State reopens golf courses but many County links are not quite ready yet

HOULTON, Maine — Although May 1 marked the first day that golf courses in the state could officially open for the new season, most Aroostook County golf courses need a few more days to get things ready for action.


Some of those courses have also decided not to open their doors yet due to the COVID-19 pandemic that is gripping the state and country. The state has also asked that people only visit golf courses in the county they reside in. For Aroostook County residents, that means  a variety of courses to choose from, once they open.


Mike Fleming, course superintendent for the Houlton Country Club, said Monday that the Houlton course is in excellent condition and could be ready to open as soon as Friday, May 8.


“We have been able to start cleanup this week,” he said. “The course is really drying out, so this rain is appreciated. Greens suffered from winterkill this year, but I have put fertilizer on them today [Monday] to take advantage of the rain.”


Jamie York, president of the Houlton Country Club, said Friday that there will be stipulations on how the club operates during the start-up phase. 


“Club carts will be limited to one person and cups will be cut above the surface of the green to avoid everyone touching the cup and flag,” he explained. “If your ball hits the cup, it’s considered holed.”


The Houlton clubhouse will not be open at first, but officials hope that will change in the coming weeks. Carts will be available as soon as conditions permit.


Stephen Leitch of the Aroostook Valley Country Club said the Fort Fairfield course made it through the winter “exceptionally well” this year.


“If we were to open today it is dry enough for carts to be on our course and all putting surfaces are in good shape,” Leitch said. “We do not have an opening date as of yet because of the many issues that revolve around COVID-19 and the implications on how procedures will be implemented.”


Attempts to gather information for the Presque Isle Country Club, Caribou Country Club, Fort Kent Golf Club, VaJoWa Golf Course in Island Falls, and Long Lake Country Club were not successful by presstime.


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