The handwriting was on the wall.
Following last year’s Greater Bangor Open golf tournament at the Bangor Municipal Golf Course, club pro Rob Jarvis said the tournament was in jeopardy. Only 67 players entered, the lowest in recent memory.
Now, the GBO is no more.
Jarvis has pulled the plug on the event, which was held for 52 years. It will be replaced July 20-21 by a member-guest tournament.
The GBO relied on entry fees and sponsorship money to supply the purse money. With a low turnout, the purse money had to be reduced.
Last year’s winner, Michael Kartrude, pocketed $7,000 — $2,000 less than 2017 winner Jason Thresher earned.
Jarvis explained that when the numbers of golfers and the purse money both drop, it is time to end it.
He said one of the primary reasons is that there weren’t other northern New England tournaments surrounding the GBO as there had been in the past.
Previously, the New Hampshire Open, the GBO and the Charlie’s Maine Open were all held within a two-week span, so golfers could play all three.
But the New Hampshire Open is now June 20-22 and the Maine Open is Aug. 20-21 in Augusta.
Jarvis said he tried to line up the GBO with the other tournaments but it simply wasn’t possible.
He said it would cost a pro approximately $1,000 to participate in the GBO with the $400 entry fee, the cost of hotel rooms and travel expenses.
“The days of $1 per gallon gas and a $50 a night hotel room are long gone,” Jarvis said.
The five golfers who shared 19th place at last year’s tourney earned $185. None of the other pros who finished lower earned a cent.
“To have 70 guys show up and have a small purse isn’t worth it for them or for the golf course,” Jarvis said. “The golf course would be tied up for four days for that kind of event.”
There was a pro-am tournament the day before the three-day, 54-hole tournament began.
Jarvis said Bangor Muni has 400 members and between those players and non-members who pay the greens fees, the course would easily turn a profit by simply unlocking the doors.
He said the decision was emotional.
“As a 17-year-old kid watching the Greater Bangor Open, that’s what made me want to be a golf pro,” Jarvis said. “To be the one who ends it is extremely difficult.
“It was something I hoped I would never have to do,” he said.