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.
Date: January 05, 2016