Poland Spring has the distinction of being one of Maine’s historic golf courses and one of its finest destinations. The resort’s museum, chapel, and inn, with other buildings, could be said to separate it from other courses, as well.

Bill Kennedy, Golf Columnist

Because of an energetic woman — Karen Nichols — Poland Spring has a new reason for being unique. Nichols, a retired middle school teacher (10 years in Turner and another 25 in Minot), began a women’s golf league at Poland Spring in 2015, and in those days the attendance was around 36. That number has grown to 154, with more women ready to join the group. By far, this is the largest women’s golf league in Maine, and it ranks up there nationally.By far, this is the largest women’s golf league in Maine, and it ranks up there nationally.

“I feel like a rock star,” Nichols said of the fact that a bunch of women just looking to play nine holes of golf has grown to the point where Poland Spring puts 34 foursomes onto its course, with 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. shotgun tee times on Tuesdays, with another four foursomes on Mondays.

If you do the math, that tells you 152 players are able to participate each week.

“We need more tee time,” Nichols said, pointing out that Poland Spring currently is running a women’s golf clinic for 20-plus players, many of whom have expressed interest in joining the league. With Poland Spring golf pro John King, there is a strong relationship, which Nichols says helps her to handle the league’s growing numbers.

“I’m blessed,” Nichols said of the league’s popularity.


Another reason the league has boomed is its philosophy.

“It’s the social aspect,” Nichols said of the weekly field which ranges in age from 12 to 90. It also could be described as a league which puts no pressure on its players, recording only gross scores, and making no presentations to winners, or the women with the longest drives or closest to the pin holes. A season-ending dinner is held in the fall, but there are no awards.

Clearly, this league is not for intense competitors, but Nichols firmly believes that this is part of its charm. “No one is concerned about net scores. They get their names in the newspaper,” she said of The Sun Journal’s regular golf scores/results, “and that is good enough.”

The only worry about this being a weekly social event is the pace of play. So, the league has a “no talking” policy, which keeps each group moving.

If you do not believe that this league is successful because of Nichols, then play the course some time. On Fridays and Saturdays, and during special events, she drives the beverage cart. If there is a more energetic and congenial “cart gal” than Karen Nichols, we would like to meet her.



The Maine State Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship concludes Sunday at Point Sebago. In the meantime, there are five Maine Amateur qualifiers being held this month, with a maximum of 78 golfers attempting to make it to the July 11-13 Maine Amateur Championship at Samoset Resort. The first of those is June 8 at Biddeford-Saco.


The MSGA’s weekly schedule of Play Days includes men’s competition June 6 at Spring Meadows. Another men’s Play Day will be June 9 at Webhannet.

Women will have their weekly two-site and separate tournaments June 6 at Val Halla and Hermon Meadows.

The popular Parent/Child Championship is to be held June 11 at Willowdale.

Bill Kennedy, a retired New Jersey golf writer and editor now residing on Thompson Lake in Otisfield, is in his 11th season as Sun Journal golf columnist.

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