It was an All Saints Day. Golf at St. Croix Country Club in the morning and a visit to St. Andrews in the afternoon. We couldn’t have experienced a much better day unless
we had actually played that St. Andrews. The St. Andrews we visited is a town in New Brunswick, Canada and is situated on Passamaquoddy Bay. Someday we will locate the Old Course at St. Andrews but today we had to settle for eating more fried clams and lobster rolls in this beautiful setting. A nice reward after spending time in Calais, ME on a dark, damp morning.
Trying to beat the rain, we trekked to the Easternmost Golf Course in the USA – St. Croix Country Club. Because of the weather and the prior days club championship, we were the only golfers on the course. After a quick chat with Mike Ellis, the head golf professional, we motored to the par 3, first hole. It’s 162 yards; has a small green; and no hazards unless you blade one over the green and have to dodge the speeding traffic on Route 1.
To arrive at Hole #2, you need to cross Route 1, so make sure you have a cart that has decent acceleration. The cars didn’t look as if they were slowing down as they raced around the bend in the road. If you arrive safely (thanks, Karen), you are greeted by the number one handicap hole – a par 5 of 495 yards. For a decent score, your tee shot will need to fade to the right – left will bring big tree trouble into play. If you are in a cart, make sure you take some Dramamine before playing, there is not a flat lie on this fairway.
Hole #3 is a par 4 with a dogleg to the right. You are hitting blind, but there is plenty of room out there. The 10-step lookout tower at the tee box allows you to make sure your long drive will not scatter the group in front. No worry for us today! Another small green awaits at the end of this hole. Time to climb another tower at Hole #4. You are blind again at the 405 yard, dogleg left par 4. The woods will come into play if you try to cut off too much of this dogleg (has anyone found an Always Time for 9 logo ball?). There is a bunker at the back/right of this green that I thought was strangely placed. Only an extremely wild shot should find it, but better than searching the woods just behind.
Hole #5 is a very reachable (495 yards, par 5) in two if you avoid hitting your tee shot onto Route 1 to the left, the fairway bunker to the right, and the three bunkers surrounding the green. For a second time my cart driver expertly traversed Route 1 and deposited me at the sixth hole. On the scorecard, this 126 yard par 3 hole is the easiest but as I studied the photo Karen had taken, I became aware of something that could add excitement to this hole. The clubhouse grill and patio are situated right behind the green (see opening photo). Yesterday during the club championship, I’m sure the sixth played more difficult as the participants had the added pressure of everyone viewing their shots. We had the course to ourselves today, so my par was an easy one.
We finally arrived at Hole #7 and the piece de resistance. This course and hole have been on my radar since January of 2000. The USGA used to have a publication (Golf Journal) that featured a layout called A Great Golf Hole. The 7th was featured in that edition. Following is part of how David Shefter described the hole…“When the sun rises for the first time in the year 2000, it’s light will reach this hole before any of the thousands of others in the U.S. The eastern-most hole in the country is a severe dogleg, where eagle possibilities exist for the player who can mix a skillful touch with a keen eye”. Standing on the elevated tee box you need to hit a big fade/slice to find the fairway. I opened my stance to attempt the big fade and actually succeeded by landing between two fairway bunkers and the six pot bunkers that line the left edge of the fairway. Standing in the middle of the landing area, I couldn’t find the green at first. I felt a tap on my shoulder as my caddie/cart driver/wife pointed 90 degrees to our right. Yes, it is a severe dogleg! The picturesque green sits on the tree-lined bank of the St. Croix River and did not offer any eagle opportunities today. The “skillful touch” was a satisfying par and the “keen eye” did not glimpse a soaring eagle today. A Great Golf Hole!
Hole #8 is a 188 yard par 3 to a small green. Thinking about cutting the dogleg at Hole #9? The large tree and hidden bunker may deter this choice but what the heck! Bunkers line the entire back of the green, so a good miss is short.
Birdie: We had fun playing St. Croix Country Club. The greens are small and they were in very good shape. The fairways were patchy after a long, hot summer but were very playable. And then there is #7 – just go play and have fun! If you need more than 9 holes, and you are over in St. Andrews, try The Algonquin Resort and their 18-hole beauty.
Now that you have played golf at the easternmost course in the U.S., why not visit the easternmost point in the USA? Just cruise down Route 1 to Lubec, ME and the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse and you have reached your destination.
Route 1, Calais, ME 04619; 207-454-8875; www.stcroixcountryclub.com