BANGOR, Maine — Eric Egloff of Sandy Spring, Md., is playing in his 19th consecutive Greater Bangor Open Golf Tournament.
He is one of several golfers who keep returning to Bangor for the annual 54-hole tournament, now in its 47th year.
Among the reasons so many golfers return are the little things provided for them and the friendly atmosphere.
In the past couple of years, the tournament has offered a free lobster bake for the golfers after Thursday’s first round and free physical therapy provided by clinic director Derek Loupin and his staff at Bangor’s Select Physical Therapy throughout the tournament.
Ralph Backman of Beals Island supplies the lobsters.
“These are things that make this tournament great,” said Egloff. “They keep building on good things [they provide] and that’s why I’ve come back 19 years in a row.
“I came off the 18th green on Thursday and went right to the [physical therapy] table to get stretched out. I was really sore,” added Egloff.
“You never get free food or have a physical therapy tent at state open tournaments,” said an appreciative Zack Byrd of Murrells Inlet, S.C. “It’s been 12 days since I’ve seen my chiropractor [because I’ve been on the road].”
“Nobody does it. It’s a great idea,” said Zack Amole of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
“It’s just like a PGA Tour event without the [big] money. They run it like a big tournament. It’s a great tournament,” said John Elliott of Bristol, Conn., who has been coming to the tournament for more than 25 years. “It’s a fun tournament. You’ve got the [Bangor] State Fair and everything going on. It’s a fun week.”
Bangor Municipal pro Brian Enman and assistant pro Rob Jarvis said they greatly appreciate the generosity of Loupin and his staff, along with Backman.
Enman said being able to provide such things “make us stand out a little bit.”
Loupin said he had mentioned the idea of providing physical therapy services to Enman and Jarvis a few years ago.
“I know they have it at the high levels: the PGA and web.com Tours, and we wanted to at least bring it on a small scale to the tournament here. We want to do anything we can to get the golfers to keep coming back up here. It has worked out well for everyone. The golfers get taken care of and it is great exposure for us,” said Loupin, who is a golfer himself.
Clinician Heather Mitchell said she has enjoyed working with the golfers and said one of the primary areas where the golfers have required therapy has been the lower back.
Shawn Warren of Windham said it is a special event.
“Compared to everything else that goes on in New England, people care about this and you can actually tell that there is a personal touch they put into it every year,” said Warren.
“They actually care about it and you can definitely tell. Those are things you don’t need to do. But it’s a little bit extra that they do consistently that gets people coming back every year.”
Lowell Miller of Orlando, Fla., had the opportunity to watch his wife, Karin, negotiate her first lobster, although she has eaten lobster meat before. He also saw his 2-year-old son Eli enjoy playing with it.
“It’s the little things they do that bring you back every year,” said Miller. “At other tournaments, you have to pay for everything.”
Elliott has noteworthy resume
The 49-year-old Elliott has an impressive resume.
He has played in 125 PGA tournaments and 300 Nationwide events. He had two wins on the Nationwide Tour, the 1994 Nike Mississippi Gulf Coast Classic and 1997 Nike Alabama Classic. He also had eight runner-up finishes.
Locally, he has won the Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont opens.
Elliott will attend Champions Tour qualifying school in the fall as he turns 50 in September.
He was the playing partner of Tiger Woods “four or five times” and said they chatted a little.
“He was cool. He’s his own person. He likes to talk to the media but not as much to the players. Vijay Singh is a very good talker when it comes to the players but not as much to the media. Vijay’s a great guy,” said Elliott.
Egloff was PGA caddy
Egloff is a former PGA Tour caddy. He caddied for portions of five years for Kelly Gibson. He also caddied for John Morse.
“It was great. It’s the best thing [for your golf game]. It helps you mentally more than anything,” said Egloff.
Egloff said he made $400 a week as a caddy back in 1992. Caddies also earn a portion of their golfers’ winnings per tournament.
“Now some of them make $1,200-$1,500 a week,” said Egloff.
He said caddies usually make 5 percent of their golfers’ winnings if they make the cut, 7 percent if they finish in the top 10, and 10 percent if they win the tournament.
And golfers are making much more than they used to.
“Kelly was 100th on the money list in 1992 and made $103,000 that year. He had three top-10 finishes,” said Egloff, who would spent half the year caddying and the other half playing golf.
He once received valuable sponsorship money from the band Hootie and the Blowfish.
He had met them through his former high school friend Paul Graham, who was their road manager. Graham met the band because they all attended the University of South Carolina.
Graham hooked Egloff up with tickets to a Hootie and the Blowfish concert in Massachusetts and he jumped on their tour bus with his golf equipment after the concert and rode with them to his home state of Maryland where they were playing another concert the next night.
“They slept all night, we pulled into a golf course in Maryland at 8 in the morning and we all went out and played golf,” said Egloff.
Lead singer Darius Rucker, who is now a solo country artist who played in Bangor as part of the Waterfront Concerts series last month, is an avid golfer.