Review for Sugarloaf

Reviewer Score:


First off, I’d like to say wow what a course. The back nine at Sugarloaf in particular holes 10-16, dubbed Robert Trent Jones Jr’s pearl necklace are arguably some of the most scenic holes found anywhere.

Trent Jones Jr’s Pearls start off with hole #10 a downhill, let me rephrase down-cliff par 4. The hole is drivable but hit long and your ball will be in the river. As you approach the green the sound of rocks crashing by the force of the river blare out like a rock concert. The concert of rock plays not only along 10 but along 11-16 as well. Hole 10 at Sugarloaf is the first indication that you’re at a special place.

Hole 11, a down cliff par 3, 190 on the scorecard but in reality, 135-140 is all you’ll need. The river from the back of 10 cuts short and left of the green. Often the most photographed holes at Sugarloaf, #11 is a gem.

The 12th hole plays almost like two holes. With two different and very distinct set of tees right and left of the river that will drastically change the approach into the green.

Hole 13, though the sound of the river can be heard, the hole offers no exceptional view of it, till you reach the green. A strong hole by design merits in its own right.

The 14th another river hole, however nothing crazy off the tee, expect hitting driver may leave your ball swimming if 290+ drives are a staple of your game. The approach goes over the swell and torrent of the river, exposing Maine’s ruggedness and wildness.

15th this nasty little par 3 leaves a lot of golfers reaching for a second ball. The river punishes any shot short, left and right of the green. What about clubbing up then? The forest will punish shots hit long.

Lastly 16, a dogleg right, hitting over the river off the tee, the 16th is a setter hole in its own right. Cut the corner and your challenged with bunkers.

If Sunday River is the more subdued younger brother, Sugarloaf is the eccentric in your face older brother. A polarizing design that will leave strong impressions on golfers.

As mentioned by others, Sugarloaf is a mountain resort course with that in mind, many who come to Sugarloaf come and play infrequently. With this in mind, I think the general criteria changes, a larger emphasis on “wow” is placed as many golfers including myself cannot play a course as remote as Sugarloaf consistently. Sugarloaf does not disappoint.

Date: July 10, 2020

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