Part II: Hitting the Greens, Golfing the Valley and Beyond
Brought to you by the Inn of Acadia
After a long winter in the St. John Valley, it’s exciting to welcome the sunny days and warm evenings which arrive in late spring, gracing the region throughout the summer months and well into autumn. Everywhere, there are signs of rebirth surfacing from beneath the ground-covering remains of the previous seasons. Flowers, ferns and various foliage thrust color upon the fields and forests, and people holed up from the winter cautiously emerge to tend their yards and gardens.
Among those happiest to see the green again are local golf enthusiasts, and, yes, the St. John Valley region has much to offer in the way of choices when it comes to courses. There are courses of varying design and levels located on both sides of the International Border to challenge a golfer’s ability. But nearby, there is even a course that transcends the political divide with 18-holes built so close to the border on the Canadian side, that a hooked shot from the first, second or ninth holes might land in the U.S. – not to mention that the club’s pro shop and parking lot are located just on the U.S. side of the border.
The Aroostook Valley Country Club, located partly in Fort Fairfield, Maine, and partly in Perth Andover, New Brunswick, was built back before crossing the international boundary was much of a security issue. Golfers on either side of the border have enjoyed a neutral zone of sorts which the two countries have shared for decades. The semi-private course is about an hour drive south and slightly east from the Inn of Acadia in Madawaska. The 18 holes and the clubhouse are squarely inside the Canadian boundaries, but the parking lot accessing the course, along with a fully stocked pro-shop, is on U.S. turf.
The unique cross-borders location of the Aroostook Valley Country Club earned it recognition as one of Canada’s Top 13 Golf Courses in a 2012 issue of Reader’s Digest-Canada. You can visit the club’s website at http://www.avcc.ca for information on upcoming tournaments, membership options and green fees.
Another course that golfers are sure to find beautiful and challenging is located just across the river from Madawaska in the New Brunswick city of Edmundston. The Club de Golf Fraser/Edmundston Golf Club is another 18-hole golf course offering a variety of Par 3, 4 and 5 holes. The course boasts having one of the most challenging holes in all of New Brunswick, a Par 4
hole (No. 7) where the prevailing winds work against you and where a 5 is a good score.
At the Fraser/Edmundston Golf Club, members enjoy a plethora of amenities which even the most discerning golfer will appreciate. They range from a first class restaurant and full service bar, to a competitively priced pro-shop, showers, lockers, and lessons that will help you improve your swing. Of course, several tournaments take place their each year. More information can be found by visiting their website, which is available in English or en francais, at http://www.golfedmundston.com.
The U.S. side of the border offers several options for golfing in the northernmost part of Maine, as well. Starting in St. David, which is closest to Inn of Acadia, is the Long Lake Country Club. True to its name, the Long Lake Country Club is a 9-hole public course that offers beautiful views of Long Lake. With ongoing improvements the owners are making to the course, visitors can return year after year and always have a fresh experience. When you’re done your game, relax in the full-service bar, play a game of pool, talk fireside with friends, or grab a bite to eat in their restaurant that features home-style cooking – make sure to grab a seat near the window for a lovely, westerly view of the lake (the sunsets are spectacular).
The Long Lake Country Club has one special feature that makes it easy to golf even in the dead of winter – the only indoor virtual golf experience available on the U.S. side of the border in the St. John Valley. The Club is easily accessible by ATV and even boat, so getting there is almost as much fun as being there. For additional information, visit their website at http://www.longlakecountryclubme.com.
About 25 miles west, in the town of Fort Kent, Maine, is the Fort Kent Golf Club, a relaxing, 9-hole, public course. Imagine a course where you can arrive at your leisure, take your time and enjoy an affordable round of golf while surrounded by the natural beauty of northern Maine and you will have imagined the Fort Kent Golf Club. There are no tee times required and you can play a quick 9 holes for just $20, or round the course twice for only $35. Food and drinks are available in the clubhouse, and there is a practice facility if you’re worried about your lie.
Even though you don’t need to be a member to play here, membership does have its privileges, including reciprocity with several other courses throughout the northern Maine and western New Brunswick region. To find out more about what the Fort Kent Golf Club has to offer, visit them online at http://www.fortkentgolfclub.org.
South of Fort Kent, a half hour drive down scenic Route 11, is the Portage Hills Country Club. Nestled in the hills above Portage Lake, this 9-hole course offers scenery and a quiet, comfortable, rural setting. The club offers few amenities, but the price is right for the independent golfer. For about a dollar a hole, golfers can enjoy a full challenging round on the hilly, tree-lined terrain. The club has no website, but you can find out more about them by visiting their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Portagehillscountyclub.