Editor’s note: One in series profiling Maine golf courses.
BURNHAM, Maine — With the development and growth in the construction of golf courses over the last century, golfers may be more prone to look for courses with a blend of style, length and challenge.
There used to be a time where the luxury of such courses were few and far between and players were forced to play more traditional courses that stretch across acres of plains or flatlands.
Those courses may seem outdated, but some, like Lakeview Golf Course, continue to provide excitement within its traditional format.
Established in 1927 by Wilber and Pappy Reynolds, Lakeview’s nine-hole course was built on the flatlands along the banks of Unity Pond and gives locals and vacationers to Waldo County a course tailored for both new and experienced golfers.
“This course is built for newer to average golfers, but there are plenty of challenges for the higher level golfers to overcome,” said Susie Furrow, a member of the Reynolds family who took over the family’s course in 2010 with her sisters, Tammy George and Laurie Turner.
Along with their husbands, the Reynolds sisters have continued the growth of the course by making plenty of renovations.
“We have worked feverishly on the greens as they really needed a lot of work when we took things over,” said Furrow. “We’re defining different areas on the course and we are slowly but surely trying to add new things every time out.”
Unlike some big-name courses, Lakeview enables players to play at their convenience and pace. During its peak months, the course sees about 35-40 golfers a day between its 71 members and public players with an average nine-hole round taking just about two hours to complete.
“I think we have an environment here that is a little less stuffy than other places can tend to be,” said Stephen George, Tammy’s husband and head of course financing. “You don’t have to call ahead for a tee time as we have a very open and laid-back atmosphere here and that’s convenient for our guests.”
The course is a par 36 that runs 3,016 yards from the blue tees, 2,950 from the whites and 2,698 from the reds. Players will come to realize early on that distance is the biggest challenge, as the course features seven holes with lengths of more than 300 yards.
The first hole is 381-yard par 4 from the whites that sets the tone for the round. Players will have to make early decisions with a dogleg left about 225 yards out from the tee. The safe play would be to hit a soft driver or players can be aggressive and try to draw the shot around the turn. In either case, the ensuing approach shots must be aimed at the front or middle portion of the green as anything long will head right into Unity Pond in the backdrop.
“Many people don’t pay attention to the lake right behind the green and send it right into the water,” said Glen Furrow, Susie’s husband and grounds staff member.
After a tough first hole, the course allows golfers to breathe a sigh of relief at the second. A straightforward 300-yard par 4, the second provides a chance to make up for lost strokes on the previous hole. A birdie opportunity is a possibility with a strong tee shot as the hole allows plenty of space to both sides.
The third and fourth holes are par 3s that test a player’s confidence and touch.
The third runs 120 yards with a pond just in front of the tee box and woods to the left and behind the green. The depth is deceptive, which leaves players torn between hitting one club full or another soft. The suggestion would be a soft 9-iron or pitching wedge to get enough height and distance to stick it on the green.
The fourth continues the deceptive theme with a long 169 yards to the green. Players will feel pressured by the narrow confines of the tee box between two heavier tree lines, but they must not forget to make note of the woods continuing down the left side. Anything on or to the right of the green would be preferred and ensure the best chance for at least a par.
The fifth is a 328-yard par 4 with trees to both sides of the fairway and a fairway bunker to the left. With a long green ahead, club selection on the approach will depend on the pin placement for the day. The approach is pivotal with errant shots being gobbled up by a thick, fluffy rough.
Starting with the fifth hole, the rough begins to become more of a factor in the round as the change in the cut begins to show. The thickness is something Susie Furrow, who acts as the grounds manager, has tried to change and yet still keep the challenge.
“We’ve started to mow it a little more closely which has made it more compact, but it continues to holds that thickness,” she said.
“Susie does a great job in finding that balance between making it challenging for the super golfer and not too hard for the newer golfer,” added George.
The par-5 sixth is the longest on the course, stretching 504 yards. Players will need at least three shots to reach and must also be aware of a ditch on the left side that acts as out of bounds. Anything before the stake on the left side of the ditch is out so the right side is the safest bet with the second shot.
“The ditch is a difficult spot for people because it runs in front of the green and when there’s water in it they have to take extra shots to avoid it,” said Furrow.
The seventh hole is a 485-yard par 5 and considered the course’s signature hole. The hole runs parallel with the main road to the right, which is out of bounds, and also has trees to the left. The road makes for the most interesting obstacle on the course, in Mrs. Furrow’s opinion.
“The seventh is so challenging because many players naturally hit to the right and then find their ball drifting over the road,” she said.
Club control is essential with the limited space, but players should not shy away from going for the hole in two with a strong tee shot and long-iron approach. The green is small and slightly elevated to make par for the hole even more difficult.
Players move back over to the other side of the road for the final two par 4s and a mostly obstacle-free end to their round.
The main road comes into play again on the right side of the 351-yard eighth, but thankfully the left side opens up leaving plenty of opportunity at a birdie.
The ninth hole runs 325 yards in between the first and eighth holes. Putting everything into the final tee shot cannot hurt with the available space, but stay clear of the Reynolds’ house and a patch of tall grass to the right of the green on the approach. The green slants back toward the road which may spoil a chance at finishing out with a birdie or even a par.
Mrs. Furrow has gotten a great deal of positive feedback about the course.
“Everyone this year has said the course is in better shape than it has been in years,” she said. “We always ask for suggestions, but people tell us that they are satisfied and everything is the way they like it.”
Mrs. Furrow believes the family-friendly atmosphere has been key in the course’s success, with the service they offer rivaling no others in the area.
“I think all the employees and owners are so friendly and people like that about us,” she said. “People feel comfortable here and I think that comfort really brings them back every time.”
Address: 15 Reynolds Lane, Burnham (straddles South Horseback Road)
Owners: Tammy and Stephen George, Susie and Glen Furrow, Laurie and Norm Turner
Course opened: 1927
Yards: 3,016 (blue), 2,950 (white), 2,698 (red)
Green fees: Call for weekly specials
Memberships: Single, $425; couple, $575; seniors (65 and over), $400 and $525; juniors, $150; family (couple rate plus $125 per child)