From left: Jake Bottcher, Trevor Dolbier, Abi Madrid, and Isabelle Whittier

The Rangeley Lakes High school Golf Team won the East-West Conference Championship for the 3rd year in a row, on September 29, at Lakewood Golf Course, with a combined score of 342 (top three golfers). The team, led by captain Trevor Dolbier, along with veteran junior Isabelle Whittier, and rookies, senior Abi Madrid and freshman Jake Bottcher, competed against Forest Hills and Valley. The team did not qualify for the Maine State Championship with an overall score of 499; however, Dolbier scored an 82 to earn his way into the individual State Championship.

Class D competes with Class C golfers from St. Dom’s, Dirigo, Kent’s Hill, Waynflete, etc. This year, Dolbier was the lone Class D golfer. The championship was held at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro, on October 9. Conditions were ideal with a dry 60-degrees and sunshine throughout the day. Trevor was paired with a senior from Dirigo and a sophomore from Washington Academy.

Natanis has two 18-hole courses, with Tomahawk reserved for Class A and Class B. It was a shotgun start at 11 a.m. Dolbier’s group began back-to-back on the two hardest handicapped holes on the Arrowhead course, numbers 15 and 16. Trevor bogied these holes and then followed up with an eagle on #17’s par-5, planting his second shot 6 inches from the hole, and then followed up with a par, birdie, double bogey, bogey, and then his second eagle of the day, dropping a 6-foot putt, to return to even par. He kept his ball in play on every hole, hitting a long ball that usually found its mark. His putting cost him a few unnecessary strokes but his mental stamina never wavered, and he ended the day with a  9-over par 81, 11 strokes better than his previous year’s score at States, and the best score of any past Rangeley golfer.

Abi Madrid

Members of his threesome helped each other look for errant shots, encouraged one another, and spoke about some of their experiences outside of the match. There was camaraderie and sincere sportsmanship between them. And after the final putt was sunk and the flag replaced, spectators applauded and the boys shook hands. This is golf, playing alone together. The senior from Dirigo finished with a 4-over 76, placing fourth, and the sophomore from Washington Academy shot a 12-over 84, tying for 16th place.

Trevor played for the first time as a youngster, and as he amusingly tells it, got hit by a ball and didn’t play again for years until 8th grade. Golf is a tough sport. There’s no one to blame but yourself, whether you play poorly or play well. It takes dedication, resilience, coordination, strength, respect, zen-like vision, innumerable hours of practice, good etiquette, stamina, humor, self-confidence, humility, and a deep abiding love for this sport that is hundreds of years old. It’s not for everyone. It will test the best of us. You have good rounds and you have not-so-good rounds, but the worst day on the golf course beats the best day in the office.

East-West Golf (Forest Hills, Valley, Rangeley)

I coached Trevor his 8th-grade year, then Sean Danforth coached him his freshman and sophomore years. Returning to coach the four Rangeley kids this year, and sharing my love for the game, has been a blast and an honor for me: No drama, no injuries, regular exercise in the outdoors, teaching a game the kids can play for the rest of their lives. Support golf and encourage kids to get involved. Golf demands you become a better human and what’s wrong with that. Thanks for the great season, Trevor, Isabelle, Jacob, and Abi. Good luck next year. Fore!

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