COVID-19 has been a boon to the golf course business in 2021, and no one has seen this more clearly that Dave Pollard, the manager and partner at Spring Meadows.

“It has been an incredible year,” Pollard said. “I call it ‘the COVID effect.'”

Bill Kennedy, Golf Columnist

“This has been one of the best years ever,” added Pollard, referring to the 22 years he and his three brothers have owned Spring Meadows. ” COVID definitely has created more interest in golf.”

All of this has worked well for Spring Meadows and many other courses, even though July’s weather reduced the number of golf rounds that month. Pollard’s thoughts on his golf course probably represent the thinking of owners and managers of courses throughout Maine.

“COVID has changed the landscape of the golf industry,” he said, giving credit to the Spring Meadows staff for the 2021 success at the course.

A sign in the entrance of the Spring Meadows parking lot says: “Spring Meadows 2021 New England Course of the Year.”

The New England Golf Course Owners Association designated Spring Meadows for that award last November. That association has 200 course members, 18 from Maine, which means it that Spring Meadows had a lot of competition. It is the first time in 19 years that a Maine course has won the award.

“We were and are very humbled by that honor,” Pollard said.

He also notes that summer is drawing to a close and that his course will struggle to provide the services that have helped Spring Meadows have such a productive season. And, this time, he is not talking about the effects of COVID-19.

“Busy is good,” he said, “but there is the challenge of staffing.”

Schools and colleges are about to open, which means students will be unavailable to work. Then, in September and October, employees who work retirement jobs at Spring Meadows, may be heading south for the winter.

No one ever said the golf business is a cakewalk, particularly in Maine.

*****

Among the 94 players who finished the Maine Senior Amateur Championship Aug. 24-25 at Natanis Tomahawk, two area players made it to the top 20.

Mark Wilcox of Turner Highlands (74-80—154) tied for ninth place and Thomas Bean of Norway (76-79—155) was tied for 13th.

*****

Tony Finau’s Northern Trust championship Aug. 23 reminded this writer about an unusual feat performed by his caddie, Mark Urbanek.

At the TPC Sawgrass in 2017, while on the bag of James Hahn, during a practice round on the par-3 17th hole, Urbanek took a golf ball and threw it from the tee box to the island green on the fly.

Does that give Urbanek the distinction of having the strongest throwing arm among PGA Tour caddies? Probably.

*****

The Maine State Golf Association has men’s play days scheduled Sept. 3-4 at Norway. The women’s play day is Aug. 31 at Rocky Knoll. The women also are conducting an individual Stableford Aug. 31 at Sugarloaf.

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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