Founded in 1921, Martindale Country Club had brothers Alex and Fred Chisholm to thank for setting out an initial 9-hole layout. Alex was the professional at Portland Country Club and Fred became Martindale’s first course superintendent.
Philip Wogan, Skip’s son, added a second nine in 1963 before Geoff Cornish and Brian Silva revised the layout in the late ‘80s.
Owner Nick Glicos told us in December 2020: “I just closed on sole ownership, having had a 25% stake for the past ten years. It was time to make the change as Martindale turns 100 years old this coming season. It’s a great club with a rich history. I got here in 2007 and have tried to keep with the traditions. We have 425 members and a very young membership of strong players, ten of whom have a zero or plus handicap.
We have kept the integrity of the course intact and have not redesigned it to this point though we have plans to add a few tee boxes, redesign the 11th green and also add some bunkers (as well as removing a few that don’t affect the play or competitive aspect of the course). Otherwise, we want to keep with the current ‘firm and fast’ set up and give the players options.”
It took me a number of years to make it to the ‘Dale despite living in relative proximity to Auburn. For this, I am disappointed because what I found was a delightful golf course on a delightful piece of land, highlighted by the fall foliage on the precipice of falling completely.
Martindale maintains a reputation for no-nonsense golf played at a steady clip. It has developed a loyal membership but also welcomes outsiders like myself to experience what they have to offer. The clubhouse is actually quite beautifully situated, but it is not trying to emit a vibe of exclusivity. The locker room is utilitarian at best, however, it is a place that I could envision spending many hours passing the time chewing someone’s ear off about missed putts and flagged shots. You step out to the first tee with a smile on your face knowing that you have a great round ahead of you.
The first hole offers a first taste of the elevation change that will occur as you meander around the Little Androscoggin River Valley. The elevation change across the holes is actually the best defense on the front-nine, often wavering between clubs with wind and slope at play. The small but dynamic greens on the front played slow but true on the front. My favorite holes on the front were 8 and 9. Hole 9 is a downhill par-3 playing back downhill to the clubhouse. With the wind and the slope adjustment, this hole could play anywhere from 120-220 yards.
Hole 10 offers a wonderful view and a well-struck drive will funnel down into the desired landing area. The green on 10 gives you your first look at the “New Nine” and the exciting and canted greens that will come into play on every hole from here on out.
The par-5 12th is another memorable hole capping out at 603 yards. This true three-shot hole plays parallel to the Little Andro river and offers a well-protected and dynamic green to collect third shots.
Every hole was fun at Martindale and it was an enjoyable experience and walk. It plays into the idea that while Maine may not have the sheer number of courses, each one hold its own piece of Maine golf lore and allure. Martindale actually fits into the handful of public courses that maintain affordability and quality. It does not have an island green or the length of neighboring Fox Ridge, but it has a collection of well-manicured holes that earn it a spot in higher-ranked course discussions.
I recommend without hesitation.
Think of all of the negative connotations associated with the game of golf today: a sport for the wealthy; slow, six hour rounds; stuffy clubhouse environments.
Martindale Country Club in Auburn, Maine breaks every single one of these stereotypes. On a recent visit during a Wednesday (!!) afternoon, I encountered a course that was full of energy. The tee sheet was packed, yet our group took less than four hours to get around; people from all walks of life and of all skill levels were taking advantage of the club’s golf amenities; and, even the restaurant had a line out the door of patrons trying to grab a delicious bite to eat. I knew I was in for a special round before I even got out of my car.
This type of inviting environment is rare, and it is therefore no surprise that the club’s leaders deeply care about culture. My praise to owner Nick Glicos and fellow professional Chris Carrier cannot be overstated. In my opinion, they should be writing the modern day manual on golf course management.
The golf itself at Martindale is as equally compelling as the dynamic community experience. As one would expect, with two nines built decades apart, the front and back sides vary in their style, though both present a plethora of challenges.
The front nine is routed over a steep, crowned hill which provides loads of memorable full shots. These include the thrilling blind approach at the 2nd which allows players who land the ball 30 yards short to funnel balls down onto the putting surface, the naturally tilted fairway at the 3rd, the wild crowned landing zone at the 7th, the infinity green 8th followed, and the plummeting par three 9th to finish the roller coaster.
On the back nine, the main storyline is the absolutely terrifying green complexes. Each seems to slide away in all directions. Even along the gentler topography of the Little Androscoggin River, golfers can use knobs and speed slots to keep their ball in play through the tighter, forested corridors. A wise player can utilize the options available even when at first glance, the playing field seems narrow.
It is no surprise that Martindale has such a dedicated membership. The entire property – in its ruggedness, simplicity, and accessibility – captures the true spirit of Maine golf. It is a delightful facility for any golfer whether they are visiting the area for the first time, or experiencing the course as a regular local patron.