For 48 years, a member of the Golden Family has owned Springbrook Golf Club on route 202 in Leeds. The course is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary season and has been in the hands of Jeannine and Joe Golden since 1985.

Jeannine’s father, Shirley Hamel, and his partner Pat Good bought the course in 1968, two years after it first opened.

The course was designed by Al Biondi and Dr. Burton Anderson after they bought Spring Brook Farm, which at the time was a dairy farm. Biondi, as the owner, would do the heavy lifting as he built the course after the layout had been designed.

“Jeannine started working here when she was 14 years old,” Joe Golden said. “I think she got paid a dollar-twelve-and-a-half. It was that long ago, but it’s been kind of unique in the fact that she’s the actual owner of the course. There’s not a lot of women that own golf courses.”

It’s been a family business. Joe and Jeannine’s three children have worked at the course at some point or another.

“Jared is the youngest, he’s state legislature for Lewiston,” Golden said. “The oldest is Seth, and in the middle is Ashley, our daughter. She’s works for the (district attorney’s) office, but she works for us part-time. So it’s a family affair.”

Jared works during the summer months.

While the family bought it from Al Biondi, he stayed on as the golf pro until 1977 when he left for the Augusta Country Club, where he went to be the Director of Golf and General Manager. Prior to building Springbrook, he was the pro at Augusta from 1967-65.

He worked at Augusta until 1999, and was the Pro and GM at Kennebec Heights until 2002. In 2003, he returned to Springbrook. He died in November 2005

Biondi was a legendary figure for the sport in the state, as he served as Maine Professional Golfers Association president for 12 years and the director of the organization for 18 years. He served as the vice president of the New England Professional Golfers Association for 21 years. He had over 200 victories in MPGA and NEPGA events in the state, including MPGA Champion from 1968-71, and was the MPGA Senior Champion 15 times. He qualified for the Senior PGA Championship seven times.

Biondi was inducted in the Maine Golf Hall of Fame in 1995, New England Professional Golfers Association Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

“He’s really a legend in golf in Maine,” Golden said. “I don’t think there’s anybody in the golf business that didn’t know him, or golfers that didn’t know him. He’s legendary to say the least.”

Another person who helped create Springbrook was Kyle Evans.

“Jeannine’s father, a year before he passed away, had hired Kyle Evans, who’s now one of the owners of Belgrade, was hired to be a superintendent,” Golden said. “That was really a turning point; he was out of college and he did an outstanding job. Jeannine’s father had booked the Maine Open for three seasons. From that (came) a lot of positive changes to the course. We just sort of built on that ever since.”

The course hosted hosted the Maine Open from 1984-86, with Dana Quigley winning in 84, Jeff Lewis in 85 and Mike Colandro in 86. It also hosted the 2002 Maine Amateur, and the Maine Senior Amateur Championship in 1978.

Golden said hosting the Maine Open helped build some more tee boxes on the course. They started building forward tee boxes for women, as they only had back tees and everybody had to play from the back tees.

The course is currently at 6,383 yards from the tips and 4,752 yards from the front tees. The blue and black tees play as a par-71 course, while the green (forward) tees play as a par-73.

“Kyle also did some things like grooming that really made it a golf course,” Golden said. “He was so successful, he ended up at Waterville Country Club and ended up as partner with Harold Alfond in building Belgrade.”

There are only two people that have been members of the golf course for all 50 years: Jeannine and Pennie Paige Cummings of Lewiston, who was inducted into the Maine Golf Hall of Fame in 1995. She won the Maine Women’s Golf Association Championship seven times.

Overall the membership has been very good for the club.

“We got a very active membership and they are great people that are interested in participating,” Golden said. “As a result of that, we have a full schedule for them every weekend, Saturday and Sunday there’s something going on. It involves both men and women. It’s been good. That’s another change that has been built over the years.”

They offer men’s twilight league, a senior league, mixed league and women’s league.

Golden said play can get competitive, but it remains fun and there’s a lot of camaraderie between the members. He said tournaments on the weekends have between 40 and 50 players.

What’s next for the club?

“One thing we are trying to focus on is trying to get juniors in the game,” Golden said. “As you know, there’s a downturn in the golf industry. A lot of young people aren’t playing and there’s a lot of different reasons, one being economic. They are graduating from college for the first time heavily in debt and that’s changed things. Also a lot of them are doing other athletic-type things.”

Springbook has junior clinics that run in June, and there are members that bring their grandchildren.

The course isn’t having any big celebrations celebrating the 50-year milestone, but it is offering an anniversary chip when patrons pay their green fees. The chip is a discount towards their next green fee. Golden said that has been a popular item.

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