Jason Millard, left, poses with Charlie Shuman after winning the 2019 Charlie’s Maine Open in Manchester. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

One of the marquee events on the Maine State Golf Association calendar is canceled.

On Thursday, the Charlie’s Maine Open which was set for June 30-July 1 at Augusta Country Club, was put on the shelf for 2020 because of the coronavirus and the mandatory 14-day quarantines for people coming from out of state.

“We didn’t hold off on it. We could have,” MSGA Executive Director Brian Bickford said of canceling the Maine Open. “A couple of things happened; one is a lot of events are getting pushed back. It’s always conversation between the clubs that host and the existing schedule and what the governor is projecting the 14-day quarantine. My recollection is the 14-day is through August. For (Janet Mills) to peel it back a week later would be a big snafu.”

Bickford said the MSGA is looking at a “closed” or “invitational-like”  tournament that will be for Maine residents to replace the Maine Open.

Jason Millard is congratulated after winning the 2019 Charlie’s Maine Open last August in Manchester. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

The MSGA was looking forward to the second year of the Maine Open being open to women. Last year, Ruby Haylock and Rachel Smith competed, with Smith winning by one stroke.

“Our goal was to get to a point where all the top players in the state would play in (the Maine Open),” Bickford said. “The women… don’t run a lot of championships. They basically run the Maine Amateur and they have an event called the Metropolitan which is like a club team (championship). The men run about 42 championships. … With the merger of the men’s and ladies (golf associations) we thought it would be neat if we could have more in that championship category.”

Bickford was hoping for the women’s field to grow to 10 competitors this year after reaching out to professionals across the state and players from out of the state.

The women also lost the Ladies Tri-State tournament which pits golfers from Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Originally scheduled for June in Vermont, it has also been canceled.

The MSGA is postponing the men’s Club Team and Senior Club Team Championships, which will be rescheduled to September 27 and 28 at Belgrade Lakes, respectively. The Mid-Amateur Championship will be rescheduled to September 25 and 26 at Webhannet.

MSGA Play Days will also run on September 25 and 26 at Waterville for those not playing in the Mid-Amateur. Brunswick will replace the June 5 and 6 dates vacated by the Mid-Amateur.

The MSGA is also trying not to interfere with individual club championships that usually run in September, Bickford said.

“We butt up against a lot of things in September and I used to joke September is the new August,” Bickford said. “Maybe it’s because I am older now, but it seems like there’s more activity golf-related, the weather is awesome, there’s no bugs, it’s not swampy under your foot, the leaves are changing a little bit, it’s a great time of year to play golf.

As of right now, no decision has been made on the Men’s and Women’s Amateurs. The men are scheduled for Biddeford-Saco Country Club July 7-9 while the women are slated for Augusta July 22-24.

“Our (men) qualifiers are in June and we have a Plan A, B, C and maybe a plan D,” Bickford said.

The men qualifiers are scheduled for June 9 at Willowdale, June 11 at Brunswick Golf Club, June 16 at Poland Spring and June 18 at Bangor Municipal Golf Club. The Women’s Amateur does not have qualifiers for the tournament.

LEAGUES ALREADY HAVE BEGUN

Neil Douglas, left, of Auburn and Eric Roy of Lewiston bump elbows after playing nine holes of golf at Apple Valley Golf Course in Lewiston last Friday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

While the MSGA has postponed and canceled their events through May and some championships in June, area courses have decided to let leagues begin.

Courses that have begun league play or will be begin soon include Apple Valley, Fox Ridge, Martindale and the Meadows.

Of course, leagues will still have to abide by the social distancing rules the state has put in place for golf courses.

We plan to have leagues with significant modifications,” The Meadows owner Randall Anderson said in an email. “No shotgun starts, tee times only. All the same restrictions as per normal play. (Players) entering scores in their own phone. (There will be) no congregating before or after rounds.”

TIMESHARES AND THE COUNTY RULE

There have been questions about the state’s county rule when it comes to golfers playing in the county where they live.

One common question involves whether a Mainer owns a timeshare at a resort that has a golf course but doesn’t live full-time in the county could still play the course.

The MSGA believes it’s okay for Mainers to go play the resort’s course.

“If you live in Maine, but you own a timeshare like at the Samoset, you can go and play,” Bickford said. “(The state) is trying to keep people from coming out of state primarily or people going to our hot spot, Cumberland County. I guess you can argue going to (Rockland) is potentially spreading the virus. I think we are trying to discourage (that) but not absolutely mandate (the county rule).”

Messages to the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development office weren’t returned regarding timeshares and playing the resort’s course.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: