The Great Chebeague Golf Club’s slogan reads: “Once you’ve golfed on an island, you’ll never be the same again.”
It’s simple, albeit out of date, but whoever wrote it isn’t entirely wrong in the assertion. Once you’ve played the only song on Chebeague Island, you should to be a changed golfer. It should change the way you see golf courses.
As the third stop on a four course excursion to the greater Portland, Maine area, my colleagues and I weren’t pretending this 9 hole was going to change our lives. Especially not when we got on the first ferry of the day alongside the local lobster boats. The first boat from Cousins Island to Chebeague Island leaves at 6:15 am, but the next stop before two hours. Plan ahead and plan early.
It’s not a car ferry, but it doesn’t have to be for golfers. The course is literally steps from the boat. The 7th tee at Great Chebeague is maybe 100 yards from the cockpit, on the edge of the pier, in the form of two practice mats. We had never seen a T-shirt like this.
This 7th tee is the perfect introduction to Great Chebeague, which is the epitome of golf that is much different. Not radically different. Just different enough for a double take. Like the way a road crosses the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th holes. Straight through them. And a road necessary for that! Local rules were created with the road in mind.
At the 1st, a par 4 of 266 yards, it is mandatory that golfers play off the road. It is the rule. Do not tempt fate, nor the starter. At the 2nd hole, with a wider view of potential traffic, you can bombard your way. On the 4th, same thing. But on the 5th, you almost always think about the road.
The road crosses the 5th hole about 270 yards from the tee, which is usually not a problem on the first shot, but plenty to think about on the second. The hole is 384 yards, so it’s a pretty full uphill shot of 140 yards from the layup area. No big deal at 8 am, when there are no cars parked on the path. But at 10 a.m., when an SUV lineup rolls into your golfer’s psyche, a thinned shot has never been more expensive. (Maybe this is out of necessity, but we figured this was one way to combat distance gains in golf: stick a line of large, very breakable objects around the 300 mark. This will force players to withdraw from the tee.)
The golf course architecture snob will laugh at a gadget like this, and the handful of others at Great Chebeague, but there’s a good chance they’ll never make it to this course anyway. way. The round-trip ticket costs $ 20 on its own, and the all-day game fee is $ 50. you must to want play this golf course to get the most out of it. But from the appearance of the grounds on a Wednesday morning in August, a lot of people to want to play on this golf course. The ferry works its magic this way. We’re never far enough away to forget how we got to this golf course. You are playing a special brand of this game, probably unlike anything you have ever played before. And they have even more local rules to help them. Those scared of the line of cars and the road in two can take a one-time transfer fee and play on the other side. Note this according to the best local rules ever.
As such, Great Chebeague seemed like the perfect place to learn the game. A place where some rules are bent permanently, and others are bent temporarily. Do your best and see how it works. The course record is 60 (30-30 with an ace) and it hasn’t been broken for 70 years. That 7th hole, played from the ferry dock? What awaits you is a green so small it feels unfair. Do with it. The differences between Chebeague and continental golf are also not about greens, fairways and roads. The best local rule of all is a proximity advantage: residents play for free after 5 p.m. We love it. We love it all.
Check out more of our lovely trip to Maine, including a visit to Cape Arundel, Belgrade Lakes and Boothbay Harbor in the video below.