BANGOR — A change in the dress code for the 45th Greater Bangor Open golf tournament has shocked many of the pros who have been playing there.
Bangor Municipal Golf Course head pro Brian Enman and GBO president and Bangor assistant pro Rob Jarvis have allowed all players, pros and amateurs alike, to wear shorts during the GBO.
For the first 44 years of the GBO, long pants were the order of the day.
Many of the pros took advantage of the change, which came as a surprise to most of them. They were expecting to still have to wear long pants, even with the extreme heat that officially reached 95 degrees Friday.
“I have always thought we should have been allowed to wear shorts,” said Rich Parker, winner of the 1988 GBO.
“I pushed for years to get that changed, and it never happened,” he said. “I called ahead this year to check if they were allowing shorts and they said no.”
On Thursday, the answer was yes, but Parker’s short pants were in his hotel room when he arrived at Bangor Muni, so he played in his long pants.
Friday, he was wearing shorts.
“We should have been allowed to wear bikinis today,” stated Parker. “Anybody who wore pants today needs a drug test.”
Eric Egloff of Sandy Spring, Md., winner of the 1995 GBO, was in agreement with Parker.
“It’s great, I love it. I hope it becomes another tradition for the GBO,” said Egloff.
There were the traditionalists, though, who were appalled.
“I don’t like any part of it,” said Kerry Johnston of Indio, Calif., who first played in the GBO in 1980 when Austin Kelly was head pro and determined the dress code.
“Austin would be spinning in his grave,” said Johnston.
Johnston pointed out that he wore shorts when he was an amateur, but changed when he took it up as a career.
“When you turn pro, I believe you should act like a pro and look like it,” he stated. “That’s just a pet peeve of mine.”
He even recalled a charity tournament he conducted one year which included PGA Tour pro Jeff Gove, he said.
“Jeff showed up in shorts and I booted him off the course,” said Johnston. “I made him go get long pants.”
Jarvis said he heard a lot of thank-yous for the decision, but he did have one reservation.
“I expect next year to get a lot of phone calls asking if we’re allowing shorts,” Jarvis said. “This is only a one-year deal, so probably not.”
“Weather shouldn’t dictate it,” he said. “This is summer in Maine.”
Chris Howard was every player’s favorite person Friday. He was the one refilling the water jugs on the golf course.
“He started about 9:30,” said Enman. “We started him on the back nine and had him do the whole loop. When he came in, we filled him up and sent him around again.”
Howard did that until late in the afternoon.
“The players loved him. They were very appreciative of his efforts,” said Enman.
The back nine was definitely the tougher of the two sides during Friday’s round. The seven most difficult holes were on the back nine, according to statistics provided by the GBO.
The toughest hole was No. 12 with a 4.53 stroke average among the 95 golfers who played Friday. The next-toughest hole was No. 11 at 3.41, followed by No. 15 (4.39), No. 17 (4.31) and No. 18 (4.31). The 15th and 18th holes are converted from par 5s to par 4s for the GBO.
The easiest hole was No. 4, the only par 5 on the card, with a 4.79 stroke average. The fifth hole was next at 3.91.
Overall, the scoring average for the front nine (par 35) was 35.495, while the back nine (par 34) was 36.358. The total was 71.853, nearly three strokes above par.
There were only two eagles all day, by Mike Ballo of Stamford, Conn., with his 3 on No. 2 and by Matt Parziale of Brockton, Mass., with his deuce on No. 18.
There were 146 birdies on the front compared to 107 on the back, 142 bogeys on the front and 209 on the back, and 22 double bogeys and higher on the front and 50 on the back.