Maidstone Golf Club fulfills all the criteria of a St. Andrews-like links course: situated between the ocean and farmland, nine holes out and nine holes in, very few trees, strong bunkering, and no irrigation on the fairways.
Maidstone was founded in 1891 as a tennis and swimming club for wealthy summer residents. Three years later, in 1894, a rough three-hole course was created. This became a nine-hole course designed by the Scotsman Willie Tucker in 1896, and expanded to a full 18 in 1899 by Adrian Larkin, a member of the club. Willie Park, Jr. designed the 80-acre Gardiner Peninsula addition in 1922. The expansion resulted in the club having two 18-hole courses, but this was reduced to the current 27-hole layout by the Hurricane of 1938. The number of holes and their locations changed during the first half of the 20th century; now Maidstone contains 27 holes, with a nine-hole course used by the youngest and oldest members.
The ocean plays a major role in playing the course. On the practical side, the prevailing southwest and occasionally shifting winds can wreak the same havoc as on a course on the coast of Scotland. Two of the holes â€“ 9 and 14 -- are right in the dunes and surrounded by colorful but prickly beach vegetation. Maidstone has the distinction of these two holes being part of Golf Magazine's list of 100 greatest golf holes in the U.S.
The Eighteen Course is a par-72 course, at 6390 yards, is a short one but nature will take its toll on golfers. In addition to the wind, with half the holes tee shots have to carry over marshland vegetation, and seemingly at every turn there are clumps of gorse-type brush, cattails, and reeds. The most difficult stretch, is 7 through 10.
The Eighteen Course at the Maidstone Club plays to a par72 and maximum distance of 6,390 yards. Designed by William H. Tucke. and Adrian larkin The Eighteen Course opened in 1894.
The Eighteen Course features several holes that play over and around a tidal marsh, but the main attraction are holes 7-14, which play through and over sand dunes next to the ocean.
#7 demands that players hit a 145-yard shot to a green that is partially hidden by a massive dune; a small stake on the top of the dune provides a line of attack. Depending on the wind direction (it is often into the players' faces), golfers could need anything from a 9-iron to a 3-iron in order to find the green.
#9 is perhaps the greatest links hole in America, with waves from the Atlantic washing onto the beach beside the tee box. The tee shot demands a controlled drive through the wind and between large dunes, and the approach shot is uphill to a large green that is heavily sloped and protected by pot bunkers and a severe drop off on the right.
#13, a par-3 may be the prettiest hole on the course, with players hitting back into the wind from an elevated tee to a large green. The Atlantic Ocean in the background provides a beautiful backdrop.
The Nine Course at the Maidstone Club facility plays to a 9-hole par-36 and maximum distance of 2,668. Designed by Willie Park, Jr., the Nine Course opened in 1922.
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