Kebo Valley - Maine - USA

Kebo Valley Golf Club,
136 Eagle Lake Road,
Bar Harbor,
Maine (ME) 04609,

  • +1 207 288 3000

  • David Closson

  • Herbert C. Leeds, Donald Ross

  • Peiter K. DeVos

The Kebo Valley course is situated on Mount Desert Island and it belongs to one of the oldest golf clubs in the United States. Formed in 1888, the club entrusted the creation of its original 6-hole layout to Herbert Corey Leeds, and it debuted three years later, around the same time that Leeds was putting the final touches to his celebrated Myopia Hunt course.

Five years further on, another three holes were appended and this 9-hole track remained in play until 1920, when the club acquired an additional 40-acre parcel of land, allowing it to expand the course and establish a full 18-hole layout that measures just over 6,100 yards nowadays.

Nestled between Cadillac and Dorr Mountain in Bar Harbor, the fairways at Kebo Valley are routed in an old-fashioned out-and-back manner close to Acadia National Park, with the 399-yard 13th hole an abiding memory for many as it features chocolate drop mounds in front of a sharply sloping green that tilts from right to left and back to front.

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Description: Situated on Mount Desert Island, the historic old layout at Kebo Valley Golf Club has been described as “one of those rare courses that seems both state-of-the-art and turn-of-the-century”. Rating: 6.7 out of 10 Reviews: 3
Ryan Book

Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park and indeed most of Mt. Desert Island has had little reason to change in the past century and, accordingly, neither has Kebo Valley Golf Club. This is not necessarily a complaint for the average (emphasis on "average") visitor; At 6,100 yards, Kebo will lend more appeal for those interested in the game's history than its scorecard. Although his foremost design came at Myopia Hunt, it's understandable why the Gilded Age members of the club held the land in similar regard; the views of Acadia National Park from nearly every teebox is easy on the eyes. Kebo Brook flows down from Cadillac Mountain and across No. 17, the course's signature hole; you will soon forget this however, in awe of the massive bunker built into the side of the hill that rises up to the green (President Taft spent 22 strokes to escape it). That bunker is the most obvious indication of Leeds' era and age, but the combination of Kebo and Cromwells Brooks around the fairways of Nos. 7, 8 and 9 make for the round's most exciting trio. Leeds did not necessarily approach the project with "Golden Age" design principles in mind. Donald Ross obsessives should beware making a lengthy side trip just to check a box; the Donald Ross Society will acknowledge that he never did any work at Kebo (although he did offer a few tips on fairway fertilizing to the then cash-strapped club). And thus the straightforward play of the course's original design exists today. For what they lack in slope and strategy, however, you'll be hard-up to find faster greens at any similarly-priced course in the United States. Spend some time on the putting green or prepare to be surprised when you reach on No. 1.

May 07, 2019
6 / 10
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Steve MacQuarrie

During Harry Vardon’s first tour of the U.S. he played Kebo Valley and declared its greens the finest he’d seen in the country. Among his opponents on that tour was Kebo’s designer, Herbert Leeds. Leeds is much better known as the designer of Myopia Hunt Club and the resemblance is immediate. Kebo’s first green is the mirror image of Myopia’s eighth—draped across the side of a sharp slope, challenging the player to prevent her/his approach shot from sliding completely off the putting surface.

That Leeds spent a lot more time and effort at Myopia becomes more obvious as one completes one’s round. There’s little line of charm here (only holes 5, 7, 8, 14 require any strategic thought from the tee) and too many unimaginative greens. Nearly half are flat as a crepe. The course is short and the conditioning is nothing to rave about. Finally the routing is poor. Part of this is due to roads which must be crossed 4 times, but The rest is unfortunate design also plays a role. The 7th green, for example is only about 50 yards from 8th tee, but due to the poor placement of a bridge, the golfer is forced to walk more than twice that distance.

The setting, bordering one of my favorite National Parks in the U.S. is spectacular. Maine has half a dozen courses ranked lower here that I would just as soon play.

August 28, 2017
4 / 10
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Peter Imber
The view from atop Cadillac Mountain on Mount Desert Island is not just one of the best in Maine, but one of the most beautiful in the entire country.The vistas, the ocean and the ideal summer weather made this area popular with America's wealthiest families. The Rockefellers, Carnegies, Vanderbilts and Astors all came here. And their presence explains why Kebo Valley is the eighth-oldest golf course in America and a terrific place to visit the beginnings of American golf.Kebo is old school and has not been revamped much since it was completed over a century ago and it is still a wonderful test of golf today. Its signature feature is a mammoth sand trap built into the hillside below the 17th green. It stands 35 feet high and is 50 yards wide and has intimidated both the rich and famous as well as average golfers like me.William Howard Taft was the first U.S. President to take up the game and in 1911, his encounter with Kebo's mini-desert on the 17th turned into one of those golf legends that have forever attached a name to a place. After scarring the sand so repeatedly that his caddy could have asked the President to have the site declared a disaster area on the spot, Taft holed out for a 27 and hence, the Taft Bunker got its name. But others came and fared better. Walter Hagen played two rounds at Kebo Valley in 1922. On his first, he carded a par 70, and then set out again and established the course record with a 67, a mark that stood for 50 years.Much of Kebo's layout is actually inside of Acadia National Park, although the course predates the park's establishment. Golfers share this place with whitetail deer, red fox and bald eagles. It's a great walk unspoiled and as well as a walk back in time.
January 05, 2016
10 / 10
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