BANGOR, Maine — Golfers playing the 18-hole layout at Bangor Municipal Golf Course may get a feeling of more open space now after a number of trees were removed from in front of three tee boxes on the back nine.
A couple of trees on the left side of the chute on No. 14, trees on both sides of 15 and a clump of six on the right side of 18 were removed during the course of a week earlier this month.
“We’re always looking for projects to do in the fall,” said head pro Brian Enman. “We like to do it then because there’s less mowing and more crew available to do the work.
“We try to do it without interrupting play as much.”
Enman said the decision to remove the trees on 14 and 15 was easy.
“Eighteen was the last one we decided on,” said Enman, who added that after the first look, he wasn’t so sure it was necessary.
“If you hit from the back tee, you didn’t even notice the trees,” he said, but it was decided to take another look. When they moved up on the tee, it became apparent just how much that group of pine trees affected the tee shots.
“We decided, ‘Why not?’” said Enman.
As trees grew taller and filled out, some started limiting options for tee shots, according to Enman.
“Fifteen and 18 were extremely difficult from the middle tee forward,” he said. “[The trees] were just impeding shots too much.”
The trees on 15 were only 40-50 yards from the front of the tee box, said Enman.
“Anybody hitting from the forward tees had to thread the needle,” he said. “The women only had the left side of the tee box to hit from.”
The trees on 18 were about 60-70 yards out, Enman said.
“Some people think the hole will play a lot easier, but there’ll probably be just as many pars and birdies as before,” he said.
Now golfers can hit a straight drive on 18 and stay in the fairway of the dogleg-right par 5.
“They had to hit quite a slice [before],” said Enman.
If the tee shot was hit straight or hooked, the out-of-bounds stakes would come into play in a hurry.
The two sets of trees that frame tee shots from the middle and back tees on 14 are about 100-110 yards ahead of the middle tees. The tee box for the forward tees is beyond the trees.
“Those trees affected the whole tee,” said Enman. “Nobody was hitting over them. Everybody had to hit between them.”
While the trees on all three holes interfered with a lot of tee shots, no one had complained about them to Enman. Now that the trees have been cut down, golfers are expressing themselves.
“Obviously, most people like it,” said Enman.
Two such people are nonresident members Geoff Goodwin of Carmel and Dick Shaw of Hudson, who were finishing their round Wednesday morning.
“Some of the better players have complained that it’s made it too easy,” said Goodwin, who holds the opposite opinion. “I like it.”
So does Shaw.
“It’ll probably save me 10 balls a year,” he said with a smile.
Other projects are also in the plan, but not all of them might get done.
“We were going to work on the drainage for 18,” said Enman, “but I don’t think Mother Nature is going to let us.”
Recent rains have caused a shallow pond to be created beside the cart path, showing the need for the drainage while also delaying it because of the softening of the ground.
Three sprinklers are being added at the short-game area beyond the graveyard.
“It really surprises me how much use it gets,” said Enman, “and it gets more and more as time goes on.”
He also wants to enlarge the practice bunker.
“It’s really too small,” said Enman.