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Happy Fall Y’all!

As the 2019 golf season winds down here in Maine, it’s a good time to bring everyone up-to-date about what’s happening at Hidden Meadows Golf Course.

This coming Saturday we are having our annual season-ending Haunted Golf Ball 5-Person Yellow Ball Scramble. In this format, four players on the team play a scramble, one player on the team plays the yellow ball. You combine the scramble score with the yellow ball score on each hole for the team score. The yellow ball rotates to a different team member each hole.

The cost is $10 per player for members, $20 per player for non-members. Carts are $12 per seat. We have room for two more teams. For more details about this tournament, click on this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/385245698829059/

As I’m sure everyone is painfully aware of, this has been one of the wettest year’s on record in the greater Bangor area. In August alone we had 12 inches of rain. Average is less than one inch. As a result, the course and cart paths have taken a beating this season.

We already had plans to clean out all of our drainage ditches this fall. While we are doing that, we are going to add some additional drainage to the course, particularly on the fairways of #1, #5, #6 and #9. We have also added a cart path on the right side of the 5th fairway, and are in the process of adding a cart path on the left side of the 6th fairway as well as to the left of #6 green.

All of this will help to re-direct water and re-direct cart traffic, which will in turn give us a chance to fill in the low spots and add drainage to these areas of the course. Weather permitting, we should be able to get a lot of this done this fall, which in turn will put us in a better position for the spring of 2020.

This has, unfortunately, pushed back our scheduled opening of the new tee and green on #4. While the new green is ready to go, the new tee is only about half way done. Conditions have been so wet that we haven’t been able to safely move dirt from where we mine it next to #5 fairway without tearing up the course. Once things get dry enough to be able to start moving fill again, we’ll get that project finished. We are hoping (and keeping our fingers crossed) to have it ready to go and open early next summer.

We have acquired 10 new carts this fall, so we now have several of our 2010 Club Car Precedent gas carts for sale. They are $2,600 plus tax. As an added value, we will offer free storage for this coming winter, and will include trail fees and storage for the 2020 season. We have already sold four out of the 10 we have available, so if you are interested don’t wait too long. Contact Rob or Joe for more details.

As many of you already know, this past spring we entered into a 10-year lease agreement with Kitsap County Washington for Village Greens Golf Course, an 18-hole executive course located in Port Orchard, WA, about an hour west of Seattle on the Puget Sound. While our initial plans were to only be involved as a semi-silent partner, it turned out to be quite a bit more than that. Subsequently, Joe has been splitting time between the two courses this season.

If you are wondering how in the heck we got involved with a course out in the state of Washington, here’s the short version:

Joe grew up in Bremerton, WA, which is a 15-minute drive from Port Orchard. He took his first golf lesson at Village Greens in 1966, when he was 6-years-old. He got his first job as an assistant golf professional at Village Greens in 1982, and worked there for 2 ½ years.

Joe’s freshman year of high school at West High School in Bremerton, WA.

Village Greens is owned and operated by Kitsap County. Over the past several years, the county lost more than $500,000 on the course. Even though most courses in western Washington stay open year-round, the county had been closing the course at the end of October the past several years, then re-opening the first or second week of April, to help reduce expenses. This past spring, they decided to permanently close the course.

When Joe caught wind of this in late March through social media, he made some calls to try to hastily form a golf course management group. While the management group didn’t quite form as hoped, Joe was able to secure a lease on the course and get it opened back up by Memorial Day weekend.

Initially Joe planned to spend one week per month at Village Greens, and thee weeks per month at Hidden Meadows. That changed a little bit because of the weather here in Maine this year, and he ended up being at Hidden Meadows for the entire months of September and October. Joe will be heading out to Washington for the month of November and will be splitting time between the two courses throughout the winter.

It’s difficult enough running one golf course, much less two, especially since they couldn’t be much further apart geographically. So for the 2020 season, Andrew McDade will be returning to run the day-to-day business at Hidden Meadows. Andrew worked for us during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, so he is familiar with the golf course and many of you.

Chad Armell will remain our Green Superintendent and Jim Gaouette will remain Chad’s assistant. Garry, Cole, Harrison and Bernard will continue to work on our grounds maintenance crew. Sue, Kristy, Linda, Jacob, Sam, Bryce and Willem will continue to work in the clubhouse. Joe and Rob will be splitting time between the two courses.

If you are wondering how this will affect Hidden Meadows, outside of seeing Joe and Rob a little bit less, there will be little to no differences in the day to day operation of the facilities. And you will continue to see improvements on the golf course, and we will continue to invest in the property and community just like you have every year.

Additionally, your membership at Hidden Meadows includes a full membership at Village Greens. Range balls and power cart rentals are included with the Village Greens portion of your membership. While we understand that most of you won’t spend a whole lot of time out in Washington, these benefits are available if you happen to be in the area.

The last thing we need to address is a question, and a rumor, that we’ve been hearing very frequently: Are we planning on selling Hidden Meadows Golf Course? Absolutely not. We’ve just finished our 10th season here and have no intention to sell the course. While everyone has their price for anything and everything, it’s not something we foresee doing in the near or distant future.

If you are interested in learning a little bit more about Village Greens Golf Course, below is a link to the Facebook page, followed by a link to a news story that was on a local TV station there last month:

https://www.facebook.com/golfvillagegreens/

Sunday, November 3rd will be the last day we’re open for the season, so we’ve still got some great fall golf weather to look forward to. Make sure to get out for a few more rounds of before the winter sets in.  And make sure to check out some of the great year-end specials we have going in the pro shop.