GOLF SCENE

Golfers like shorter distances from gold, orange tees at Hermon Meadow

John Snyer, owner of Hermon Meadow Golf Club, with clubhouse in background.
John Snyer, owner of Hermon Meadow Golf Club, with clubhouse in background. Buy Photo
Posted May 16, 2012, at 5:45 a.m.
John Snyer, owner of Hermon Meadow Golf Club, with new gold senior tees in foreground, along with red forward tees.
John Snyer, owner of Hermon Meadow Golf Club, with new gold senior tees in foreground, along with red forward tees. Buy Photo

HERMON, Maine — It’s not a new idea, putting in additional tee blocks to make a course more length-appropriate for certain groups of golfers.

Some clubs just might take longer to do it. Reality is all in the mind of the golfer, though, as John Snyer, who bought Hermon Meadow Golf Club last year, has discovered.

“I mentioned it to some of the older members and they were, like, that would be great,” he said.

Arthur Knapp of Bradley can be included in that group.

“I love them suckers,” the 87-year-old said Monday after shooting an 86 from the new gold tees that shorten the length of the holes.

“I … earned them,” he said emphatically.

The gold tees at Hermon are designed primarily for golfers age 70 or above. The usual tee colors are blue for the tees farthest back, white for the middle tees and red for the forward tees. Some clubs add one or more sets to make an even longer course.

The argument has been made that golfers who struggle to play from the white tees can move up to the red tees. At Hermon, that shortens the course from 5,895 yards to 5,151.

Snyer found that wasn’t happening for one major reason: When most of the seniors started playing golf, the red tees were called the ladies’ tees or the women’s tees.

“The seniors, they won’t play the reds. … And we know because they’ve always been the women’s tees,” Snyer said. “So we can call it the forward tee all we want, they don’t want to play the reds because they’re red.”

Hence the different color.

“So you put out some golds and, they’re ‘Hey, we’re great with that. No problem. They’re the senior tees. I’ve earned the right to play off here,’” Snyer said.

And the difference doesn’t have to be great. At Hermon, the distance from the reds to the golds can be as little as 5 yards.

Some of his seniors still prefer to play from the white tees.

“I’m of the age, but I’m not ready,” said 71-year-old Matt St. John of Glenburn.

His playing partners are glad.

“He doesn’t need ’em,” said Alan Hussey of Hudson. “He’d kick our butts if he did. He shot in the 70s today.”

Mike Hussey of Hudson, Alan’s son and not a senior, said, “I’d play ’em if they let me.”

That thought was shouted down in less than a second, but the general idea of the gold tees was well received.

“It did a lot for these guys,” said Brian Treadwell of Alton.

“It brought ’em back into the game,” added St. John.

Snyer has taken that idea a step further with the use of orange tees for young children and newcomers. They will be put out again when the club catches up with its mowing, Snyer said. The tees are usually about 150 yards from the green and just off to one side of the fairway.

“We have quite a few grandfathers that’ll bring their grandson or granddaughter out. If they’re not good golfers, it’s pretty tough,” Snyer said. “So we [he and pro Thea Davis] came up the idea, we’ll put these tees out that cut the course down in size. The grandfather can hit from whatever he wants to hit from. Then they can drive up, the kid can hit from the shorter distance and they’re out there golfing and having a good time.”

And they’re not just for kids.

“Suppose you come out here with your wife and she never played golf before,” Syner said. “Go up to the orange one, shorten up the hole for her if she’s not hitting the ball very far.

“You can play any tees you want. There are no names on them.”

In fact, Snyer has recommended not using tees at all if they cause someone to not enjoy their round.

“I’ve told people … if this is too tough,” said Snyer, pointing across the stream and up the hill as he stands next to the gold tees on the first hole, “just go up in the fairway and hit the ball. Start there, or start wherever. But people won’t do that because it’s not how it’s laid out. So we’re laying it out so that they can do that. So they’ll enjoy it.”

And that’s what it’s all about for Snyer, who was the superintendent at Hermon Meadow for 19 years before taking over.

“It’s a wide range of people playing golf and we’ve got to be open to everybody enjoying themselves,” he said.

Tournament time

The Anah Temple Shriners’ Keystone Kops Scramble Golf Tournament will be held Sunday at Hermon Meadow with a 9 a.m. shotgun start, rain or shine. Registration begins at 8 a.m.

The entry fee is $65 per person and includes golf, cart and steak feed. Proceeds benefit Keystone Kops Charities.

Mail entries to Bud Bruns, 1786 Union Street, Bangor 04401. For more info, call Bruns at 299-7831 or 947-3467.

The second annual BGA Open, conducted by the Bangor Golf Association, is set for June 10 at Bangor Municipal Golf Course.

It’s a two-ball, better-ball event open to the first 50 teams. There are two men’s divisions, one for a combined team handicap of 0.0 to 16.0 and the second for 16.1 and up, and one for ladies. Gross and net prizes will be awarded in each division.

The entry fee is $80 per team and the deadline is June 6. Forms are available at Bangor Muni and surrounding courses. Players must have an established USGA handicap.

Story ideas

If you have a golf news item, special event or interesting story to share, email a brief note to dbarber@bangordailnews.com.

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