Four holes on the back nine of the Bangor Municipal Golf Course’s 18-hole layout will look different this season as a result of changes prompted by the Bangor International Airport and the Federal Aviation Administration.
The most notable change includes the removal of trees at the 14th, 15th, 17th and 18th holes.
Due to an upcoming runway resurfacing at Bangor International Airport, the FAA ruled that the trees “penetrated critical surfaces from the end of the runway,” Bangor Muni golf pro Rob Jarvis explained. This meant that the trees were taller than what is safely allowed near the airport.
Jarvis said that most of the trees were Eastern pines, and while he wasn’t sure exactly how many trees were removed, there were five acres worth of trees of all different sizes.
“They couldn’t be trimmed because they would look foolish and they couldn’t be shaped, either,” Jarvis said. “The biggest swath that was removed was between 14 and 15.”
Despite the removal and trimming of trees on several holes, Jarvis said that the course will not necessarily be easier to play. Bangor Muni is adding several elements to the course in those locations.
“We are going to add two fairway bunkers on the left side and another on the right side on 15,” Jarvis said. “It will play more difficult if you miss the fairway.”
Bangor Muni will also be planting thick fescue grass where some of the trees were.
“It will be pretty penal if you hit it in there. You will be in knee-high grass and you aren’t going to find your ball,” he said.
The 14th hole will also have fescue where some of the trees were.
Jarvis said the 17th and 18th holes will also have some new wrinkles but they will be minor compared with 14 and 15.
“And the views will be incredible. It is really going to look good,” Jarvis said.
In addition, Jarvis said Bangor Muni will be improving its drainage systems on several holes.
“I think the golf course will be better because of it. Some of the holes will get more airflow and sun which will dry it out quicker,” Jarvis said.
Jarvis credited Bangor International Airport Director Tony Caruso with providing Bangor Muni with “all the resources we need to make sure the project comes out perfect” and making sure the course isn’t harmed.
Jarvis has posted videos of the project on Bangor Muni’s Facebook page and members have weighed in on the changes.
“Everyone has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Jarvis, who added that ongoing projects will cause minor disruptions during the season.
The Muni also has the Kelly Nine, a nine-hole layout, that won’t be disrupted by the renovations.
He praised Family Forestry LLC in Brewer and C & C Lynch Excavation in Dedham for their work on the project.
“They have been amazing,” Jarvis said. “A lot of it was done in the dead of winter in a short amount of time. I’m baffled how they did it.”
Jarvis expects the course to be open in mid-April, which has been the norm in most years, and to be in excellent condition.
“We had some ice on the greens but [superintendent Jonathan Burnett] cleared it off,” Jarvis said.