Do not tell Keegan Fennessy about the Thomas Wolfe expression “you can’t go home again,” because that is exactly what he has done with his life as a teaching golf professional.

Fennessy, 32, graduated from Poland Regional High School in 2006. He was Poland’s No. 1 player on its golf team for four years, during which the Knights went undefeated for three seasons, 2003-2005. He also played varsity basketball as a shooting guard, and was a varsity baseball pitcher.

Bill Kennedy, Golf Columnist

Golf, however, was his passion, so he worked at Pt. Sebago as an assistant pro after high school. He then went to Florida, where he played on the Hooters Tour 2009-2011. Following that playing experience, he worked 2010-12 as an assistant pro at the Mission Inn, located at Howie-on-the-Hill, Florida. From 2012 to 2014 he was at Gary Gilchrest’s academy teaching golf in Lake Mary, Florida, and from 2016 to 2019 he was doing more teaching at Bishop’s Gate Golf Academy in Howie-on-the-Hill, Florida.

During his time in Florida, he worked with PGA Tour players D.A. Points and Charles Howell III, plus LPGA players Yani Tseng and Vicky Hurst.

Fennessy kept in touch with Maine golf, and in 2019 he heard about some promising job openings in Maine, which caused him to return to “Vacationland.” He was giving lessons at Summit Spring Golf Course in Poland, when owner Steve Kinney offered him the job of being head pro there, something Fennessy saw as an opportunity.

Summit Spring was purchased by Kinney in 2014, and he has made numerous upgrades to that historic course, which opened in 1899. Fennessy also has ideas.

“The goal is to upscale the Summit Spring experience,” Fennessy said, pointing out that one of those upscales is tee times, which the course has for members and non-members. “We still accept walk-ins, but we encourage our players to schedule tee times.”

Summit Spring expects to open a practice range to the public by the end of June. Also new at the course is “locals night” 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays. Special drinks and entertainment will highlight those twilight hours. In addition, there is a disc-golf layout at Summit Spring. Hundreds of trees were removed from Summit Spring three years ago, and the course is in the process of replanting some, and it has a new cartpath on the first hole.

So, things are happening at Summit Spring, where there is a local pro who is full of the energy he demonstrated as a scholastic player when he won the 2005 Class B state championship at Natanis, and captured the William B. Chevrie Award for the lowest stroke high school average in the Western Maine Conference.

*****

Among the 26 golfers who qualified June 15 at Fox Ridge for the 102nd Maine Amateur Championship were 12 members of area clubs, including Steve Holt of Point Sebago, who was the medalist by shooting 70.

Others who qualified for the July 13-15 State Amateur at Kebo Valley: Nathan Gould and Jace Pearson, both of Martindale, tied for fourth with scores of 73, while Chris Cloutier of Fairlawn, Craig Chapman of Fox Ridge and Matthew Oullette of Martindale tied for sixth by shooting 74.

In addition, Joe Bryant of Fairlawn tied for 11th with a 75, Matthew Simard of Martindale and Cameron Marquis of Fox Ridge tied for 18th by recording a 77, and Gary Caiani of Fox Ridge, Larry Ross of Poland Spring and Don Flanagan of Spring Brook shot 78 to tie for 22nd.

*****

The Maine State Golf Association schedule for the week includes a men’s “play day” June 25-26 at Lake Kezar, and a women’s “play day” June 21-22 at Metropolitan Brunswick. The men’s senior four-ball championship will be June 22 at Poland Spring, and the child-parent championship has been set for June 27 at Springbrook.

Bill Kennedy, a retired New Jersey golf writer and editor now residing on Thompson Lake in Otisfield, is in his ninth season as Sun Journal golf columnist.


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