By Chris Ceman, Communications Intern
The Maine Event
The Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Sugarloaf is the first-ever AJGA event to be played in the Pine Tree State. Located on the southern-edge of Carrabassett Valley, Maine, Sugarloaf Golf Club has been recognized by Golf Digest as the top golf course in Maine for 28 of the 29 years it has been open. Playing an AJGA event in their home state for the first time this year are seven players from all across Maine.
At a peak elevation of 4,260 feet, Sugarloaf Mountain is home to some of the best ski slopes in the country, and during the winter time, it transforms into a tourist hot-spot. The locals say that anyone who comes to the mountain becomes a “Sugarloafer” for life. For the golfers that make the trip, it is definitely a hard-earned moniker; the course has a rating of 74.4 and a slope of 145, and the course has played so tough, that nobody shot even-par in the first ten years of the course's history.
The volunteers that have come from around the mountain have been incredible throughout the tournament, and surprisingly some of them have some recognizable names. One of our water rovers cruising around the course is two-time Olympic gold medalist snowboarder, Seth Wescott. Also shuttling players up to the top of No. 11 tee is Mike Soboleski, who has been in almost every episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit as a police officer.
Two years ago a powerful hurricane tore through Maine and came directly over the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. Nos. 11 through 15 were hit the hardest, because they are located alongside a river. During the storm, the adjacent river rose 19 feet and wiped out three bridges and No. 12 green. The golf course has since recovered from the incident, and renamed No. 12, “The Hurricane.”
This is the second AJGA tournament of the year sponsored by Coca-Cola, the first being the Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands. As of 2011, as a company, Coca-Cola was worth more than Pepsi, Starbuck and Red Bull combined. An impressive advertising and branding campaign has solidifies Coca-Cola as one of the most recognizable companies in the world, with and incredible 94 percent of the world’s population being able to identify the red and white logo.
String of Pearls
The Par-4 No. 10 at Sugarloaf Golf Club is the signiature hole. With a huge elevation drop off the tee with a narrow landing zone nestled between the woods of Sugarloaf Mountain, it is both beautiful and difficult. Renowned course designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed Sugarloaf Golf Club, and called No. 10 his "string of pearls," which is incredible considering he built close to 500 golf courses during his career.