August 23, 2019
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Trenton golf course listed for sale, but another nearby course could reopen this year

Scott Haskell | BDN
Scott Haskell | BDN
Keith Patterson watches his wedge shot to the 12th green at Bar Harbor Golf Course in Trenton in 2002. The course is currently listed for sale.

The 18-hole Bar Harbor Golf Course in Trenton is for sale, but the owners of another Hancock County course are aiming to reopen after years of inactivity.

The owners of the White Birches Golf Course are hoping to reopen the golf course late this summer or early fall.

Donald and Jennifer Gibson in 2012 bought the White Birches Golf Course in Hancock, right across the Ellsworth line. They have been working to restore the property ever since. The 2,800-yard, nine-hole course has been closed since 2011.

The couple has since finished renovations and needs approval from the local planning board, Jennifer Gibson said.

“When we bought it, it was a hayfield,” she said. “It has taken us a while to restore it.” The couple also purchased the hotel across the street a couple years later.

Meanwhile, the 180-acre Bar Harbor Golf Course is listed for sale in LandVest for $2,490,000.

The golf course opened in 1965 and is owned by the Crowley family from Massachusetts.

It is located at the junction of Routes 3 and 204.

The 6,631-yard course is a par-71 and was run by the late Charlie Crowley, who died of an apparent heart attack last July 15. He had been the general manager and superintendent of the course, where he worked for 35 years.

Paul Crowley of Falmouth, Charlie’s brother, told the Ellsworth American that the family doesn’t intend to open it this year because none of the other family members lives near the course and can run it. Someone would have to buy it and keep it a golf course in order for it to stay open, he told the weekly newspaper.

The Bar Harbor Golf Course is another in a growing list of courses that have either closed or face that prospect.

The Kenduskeag Valley Golf Course in Kenduskeag ended a 58-year run after the 2015 season; the Great Cove Golf Course in Roque Bluffs closed two years ago and members of the Sable Oaks Golf Club in South Portland learned in January that their course was closing.

Joe Perdue, co-owner and club pro at the Hidden Meadows Golf Course in Old Town, and Lenny Espling, who owns and manages the Barren View Golf Course in Jonesboro, would both like to see the Bar Harbor Golf Course remain a golf course.

“It’s a great facility,” said Perdue, who toured the course last fall. “It has a half-dozen holes right along the river. It’s an interesting layout. The greens were in great shape and the bunkers were well-placed. The overall design is really, really good.”

The three par-fives are 520, 589 and 544 yards long. There are 11 par-fours and four par-three holes.

The listing also includes 5,000 feet of shorefront along a scenic ocean estuary of Frenchman Bay and views of the nearby mountains of Acadia National Park.

Perdue and Espling also agreed that the golf industry is a challenging one especially with all of the courses in the state. According to a 2010 census in GolfBlogger, Maine is eighth in the country in golf courses per capita (one course per every 8,856 people).

And there are three courses within 12 miles of Trenton and a fourth if White Birches opens. The others are the Kebo Valley Golf Club in Bar Harbor, the Causeway Club in Southwest Harbor and Northeast Harbor Golf Club in Northeast Harbor.

“The golf industry is a nasty business,” said Perdue, who has been a golf pro since 1982. “There are so many golf courses in this area and the population isn’t huge.”

 



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