CARRABASSET VALLEY — Seven-time Maine Women’s Amateur champion Abby Spector has paid her dues as an assistant golf pro for several years and Monday she reaped those dividends as Sugarloaf Golf Club named her the course’s first female head golf pro.

Spector will be in charge of golf instruction at the Sugarloaf Golf School, including the Nike Junior Camps. She’s currently finishing her fifth winter season as an assistant pro at Gaspirilla Inn and Club in Boca Granda, Fla. During the summer she’s worked at several courses including Lake Winnipesaukee and the Balsams in New Hampshire, Natanis and Val Halla Golf Club in Maine, and The Country Club in Brookline Massachusetts.

“I feel like I’ve been an assistant pro long enough,” Spector said Monday from Florida. “I wanted to move up. I’ve been looking all over the place. Most golf courses are looking for female teaching pros. When Sugarloaf came up I was pretty excited.”

The Carrabassett Valley course is expected to open by Memorial Day or perhaps a week sooner, according to communications manager Ethan Austin. Spector expects to report by mid-May. She replaces Steve Niezgoda, who served as head pro for two years and has moved on to another course operated by Boyne Resorts, the parent company of Sugarloaf.

“She’s got a great resume,” Austin said. “She’s a great representative for a classic Maine golf course like Sugarloaf. Anyone in Maine who knows the name Abby Spector knows she has a great personality and a lot of energy.”

Spector, 31, had already applied for a head pro’s position at a course in North Carolina when she heard of the Sugarloaf opening. She felt her gender held her back in North Carolina.

“I’m ready for the next step in my career and I can’t get a job because I’m a woman,” she said. “I was pretty upset about the whole thing then I got the job from Boyne. They were looking for a woman.”

In addition to her seven Maine Amateur titles, Spector won the New England Amateur in 2001 and four schoolgirl championships while attending Waterville Senior High School. She attended the University of North Carolina on a full golf scholarship and won the Pine Needles Invitational, a Division I event, in 2002. She graduated in 2004. Her competitive playing career effectively ended in 2003 following complication following heart surgery.

She has not had much chance to play this winter but expects to get on the course more at Sugarloaf.

“I’m hoping to play a lot this summer in pro-ams and tournament,” she said. “My dad will tune me up when I get there.”

Spector is undecided if she’ll return to Gaspirilla next winter although the two jobs appear compatible.

“It might work out perfectly,” she said. “But it’s still up in the air.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

 


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