The reaction of players in the 15th Bar Harbor Bank & Trust Open over the weekend was probably universal.
“That’s the worst weather I’ve ever played in,” said Dave Mitchell of Ellsworth.
More than 4 inches of rain fell over the weekend starting early Saturday and continuing until late Sunday afternoon.
Preparation was the key, according to Mitchell, who won the tournament by seven strokes with rounds of 3-over-par 72 at Northeast Harbor Golf Club on Saturday and 1-under 70 at Bar Harbor Golf Course in Trenton on Sunday for a 142.
“Sunday was one of the best rounds I’ve ever played,” said Mitchell, who has won the event in the past, “and I owe it all to rain gloves – and a good rain suit.”
Don Baril, vice-president of development and marketing for Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth, which conducted the tournament, said one of the players he knows bought a pair of rain gloves Saturday.
“He was surprised how well they worked and how warm they kept his hands,” said Baril.
The gloves are designed to grip better when they’re wet rather than trying to repel water. Regular leather gloves get slippery and clubs can slip right out of a player’s hands.
Approximately 300 men and women signed up, and the field was split between the two courses, everybody playing one the first day and switching to the other the second day.
“There were six no-shows at Northeast Harbor on Saturday,” said Baril, who was a volunteer worker for both days at Northeast Harbor.
Sixteen teams, he said, were no-shows on Sunday.
“I’ve been doing this [conducting tournaments] for 38 years and these were the worst two days I’ve seen,” said Baril.
While some players wondered if conditions were too bad to play in, the organizers – with a nod from the club staff – allowed play to continue.
“The folks that did the actual scoring decided if people wanted to play, they’d let them,” said Baril.
One concession that was made at Northeast Harbor was that riding carts could not go out Sunday.
“They used carts at Bar Harbor [on Sunday]. I talked to Charlie [Crowley, the manager and co-owner at Bar Harbor Golf Course] and he was surprised how well the course came through,” said Baril.
While Northeast Harbor had some greens with streams of water running across them Sunday, Bar Harbor Golf Course fared much better.
“There was no water on the greens at all,” said Mitchell.
He thinks the rain may have even helped him.
“I almost concentrated better with the rain,” he said. “And I had to slow down my swing with all the clothes I had on.”
The good news from the weekend, according to Baril, was the money the hospital raised through the tournament.
“We’ll net out about $28,000 for the hospital, and that’s a good thing,” said Baril. The money will go to equipment needs and treatment programs.
Would Mitchell do it again, given the same conditions?
“When I was out there, I said I wouldn’t, but now I probably would,” he said with a little laugh. “It was actually kinda fun.”
Drive, Chip & Putt
A free golf skills competition for children ages 7-14 will make its only Maine appearance June 25 in Westbrook.
The Mutual of Omaha Drive, Chip & Putt presented by The Golf Channel, which is open to children regardless of their golf experience, will be held at Sunset Ridge Golf Links.
The first 250 registrants will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis from completed forms available at www.TheGolfChannel.com, Sunset Ridge Golf Links, or by calling 207-854-9463. Participants will be notified by mail, phone, or e-mail.
Competitors will be divided into four age groups: 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, and 13-14. Winners at local events will have the opportunity to compete in a regional event and, possibly, the national championships.
For more details, visit www.TheGolfChannel.com and click on the Drive, Chip & Putt button.
Dave Barber can be reached at 990-8170, 1-800-310-8600, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.