his own course.

He did that earlier this year by acquiring the first golf course he ever played on, Apple Valley, which is located on the Lewiston-Lisbon line. He also runs the Hopkins Golf Center in Brunswick.

Hopkins wanted to make the experience at the course more than just playing nine or 18 holes, and wanted to bring more events and new people to Lewiston’s only golf course.

“That membership core is only going to follow somebody, when I say somebody, I am not really talking about myself, but my staff and our goals,” Hopkins said. “If they believe in what you are you doing and they feel your passion, then they are going to want to be apart of it. I feel like especially the membership here has taken that pride and wanting to be apart of this.”

What has Hopkins brought to Apple Valley?

On July 23, the course hosted Little Joe’s Glow Ball Tournament, in which players play in darkness using golf balls that light up. While members participated, it also brought people who don’t have much experience with the sport.

“It’s something people enjoy doing, and we had a handful of golfers that don’t golf,” Hopkins said. “They are like, ‘I am not a golfer.’ I am like, ‘Do you enjoy fun? Do you enjoy laughing? Hey, glow golf could be for you.’

“You set it up in a way where it’s a scramble and they have somebody on their team who might be able to play a little bit of golf. It’s not so much about the score. You might swing and miss, as it’s dark. It’s another way we are trying to bring energy, some excitement, thinking outside the box.”

The team that won the Net event had a woman who was one of those players who had never played played the sport before.

Hopkins said it was also a perfect night, after it looked iffy as thunderstorms rolled through the area earlier in the day. The only person who did get wet was Hopkins, while he was getting the course setup for the tournament.

The 1994 Oak Hill graduate hopes to have another glow-ball tournament on Aug. 27.

Another event Hopkins has brought to the course is Battle Golf, which was held July 21. It’s a match-play format where the winner of each hole has the opportunity to remove a club from his opponent’s bag. The only club that wasn’t eligible to be removed was the putter.

It’s a game of strategy.

“I know in my match, my partner and I were up pretty big after three or four holes,” Hopkins said. “The team we were playing against ended up having an epic comeback with a lot less clubs in their bag. They played great golf the last few holes and ended up beating us on the last hole. It was a lot of fun.

“Again, it was an outside-the-box thinking. It was technically golf, but it was a very different approach to it, where if you don’t make this putt you know you are going to lose one of your favorite clubs in your bag. You know which one your opponent is taking from you.”

On Aug. 18, Apple Valley is teaming up with Sparetime Recreation for the Swing Pin Golf and Bowl Tournament. In the morning and afternoon, two-person teams will play an 18-hole scramble. In the evening the teams will head over to Sparetime for three games of nine-pin No Tap bowling.

On Wednesdays, there’s trivia night from 7:30 p.m.

Hopkins hopes that through these events more people will come back to the course.

“We don’t want people walking away here thinking, ‘It’s just another golf course and it’s just another option,'” Hopkins said. “We want this to be on the forefront of their minds.”

Another thing Hopkins has brought back to Apple Valley is junior golf clinics on Friday’s from 9 a.m.-noon, during which he has had anywhere from 90 to 115 kids each week.

“The game of golf, like any other sport, is all about the youth,” Hopkins said. “If you don’t involve the youth then what are we doing here? My goal is to get as many youth playing the game, period. Never mind just playing here.

“We are only charging 10 dollars for three hours. There’s moms and dads dropping off their kids going, ‘That’s less expensive than my daycare.’ The kids are coming out here enjoying themselves, they are learning a new sport, learning rules and golf etiquette.

“It’s an outdoor activity for only $10 for three hours. I don’t care if the kid owns clubs or not, bring them out here. We have plenty of clubs here.”

For more information on Apple Valley visit www.applevalleyme.com or call the clubhouse at (207) 784-9773.

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