Bob Reynolds still remembers the first days of the Bangor Municipal Golf Course — 53 years ago.
“They just had the front nine. They were still working on the back nine. It was rough. There wasn’t much turf on it so when I’d hit my ball from the fairway, sparks would fly,” recalled Reynolds. “You would hit some ledge underneath.
“There was no irrigation system back then [for the fairways], just for the greens. The next year, the back nine opened. It wasn’t quite as bad. There was more pasture back there,” he noted. “They eventually put some watering systems in the fairways but it took them a couple of times before they got it right.
“It has come a long way,” he added.
Reynolds holds a unique distinction.
He is believed to be the only living original member of the course located on Webster Avenue on Bangor’s west side.
Reynolds is 90 but he still plays two or three times a week, usually with friends Bill Leeman, Chuck Thompson and Tom Vaughan.
He has been playing golf for 70 years.
Reynolds started when he visited his sister in Brockton, Massachusetts, and decided to join his brother-in-law on the golf course.
“I was just going to watch him,” said Reynolds, who decided to give it a try instead.
So he forked over the 50 cents it cost him to rent clubs and play.
“At first, I couldn’t hit the ball. It made me mad. I was determined to hit the ball. Next time out, I beat [my brother-in-law],” said Reynolds.
“And I’ve never given it up,” he added.
Reynolds, a retired barber, loves the game and what it provides.
“It is a great way to relieve pressure. For four hours, you have nothing else to think about,” said Reynolds. “All the problems come back after you finish.
“But that’s all right,” he said.
He said the beauty of golf is, “no matter how good or how bad you are, you can still play.”
He also enjoys the camaraderie.
“Being out there with all the different people you meet … the camaraderie … it’s great,” said Reynolds.
When he was cutting hair — he admitted that he still trims the hair of a “few old-timers” — it limited his time on the golf course.
“I would play on Wednesdays and Sundays. I would [occasionally] play nine holes after work,” he said.
Now that he is retired, he said, “I can play when I feel like it.”
Reynolds suffered a heart attack in February but it hasn’t kept him away from the course.
“So far, everything is working all right. I’m just not pushing myself like I used to,” said Reynolds, who gets in touch with his friends on a given morning to see how everybody is feeling and whether they want to play.
Former Bangor Municipal pro Brian Enman said Reynolds has game.
“He shoots his age a lot of the time. He hits it straight and putts pretty well,” said Enman.
“I don’t hit the ball like I used to,” said Reynolds. “I just try to keep it in play. I hold my own with a lot of the boys.”
He said he doesn’t spend much time looking for wayward golf shots, “because I don’t hit it far enough to put it in the woods.
“I wind up looking for my partners’ golf balls,” said Reynolds.
He also said he enjoys “getting some exercise and fresh air.
“It’s better than sitting at home looking out the window.”
Reynolds has several special golf memories, including his only hole-in-one.
“It was at the 16th hole [at Bangor Muni]. Several years ago. It was in early May. It was back in the days when Pepsi used to give you a putter if you got a hole-in-one,” said Reynolds.
He has come close to other holes-in-one and said he has posted eagles at the fifth, 10th, 15th and 18th holes at Muni.
Reynolds and his late wife Velma had five children, four of whom are still living.
He has several grandchildren but admits, “I don’t know how many.”
He has other fond memories of his time on the golf course.
Reynolds once got caught in a thunderstorm with playing partner, Rev. Fred Whittaker from the Bangor Theological Seminary.
“Fred went and laid down in a sand trap because it was the lowest spot on the course,” chuckled Reynolds.
He downplays being the only living original member of the Bangor Municipal Golf Course.
“I don’t know if it’s an accomplishment. I’m just lucky,” said Reynolds, who move to Bangor from Massachusetts when he was 3.