Two Maine golf courses have been rated among the top 50 nine-hole courses in the world by Golf.com.
The North Haven Golf Club was ranked 14th in the world and ninth among U.S. courses and the Castine Golf Club was rated 46th overall and 21st in the country among nine-hole layouts.
This marks the first time Golf.com has compiled a comprehensive list of nine-hole courses. Its 88-member panel includes its editors, architects from around the world and other short-course experts.
The North Haven Golf Club, which requires a 70-minute ferry ride from Rockland to the island, is a 3,040-yard, par-35 course. It features six par-4 holes, two par-3’s and a par-5. It was built in 1916 and updated in 1932 by Wayne Stiles.
“It is a beautiful walk and a charming course,” Golf.com said. “Make sure to check out the original clubhouse that sits near the third hole.”
Another publication, aquick9.com, described North Haven Golf Club as charming.
“The golf course is terrific and uses the land beautifully as you would expect from an original Wayne Stiles design,” it said.
“[It has a] beautiful short par four third with water as a backdrop. We enjoyed the tiny original clubhouse on that hole.”
The Castine Golf Club is rated as a par 35 for men but is a par 36 for women. It is only 2,977 yards and, like North Haven, has six par-4 holes, two par-3’s and a par-5.
The course was designed in 1921 by Scotsman and two-time British Open champion Willie Park Jr. Golf has been played in Castine since the late 1800s.
Castine pro Noah Tapley said the club is excited about the honor.
“There is a lot of history here dating back to the Revolutionary War,” he said, referring to forts in Castine, especially Fort George, which was used by the British during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
Tapley pointed out that the course has holes on both sides of the road and many of the holes have lots of undulation with sloping fairways.
“It is a rough rugged coastal Maine golf course that showcases glimpses of the water without ever playing down to it or alongside it,” Golf.com said.
“The two-tier [linear-bisected] green at [No.] 7 is truly worth a visit alone.”
Marty Tenney, the board of directors secretary for Castine Golf Club, said the course is a pretty authentic Scottish links layout.
“With the drought we’ve had, you can get quite a roll in the fairway but the ball could also carry into the woods, much like how a links course plays,” he said.
The course has irrigation on the greens and tees but not in the fairways.
Marianne Lee, former golf chairman and president at the Castine Golf Club, called it, “one of the Crown Jewels of Maine.”
“We are quite thrilled. It is one of the older courses in Maine and the course is [difficult]. It never gets boring,” she said.
Lee and Tapley said the number of rounds are up 20 to 25 percent among club members this summer but that the COVID-19 pandemic has left guest play down slightly, since fewer people have vacationed in Castine this summer.
Tapley said he is looking forward to seeing what impact the recognition might have for the golf club down the road.
Tenney said the club is one of only three in the state to be deemed a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary for its environmental excellence.