Three central and eastern Maine golf courses are participating in a PGA of America-sponsored program called Get Golf Ready in 5 Days as a way to help bring more players to the game on a regular basis.
It’s a program “to get golfers who have played once, been to a driving range or never [played] to get involved,” said Mike Dugas, co-owner, manager and golf pro at J.W. Parks in Pittsfield.
“The number of new players has leveled off,” said Dugas, “and the number of retained players has dropped slightly.”
The other golf courses participating are Bangor Municipal Golf Course and Castine Golf Club.
“It’s pretty comprehensive,” said Bangor Muni assistant pro Rob Jarvis about the program.
“It’s not just hitting balls,” said Dugas.
It will cover swing instruction but also the history of the game, attire, rules, etiquette and more, including “why the scorecard looks like it does,” said Dugas.
“With each program in the series, we talk about how the rules apply to that lesson plan,” said Dugas.
The clubs can set up their own plan schedule within the framework of the program.
The sessions include on-course activities, and J.W. Parks and Bangor have scheduled graduate outings for the participants.
At Castine, pro Bob Flanders will hold his sessions Fridays from 3-4 p.m. starting May 22.
Jarvis, along with PGA apprentice Shawn Dennis, is conducting three programs throughout the spring and summer. The first starts Tuesday with two sessions a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-7 p.m. The others begin June 9 and July 7.
Dugas also will run three sessions, but target a specific group with each one. Seniors (50 or older) will go at 9 a.m. Tuesdays starting May 26. Women will go at 6 p.m. Wednesdays starting May 27, and a junior series is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesdays starting June 24.
Jarvis has about a dozen people signed up for his first session and about half a dozen for the second.
“We can take up to 20,” said Jarvis.
Dugas is planning for about 10 per group.
“The women’s is almost full,” he said.
And the program isn’t necessarily designed to make more competitive golfers.
“I think you’ll find with the seniors at my club, they’re always looking for someone to play with,” Dugas said. “It’s more the social aspect.”
He is working on making J.W. Parks more family friendly.
“When more golf courses are family friendly, they’ll retain more golfers,” he said. “We’re steadily working toward that.”
The fee for the Get Golf Ready program as suggested by the PGA is $99 for the five lessons. Dugas is charging $89, while Jarvis is charging $85.
For more information or to sign up, call Castine Golf Club at 326-8844, Bangor Municipal Golf Course at 941-0232 or J.W. Parks Golf Course at 487-5545 or go online at www.playgolfamerica.com/ggr.
Bunyan adding MSGA points
The Maine State Golf Association is adding the Harris Golf Co. Paul Bunyan Amateur Golf Tournament to its player of the year points schedule.
“Anything we can do to help one of the oldest tournaments in the state, we will,” said MSGA Executive Director Nancy Storey.
The 45th annual Bunyan is set for June 6-7 at Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono and Kebo Valley Golf Club in Bar Harbor.
The tournament was almost eliminated this year because of the loss of the previous sponsor, Whited Ford.
The Harris Co., which owns PVCC and a number of other golf facilities in Maine, stepped in to keep it going and asked the MSGA about joining the points program.
The MSGA board recently approved it, said Storey.
The number of points available, according to Storey, will depend on the number of players.
Last year, approximately 220 people played, which would give 25 points to the winner, then 20, 15, 10, and 5 for the next four.
If more than 240 play, then it likely would be 30-25-20-15-10-5.
“We might double it for a two-day tournament,” Storey added.
In return, the MSGA raises its visibility.
“It gives us an opportunity to promote the MSGA to people who don’t know us,” said Storey.
It may be just the beginning for the MSGA.
“I think in the future you’ll find we’re going to work collectively with other groups,” she said. “We all have to work together.”