Northeast Harbor Golf Club began with nine holes in 1895, before moving to a new location in 1916 then developing a new 18-hole layout. Only one par four extends longer than 400 yards on an old-fashioned track measuring a mere 5,606 yards from the back tees.
Holes 1 to 6 and 13 to 15 were designed by Arthur Lockwood, with Herbert Strong setting out the second nine which came into play in 1925. These holes fell into disrepair during World War II but six were brought back into use in the mid-1970s.
Eventually, the final three holes were reinstated by Geoff Cornish through the generous donations of some summer residents and the hard work of other year-round residents. The par four 17th hole is now dedicated to all those who helped the club complete the expansion project.
With apologies to longer hitting readers, I confess that I like Northeast Harbor. Yes, the back tees measure only 5600 yards. And, yes, the longest par 4 is only 415 yards. And yes, the three par 5s are short. But many players will still have the opportunity to use many of their clubs as the five par 3s vary in distance from 127 to 210 and the uphill second shot on the dogleg par 5 ninth will likely require a fairway wood to get home in two. The greens are small, but with enough undulation to provide some challenge. Conditioning was fine in September 2020.
Half the holes are cut through forested land on the uphill part of the property and these are the strongest ones. During World War II, half the course was taken out of play. In the 1970s, six hole were restored and for a couple decades Northeast Harbor played as a 15 hole course. Eventually Geoffrey Cornish added three more holes and these are clearly different from the rest, with more bunkers than the other 15 put together. No doubt Cornish felt right at home in the hilly forested land, bringing him back to one of his earliest gigs, serving as construction foreman for Stanley Thomson at Nova Scotia’s Highlands Links in the late 1930s.