As one of Maine's most storied golf courses, the Sugarloaf Golf Club must live up to a high standard. Over the past several seasons, under the guidance of Course Superintendant Bob Bruce, Sugarloaf has featured a renewed dedication to improving player friendliness, course aesthetics, and turf health. Sugarloaf and the Town of Carrabassett Valley have worked and will continue to work together closely to ensure that the golf course lives up to the high standards that golfers throughout the country have come to expect.
Recent Course Projects:
New $1.7 million irrigation system
During the summer of 2012, Sugarloaf and the Town of Carrabassett Valley installed a new, state-of-the-art $1.7 million irrigation system. The new system replaced the existing irrigation, which was installed during the original construction of the course more than 25 years prior. The new and improved system allows the course crew to pinpoint precise areas that need water, while avoiding over-watering other areas. The result is improved agronomics and reduced costs for water and electricity.
Agressive Cultural Practices
Crews are working this summer to remove and replace sections of fairway on holes 7 and 9 that are perennial problem areas which have been heavily damage over the years. These areas will see sod removed, drainage updated, and new sod planted back in place.
This work continues an initiative of aggressive cultural practices under Course Superintendant Bob Bruce to promote the health and long-term sustainability of Sugarloaf's turf. These practices include increased verticutting, which removes thatch and promotes improved turf density and agressive overseeding of greens and fairways with heartier varieties of grass to improve resilience after the winter months.
New winter green covers
In 2011 Sugarloaf and the Town of Carrabassett Valley invested in 13 protective tarps to cover many of the greens during the winter months. These tarps protect the greens from the harsh winter conditions, while allowing them to breathe and stay healthy until spring. The course crew has had tremendous success with this type of tarp in the past, and the investment should provide golfers at Sugarloaf with healthier greens, earlier in the season, for many years to come.
Rebuild of hole #5
In 2011 Sugarloaf's fifth hole received a completely rebuilt drainage system and increased playable area, thanks to new turf on the right hand corner (an area which had been notorious for swallowing drives). Golfers now enjoy enhanced playability and improved turf health throughout the hole.
Redesign and rebuild of hole #6
During the fall of 2009 and spring of 2010, Sugarloaf redesigned and rebuilt the sixth hole to enhance playability and correct drainage problems that were hurting the health of the turf. New drainage was installed throughout the fairway and approach area, playable area around the green and approach was increased, and several thousand square feet of new sod was installed.
The result has been a transformation of number six from a notorious score-killer to a true signature hole that golfers of multiple ability levels can appreciate.
As a true wilderness golf course, Sugarloaf naturally is heavily wooded. While the trees provide the secluded setting that makes Sugarloaf unique, they also block sunlight from greens and fairways, creating challenges for course crews. Over the past several seasons Sugarloaf has enagaged in selective tree removal in key areas that will allow additional sunlight to hit key areas while still maintaining the remote, wilderness feel that is a hallmark of the Sugarloaf course.
Improved Course Aesthetics
Sugarloaf is working to improve course aesthetics with a renewed emphasis on landscaping throughout the course, including around the clubhouse and practice facilities. Crews are also working to reclaim areas that have been lost or overgrown over the years, including the ditch and culvert area on number ten. The improved attention to detail throughout the course will provide an improved all-around experience for all golfers.
Future Maintenance Initiatives:
Sugarloaf, in collaboration with the Town of Carrabassett Valley and the Sugarloaf Greens Committee have established a future maintenance plan that will work to continue the dedication to increased playability, course aesthetics, and turf health that has been established over the past several seasons. This initiative will ensure that the Sugarloaf Golf Club maintains its sterling reputation as one of the country's premier public courses.