FAIRFIELD — Angry Lobster Disc Golf has transformed a tree nursery into central Maine’s latest disc golf course. Owner and manager Mark Andre is eager to get players, new and old, out there to enjoy it.

“We’re really looking forward to having our first people come through and getting feedback from them,” he said. “I’m sure there’ll be some things that we want to do to improve the course after we get feedback. But that’s really kind of what we want the course to be about — we want this to be the golfers’ course, and we’re here to maintain and improve it.”

Disc golf popularity continues to grow in the region. Quarry Road Trails in Waterville recently announced they will open a disc golf course, and Quaker Hill Disc Golf in Fairfield has been around since 2003, where they have seen steadily increased popularity over the years.

The Angry Lobster course, located at 11 Ten Lots Road in Fairfield, opens Thursday and will be open from dawn until dusk. It costs $7 per round, or $10 per day, and visitors can pay at the pro shop, or there will be an honor drop box if the shop is closed.

The course features wooded areas left over from the property’s time as a tree nursery. It has 18 holes total, although two are temporary and will be replaced next year, as the final versions are still under construction. The course includes longer distances than other courses in the area, to help attract more advanced players, said Harley Lance Cole, Andre’s business partner, who helped design the course.

Once open, Cole will oversee the pro shop at the disc golf course.

“My main goal with the course was to try to help and elevate the game here in the state of Maine,” Cole said. “We have a lot of short courses, and I feel like it almost limits the talent that we’re able to reach for. So the main goal was to open it up and really give players a chance to reach their full potential.”

They have scorecards for both amateur and advanced players, so the course is accessible to any skill level.

There are plans to have a shop on the property as well, which will sell all the gear a disc golfer could dream of. The shop will be open in a limited capacity for now, with a few sets of discs for visitors to rent.

Club pro Lance Cole, left, and owner and course manager Mark Andre are looking forward to the opening of the new Angry Lobster disc golf course in Fairfield. The men on shown on the course Tuesday. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

The original plan was for the full shop to open with the course, Andre said, but the pandemic has disrupted the supply chain for gear. Many suppliers are having difficulty providing for current clients and are not taking on new customers.

“We would love to have it up and running this year, but with the pandemic and everything, it made it very hard to get on a dealer level with some of the companies,” Cole said. “They’re having trouble even supplying their own dealers already, so they’re not accepting new ones.”

The name comes from Andre’s time as a commercial lobster fisherman in the Florida Keys. When he was fishing, Andre would use a fiberglass stick to “tickle” the lobsters out of the holes they were in. One time when he brought his partner with him, she remarked that the lobsters looked angry as they were tickled out.

Later, when Andre was working on boat repairs, she said he looked like one of the “angry lobsters.” The nickname stuck, and Andre said it felt like the perfect name for the course.

Lobster signage greets disc golfers at entryway to the new Angry Lobster disc golf course at 11 Ten Lots Road in Fairfield on Tuesday. The new course opens Thursday. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

The disc golf course is the latest iteration in the long history of the property. It was originally part of a land grant from the English monarchy back in the 1700s and was a working farm for more than two centuries.

“It would have been a shame to see it go under for a housing development or some other use,” Andre said. “Having a disc golf course here is a nice way to preserve the property, and the land.”

Andre brought the property in 2004, and ran a tree nursery — Thornridge Farms Nursery — growing shade, ornamental and Christmas trees.

The nursery was a joint project with his brother, Andre said. And in the last several years as his brother’s health declined, the two stopped planting new trees and began phasing out the nursery, before officially closing in 2020.

Andre himself is fairly well-known in the area, as he ran several times for the House District 110 seat in the Maine State House of Representatives, and was involved in disputes with Colby College in Waterville about student voter registration and tax rates.

The idea for a disc golf course came from employees at the nursery, Andre said, who had often mentioned that the area would make a great course. So once the nursery closed last year, he began working on the course.

Club pro Lance Solo clears rocks as he and course manager Mark Andre, right, clear and area for a tee pad while working on the Angry Lobster disc golf course in Fairfield on Tuesday. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

“It’s probably the biggest landscape project I’ve ever done,” Andre said. “It was actually a really fun thing to do to, to go through and lay the course out, start building the stone walls, and all the tee boxes — it was just a lot of fun to put this together, and rewarding. It’s kind of like a big art project.”

And the terrain was surprisingly suitable for the course. In working on the landscaping, they only had to remove a few of the younger trees.

“It’s just a beautiful piece of property,” Cole said, “and we just want to share it with everyone.”

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