Maine’s rocky coast is filled with charming lighthouses, antique shops and more lobster shacks than you can shake a stick at. In Rockport on Maine’s midcoast approximately halfway between Portland and Bar Harbor you’ll find all of the above, plus a Championship golf course on a very unique piece of property. Samoset Resort and Spa is situated on 230 acres of beautiful waterfront property on Penobscot Bay. Originally built in 1902 as a 9 hole course it has since undergone several re-designs and the addition of 9 more holes to reach its current configuration.
The staff at the resort was nothing short of exemplary, we were warmly greeted with a smile and true down east hospitality. The lobby is warm and inviting, I couldn’t help but sit and enjoy the locally inspired artwork, antique timber beam construction and large stone fire place.
The resort which has been a staple on this beautiful piece of property since 1889 is in the midst of completing a multi-stage renovation. Guest rooms have been updated and modernized with all the amenities to make you feel at home. Great attention to detail has been placed on making the guest feel pampered. From the luxurious bathrobes provided for guests to large soaking tubs with separate showers, rest and relaxation is at your finger tips. The majority of rooms provide beautiful sweeping views of the championship golf course, Penobscot Bay and the Rockland Breakwater lighthouse which can be enjoyed from your private balcony complete with updated decking and patio furniture. The updates are nothing short of amazing, bringing Samoset Resort into the 21st century while maintaining the 19th century charm that have kept friends and family coming back for generations.
The clubhouse, pro shop and restaurant have recently undergone a major renovation and arriving early will give you the opportunity to pick up any extra balls or a windbreaker for that breezy day on the links. The course consists of everything you would find at a resort of this calibre, a short game practice area which includes a bunker, driving range and a practice green that is very representative of the greens you’ll encounter during your round. I would suggest hitting that practice bunker as there are 80 or so bunkers on the course, also practice pitching over the bunker as you may encounter that shot numerous times during your round.
The first hole is fairly straight forward with trees down the left and water down the right almost the entire length of the fairway, a decent drive will leave a slightly uphill approach to a deep, but narrow green, birdie can be had on this opening hole. Moving ahead to the third it can be easy to get distracted by the beautiful views of Penobscot Bay on this challenging uphill par 3 that shares a green with the 6th hole, a pull or hook for the right handed golfer and you’ll be reaching for another ball, par here is a good score take it and move on. The 503 yard par 5 4th hole is reminiscent of the 18th at Pebble Beach. The seawall runs down the entire left side of the hole from tee to green on this dogleg left, a good tee shot aiming at the cottages and you may be able to reach this green in two, just beware anything left of this fairway or green will end up in the bay. The green slopes from back to front, staying below the hole on your approach should leave a birdie opportunity. The 5th hole is a deceiving uphill par 3, it plays at least 1 to 2 clubs longer than its yardage and anything short right will leave an uphill bunker shot, again par here is a good score. Moving to the 8th a short par 4 that can be had with a good tee shot just be careful longer hitters could hit thru the fairway finding a gnarly lie and awkward approach to the green, birdie can be had with two good shots on this hole. The 9th hole is straight away par 4 that provides another good opportunity for birdie, a good tee shot will leave a short approach to a fairly large flat green a good way to finish the front side and start the back 9.
The back 9 provides a little bit of a different look, more of a parkland style course as opposed to the links style found on the front side. Starting at the 10th, it’s the first hole on the course that requires a shot directly over water on the approach. Longer hitters will want to take less than driver to avoid the water fronting the green leaving a short iron approach to the large pair shaped green. The 12th hole is the first of two par 5’s on the back side, at 535 yards it is reachable only by the longest of hitters. A good tee shot is at a premium as the hole doglegs to the left at about 240 yards, this hole is also lined by trees on both sides so keeping it in the fairway is necessity to shoot a good score.
The 13th hole is the hardest par 3 on the course, measuring 230 yards from the back tees with water down the center left of the hole. Short right of the green here is a good miss and par is a great score, take it and move on. The 14th is the longest par 5 on the golf course although it can be reached in two by longer hitters due to the downhill approach to the green, the view of Penobscot Bay on the approach can be a distraction so concentrate on your approach before admiring the beautiful scenery. The 16th hole brings you back along the seawall for another opportunity at birdie, this short par 4 is adjacent to the Flume Cottage, a private two bedroom cottage (you can rent) that is quite possibly the best place in Maine to spend your vacation. It’s a two bedroom self contained cottage complete with seaside deck, outdoor hot tub and dining area that provides stunning views of Penobscot Bay, oh and it comes with its own golf cart so you can easily travel throughout the resort. Hopefully you left something in the bag for the long par 18th, measuring at 478 yards from the back tees, it will take two good shots to reach the green, par is a great score on this demanding finishing hole.
The clubhouse has undergone an extensive renovation and is a great place to unwind after your round, grab a bite to eat and a cold beverage at the clubhouse grille. The covered veranda provides beautiful views of the golf course and a great place to talk about your round. Our group enjoyed the fish tacos, lobster roll and the rustic butchers burger all of which exceeded expectations for our post round appetites.
I found the course to be in excellent condition considering the recent extremely wet weather. Tee boxes were well cared for, the fairways were soft which was to be expected considering the recent heavy rain and the greens were in excellent condition, well struck putts rolled true and consistent on every hole. With views of Penobscot Bay on 14 of the 18 holes the course design maximizes its opportunities to provide beautiful scenery with a challenging but fair test of golf.
This little piece of heaven has everything you could want in a family vacation or a buddy’s golf trip. From bright clean modern accommodations that feature keurig coffee makers, charging hubs for all your wireless devices, 50” flat screen TV’s, refrigerators, internet access ,luxurious robes and inviting rooms, to food options that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. The Samoset is not just a summer destination check out their special winter activities which include a glacier ice bar & lounge for two weekends every winter. Don’t hesitate if you’re looking for Championship golf and a place the whole family will enjoy, look no further than Samoset Resort in Rockport Maine for your next vacation. I can’t wait to go back and play another round.
See more at https://www.samosetresort.com and check out the other Opal collection of resorts that provides luxury accommodations in the best locations up and down the East Coast. https://www.opalcollection.com
All photos taken from https://www.samosetresort.com