BANGOR, Maine — Lindsay Cote, who will be a senior at Waterville High School this fall, made her debut on the weekly Maine State Golf Association women’s circuit Tuesday at Bangor Municipal Golf Course and she had the pleasure of playing with two veterans.
The 17-year-old Cote teed off with Liz Coffin and Lori Frost at 9 a.m. to kick off an MSGA season that was very much in doubt until last Wednesday. That’s when Gov. Janet Mills lifted the restriction that prevented golfers from playing on courses in counties outside their place of residence.
“If she hadn’t lifted that ban, we would have had to cancel the tournament,” Bangor Muni member Kathy Constantine said.
[image id=”2981810″ size=”full” pos=”center” /]
The golfers were elated to be back on the MSGA women’s circuit and Cote’s first experience was a memorable one.
What she may not have known is that she was playing with two hall of fame athletes.
Coffin was a three-time All-America basketball player at the University of Maine and is enshrined in the Maine Basketball, New England Basketball and University of Maine Sports halls of fame. She had her No. 44 jersey retired at UMaine.
Frost, the 1990 New Brunswick Women’s Amateur Tournament champion, is in the Maine Golf Hall of Fame.
[image id=”2981811″ size=”full” pos=”center” /]
“I really loved meeting Liz and Lori and playing with them,” said Cote. “They were great to play with. It was a really good first experience.”
Coffin recounted Cote’s effort Tuesday on the 15th hole.
“She was on [the green] in two and birdied it. It’s great to see a young golfer out there hitting a nice long ball and she followed it with a [good] approach shot,” Coffin said.
“I teased Lori. I said, ‘remember the day we could do that,’” Coffin quipped.
Frost said Cote outdrove her and Coffin several times.
The golfers were greeted by nearly ideal conditions, a sun-drenched course with low humidity. It was windy, but nobody cared, and everyone adhered to the social distancing guidelines.
“It was a little windy but I’m not going to complain,” Bangor Muni member Sue Roberts said. “It was wonderful being outside hitting the ball.
“I’m really happy we have golf. I would have gone insane if we didn’t,” she added.
[image id=”2981808″ size=”full” pos=”center” /]
Coffin, who is originally from Portage Lake, was glad to get back in the swing of things.
“It was awesome to be able to play,” she said. “You got a chance to see people you haven’t seen in a while.”
Coffin had played some rounds this spring but pointed out that she doesn’t go anywhere during the winter to play golf and was a little rusty.
“I’m usually rusty in June, mostly my chipping and putting,” she said.
Frost may have been a little more comfortable as she and husband Jim Frost spent the winter in Valdosta, Georgia.
[image id=”2981813″ size=”full” pos=”center” /]
“It was great to be out here,” Frost said. “The Muni is always one of the top courses to play. I love it.
“And I felt safe out here with social distancing,” she added.
Frost said if the MSGA season had been canceled, what she would have missed most was “seeing the people and meeting new people. I had never met Lindsay before and I’ve known Liz forever and respect her game and her as an athlete.”
Nancy Hart, who plays out of Hermon Meadow Golf Club, said the tournament circuit is all about the relationships.
[image id=”2981809″ size=”full” pos=”center” /]
“I would have missed the camaraderie and getting together with my friends,” Hart said.
“It was a great day.”
The players said they did have to adapt to the cup, which was turned upside down as mandated by the restrictions. The guideline is designed to keep players from reaching into the hole to retrieve their ball. The flag must always stay in the pin and can’t be touched.
Bangor Municipal golf pro Rob Jarvis said his members prefer the inverted cup to the foam noodle that can be inserted into the cup.
[image id=”2981812″ size=”full” pos=”center” /]
“If you hit [your putt] too hard, it bounces out,” Hart said.
Whereas some courses would allow a golfer to count that as a made putt, Hart said the MSGA doesn’t.
“It has to be within the circumference of the cup. But that’s golf,” she said.
“Since it had to stay in the cup, we were all a little tentative. You had to softly tap it in,” Coffin said.