Golfing, with a few extra layers

SCARBOROUGH – In Maine, the golf season lasts approximately six months. That’s May through October. April is usually a washout and the sting you get from catching a 5 iron thin in November can be unbearable.

After one of the warmest winters on record, however, spring seems to be rounding into form earlier than expected.

With the promise of spring filling the air, it can only mean one thing for golf enthusiasts – it’s time to pull out the golf bag, refill the pockets with tees and balls and rush to the first course that has put the flags up.

Nonesuch River Golf Course, located at 304 Gorham Road in Scarborough, has become the traditional early- and late-season favorite for local golfers due to its willingness to be the first to open and last to close.

This year, Nonesuch welcomed its first golfers of the season on March 11, once the snow had melted and allowed the fairways to open up.

Usually, the early season tee-times have been reserved for golfing addicts who were simply looking for the first sunny day to hit the links. This year, however, the season appears to be in full swing (pun completely intended) heading into the first weekend of April.

Nonesuch River’s owner and general manager, Dan Hourihan, will certainly not complain about the early spring.

“The crowds have been good,” said Hourihan, “especially that week when it was 80 degrees.”

Nonesuch has typically been the first course to open, and the choice to open early this year was a no-brainer.

“We’ve been a little ahead of schedule in terms of the dryness of the course,” said Hourihan, thanking the warm weather and lack of precipitation.

With good course conditions, Nonesuch is fortunate enough to host a Maine State Golf Association tournament this weekend, allowing some of the state’s best to sample the early-season offerings.

Even though the cold weather seems to be making a comeback over the last week or so, Nonesuch is still seeing a strong intake of seasonal memberships.

For golf lovers, it will take much more than an April shower and overcast skies to make them retreat into their homes. Just ask member Sean McUrdy.

“I like the competition and the nice weather. It’s just something to do to pass the time,” said McUrdy, speaking like a true Mainer on the seventh hole at Nonesuch on Sunday afternoon. Indeed, 45 degrees, cloudy skies and intermediate sprinkles are something of a blessing for this time of year.

Even though winter seems to be trying to make a comeback, it won’t deter others like McCurdy from hitting the links. Especially when it’s the earliest most have been out.

“I can deal with the cold,” he said. “Just bundle up and wear a couple extra layers and wait for the real nice weather to come.”

Sean McUrdy, a member of Nonesuch River Golf Course in Scarborough, prepares to hit a wedge shot on the seventh green on Sunday afternoon. Despite the cold, the course remained crowded as golfers looked to hit the links early. McUrdy said it was the earliest he had ever been out on the course in the spring. (Staff photo by Nate Boroyan)