MANCHESTER — By the time the first day of school begins, some Maine high school fall sports teams will already be competing in regular season events.

Whereas most fall sports are still a couple weeks away from really kicking into gear, that’s not the case for those who will be competing on local golf courses this fall. With a season that starts earlier and runs faster than others, it’s a quick sprint to the finish for Maine’s high school golfers.

Wednesday marked the first day of countable competition for Maine golfers and, in part, the first official contests of the 2022-23 sports season. At the Augusta Country Club on Wednesday, golfers from Maranacook, Lawrence, Morse, Gardiner, Mount View and Oceanside competed.

Maranacook got off to a good start to the 2022 season with match victories over both Morse (175-203) and Lawrence (175-211). Junior Wyatt Folsom was medalist for the Black Bears with a nine-hole score of 40.

In a separate set of matches, Gardiner posted wins over Oceanside (177-187) and Mount View (the Mustangs did not field enough golfers for team score). The Tigers’ Jack Quinn claimed medalist honors in that match with a 38.

August matches are nothing new in Maine high school golf, with teams often playing three or four matches before the month concludes. The season typically starts a full week earlier before the other fall sports begin. Field hockey teams can play regular season games on Aug. 31, while soccer, volleyball, football and cross country clubs follow.


For one of the participating teams, Wednesday’s match came two full weeks before the first day of school. Morse will play five matches — half of the team’s 10-match schedule — before team members begin classes Sept. 8.

“It’s kind of nice because we’re able to get a lot of our matches out of the way before school starts,” said Morse head coach Mike Dutton. “There’s a lot of traveling you have to do, and when you’ve already played a bunch of matches, you don’t have that conflict.”

The turnaround time from the first practices to match play is a quick one for players and coaches. With teams not eligible to begin fall practices until Aug. 15, just nine days passed between the first practices and Wednesday’s openers throughout the state.

Maranacook’s Wyatt Folsom follows through on a drive during a golf match Wednesday at the Augusta Country Club in Manchester. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“I think we’ve had around four full practice rounds so far, which is obviously not a lot to get ready for the first match,” said Maranacook head coach Ryan Meserve. “You have some kids who have played a bunch over the summer, so it’s good for them, but you also have some other kids who are just getting started and are a little rusty.”

It won’t be that long, either, before that regular season has already reached a conclusion. With the first matches and individual state qualifiers scheduled for the end of September, teams must be wrapped up with their regular seasons by Sept. 19 at the latest.

That means teams have a relatively tight window to get in their scheduled matches. It’s common, then, for squads to play matches on three or four consecutive days — exactly what Maranacook will do next week when it plays Cony on Aug. 30, Waterville on Aug. 31 and Erskine Academy on Sept. 1.

Morse’s Max Owen tees off during a golf match Wednesday at the Augusta Country Club in Manchester. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“It’s a pretty hectic start and then a mad dash to the finish, basically,” Meserve said. “You have a very condensed season, and you need to get a lot of golf in. Your practice time is also contingent on when these courses have course time, and they still have other tournaments and member stuff going on.”

In addition to being dependent on course times, teams must also account for when local courses close for the season. That’s an important factor in a state where the colder weather comes quickly, and the result is a sport that can’t go into November as its fall counterparts do.

“It’s fast, so you just have to go into it telling them to play and practice every day and encourage them to play on weekends,” Dutton said. “You want them to get out there and play and love the sport, and it’s important for them to do that while they can.”

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