BOOTHBAY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Some of the greats from the sports world are in the Boothbay area this weekend for the annual fundraiser for Special Olympics.
They'll be playing golf at the Boothbay Golf Club Saturday. The event includes retired pro football, hockey and baseball players, many of whom have played in this charity event for a number of years. Last year, the celebrity tournament raised $42,000 for Special Olympics.
But this year the golf course itself is also making news. The course was on the auction block last year, until a wealthy local resident named Paul Coulombe bought it. Since then, Coulombe has invested significant amount of money into renovating the golf course itself, with more to come.
Dan Hourihan, owner of Nonesuch River Golf Course in Scarborough and Dunegrass in Old Orchard, has been hired asgeneral manager. Hourihan says their goal is to make the Boothbay Harbor course "world class", and draw many more people from all over Maine and New England to play there. "And there's going to be nothing else like it in Maine and probably New England of this caliber", says Houriham.
Regular players noticed big changes in landscaping in the spring, and then construction or a large driving range. With summer now over, construction on the course has increased significantly. Specialists have been hired from Vermont to reconfigure most of the sand traps, replacing drainage and the sand itself, and even changing the shape and contours of the many traps. New tees are being built to take better advantage of natural features of the landscape, according to Hourihan. At least one new green will be built. They hope to be able to start work on a new clubhouse next year to replace the aging log building they currently use.
Hourihan says they believe the renovated course can become an important attraction for the Boothbay region, and that it will draw more visitors to local businesses, particularly hotels and restaurants. But organizers of the celebrity golf tournament believe it5 will also help them. Co-chairman Tony Krazon says the tournament already benefits from significant business support, but he believes having the upgraded course and the new clubhouse could help them attract larger corporate sponsors, which would then help the tournament raise more money for Special Olympics.