In this June 2 file photo, Lori Frost of the St. Croix Country Club in Calais leads the group after finishing their round at the Bangor Municipal Golf Course. Credit: Natalie Williams / BDN

Six years ago, Bangor Municipal Golf Course and the Kebo Valley Club in Bar Harbor teamed up to co-host the first Downeast Metro Amateur Tournament.

The same two courses will be the sites next summer for two of the state’s most prestigious amateur tournaments.

The Maine Amateur Championship will be held July 13-15, 2021, at Kebo and the Maine Women’s Amateur is scheduled July 19-21 at Bangor Muni. Both are 54-hole events.

Bangor Muni pro Rob Jarvis and Kebo pro Peiter DeVos were excited to land the tournaments.

“We’re pumped. We’re really honored and super excited to be hosting,” Jarvis said. “We’re going to make it a big deal.

“It is the state of Maine championship for women. There’s no higher event for ladies golf in Maine,” he added.

Jarvis believes it is the first time Bangor has held the event since 2003.

DeVos said he is excited about the Maine Amateur and that the course has already begun preparing for it.

“We’re getting the best of the best [amateur players] that the state has to offer and it will give us a chance to showcase our golf course, our community and our members,” DeVos said.

Kebo last hosted the tourney in 2010.

Brian Bickford, executive director of the Maine State Golf Association, said he loves both courses.

“Bangor Muni is a great walk. It has big greens. You can make it as tough as you want it,” Bickford said.

“Kebo is my favorite course in the state. Every shot is a challenge. No matter if you are driving the ball, chipping it or putting it, every shot is a grind.”

Cole Anderson of Camden, who plays at Florida State University, is the two-time defending Maine Amateur champion. Ruby Haylock, a junior at Leavitt High School in Turner, captured the Maine Women’s Amateur.

Bickford said golf benefitted from the COVID-19 pandemic as people sought outdoor activities in a safe environment that lends itself to social distancing.

“It was a great year for golf courses,” said Bickford, who explained courses that incorporate restaurants or serve as wedding or event venues did have issues.

“Members played more than usual and they brought new people to the course, which was great,” he said. “A lot more couples were playing and the juniors play was up this year.”

The MSGA did lose 11 weekly men’s tournaments and seven women’s events due to the coronavirus and the Charlie’s Maine Open was also canceled.

Bickford said he is concerned about the number of golf courses that have closed over the past five years including two in Westbrook and others in South Portland, Kenduskeag, Trenton and Winterport.

He pointed out that several courses in southern Maine reached their maximum limit of members for the first time in a long time.

Bickford credited golf pros, golfers and course personnel with doing an exceptional job adhering to state guidelines, which prevented outbreaks of COVID-19 at courses.

With the season coming to a close shortly, Bickford’s vision is on keeping golfers engaged during the winter through things such as the “Maine Golf Talk” podcast and indoor golf facilities.

The Cumberland native is pleased that two Maine courses, the North Haven Golf Club (14th) and Castine Golf Club (46th) were chosen among the top 50 nine-hole courses in the world by Golf.com. He called the inaugural Maine Event, a 36-hole tournament held at Augusta Country Club and Waterville Country Club, featuring some of the state’s best golfers, was hugely successful.

The event was created to fill a void left by the Maine Open cancellation and it will become an annual event at different sites.

Haylock was named the MSGA Women’s Player of the Year, Caleb Manuel of Topsham was the Men’s Player of the Year and Bangor native Len Cole of Scarborough, earned the Senior Player of the Year honor.

The 58-year-old Cole won it for a record third straight year and joins Maine golf legend Mark Plummer as the only two three-time winners of the award.

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