When he graduated from Husson University in 2006, Ross McGee wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life, only that it would involve golf.

Nearly a decade removed from college, McGee, a Lawrence High School graduate, is happy living and working in Florida around the sport he loves.

“I never really envisioned myself getting out of golf,” McGee said. “I just love it so much. I’ve been doing it since I was 14.”

McGee is preparing to play in a U.S. Open local qualifying tournament Thursday at Old Corkscrew Golf Club in Estero, Fla. It’s the first step in a long process to earn a spot in the U.S. Open, that will be held June 18-21 at Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, Wash., which sits on Puget Sound between Tacoma and Seattle.

If McGee plays well at Old Corkscrew, he can advance to a regional qualifying tournament, then a sectional qualifier, before the U.S. Open. Depending on the conditions and the field of players, 75 could be enough to advance to the next qualifying round, McGee said.

“(Old Corkscrew) is a Jack Nicklaus signature course. It’s tough,” McGee said. “I’ve played it a couple of times and struggled to break 80.”

McGee said the strength of his game is his driver.

“I’m most confident in driving,” McGee said. “Where it really matters, though, is the short game. That’s where you make your money.”

McGee was inducted into the Husson Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. As a member of the golf team, McGee helped Husson win three Maine state championships and three New England Division III titles. McGee was twice named North Atlantic Conference Player of the Year and also was named to the All-New England team three times.

McGee is working in the pro shop at Eagle Lakes Golf Club in Naples, Fla. While courses in Maine are just beginning their season, Eagle Lakes — like many courses in Florida — is hitting the slower time of year.

“We have a lot of players coming from the north in winter. In February we’ll do 200 rounds per day,” McGee said. “Right now, we’re at around 50 rounds per day.”

• • •

The Meadows Golf Club in Litchfield was one of the first courses in the state to open this year, on April 17. In the month since it opened, the course has remained in excellent shape, manager Mary O’Meara said.

“All the guys are telling me it’s playing like it’s August,” O’Meara said. “They’re getting the bounce and roll.”

This past winter didn’t do nearly as much damage to golf courses in Maine as the winter of 2013-14, and Meadows was able to open with all 18 holes playable, with carts.

“We plowed the cart paths the week before we opened, and then we had a good melt,” O’Meara said.

If O’Meara could improve on anything, it would be the weather forecast.

“We’d probably be doing better if the weather didn’t call for a chance of showers every day,” O’Meara said.

• • •

Clinton Golf Course expects to open Friday, May 29, manager Mike Brown said. That’s just a little later than most years.

“We usually shoot for the middle of May,” Brown said. “There’s not much play in May, so there’s no rush to get open. We’ll let everything green up.”

Clinton came through the winter in great shape, Brown said. The only big work being done on the course is the rebuilding of the tee on the ninth hole. The hole, a 411-yard par 4, overlooks a pair of ponds. The current tee sits high above the green. When the new one is complete, it will be two feet lower, with an increased surface area. The new look should entice more players to try to hit over the water, a just under 200 yards from the tee.

“The average guy has a chance to hit it over the pond if he chooses,” Brown said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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