Booth and Faxon Designing New Club in Maine

In fall 2002, Brad Booth and PGA Tour player, Brad Faxon, had finalized their design for a new private club in Wells, Maine. The project, which involves a par-72, 7,200-yard course and a par-3 nine, is awaiting final permits from the Wells planning board and the Maine Environmental Protection Agency.

The project, called Burnt Mill Country Club, is backed by Richard and Melodee James. Besides the 27 holes of golf, the plan involves a practice facility, a swimming pool, 44 condominiums and 36 single-family dwellings. The Jameses hope to begin construction on the courses in spring 2003, and open them the following year. Memberships are expected to cost $15,000, with annual dues between $3,000 and $4,000.

The 390-acre site is a former farm that has been owned by the James family since the 1800s. The Jameses plan to convert an existing barn into a clubhouse. Neighboring property owners have generally been supportive of the project, but have balked at the condos, fearing the homes will lower their property values.

Somewhat surprisingly, other golf course operators in the area are backing the new course. Donnell Sayward helps operate the Merriland Farms course in Wells, but he doesn’t believe Burnt Mill will adversely affect his business because the club will be private. Besides, the golf business in this part of the state is quite robust. “We’ve got such a large tourist area,” Sayward told Kennebunk’s York County Coast Star. “We’ve got plenty of room for more play. The courses are always full, and people are always looking for more courses to try. I welcome the idea.”

Booth seconded those thoughts. “You have to distinguish – this is a private course. The vast majority of new courses in York County are daily-fee courses.”

In late-July, Richard James expressed his excitement about the project. “It’s going great,” said James. “We’re just in the infancy stages. We’ve drawn up the routing plan with Brad Booth.”

Booth has several notable design credits in his portfolio. Recent entries in Maine include The Ledges in York. That course was recognized in 1999 by Golf Magazine as one of the nation’s top daily-fee courses. The Ogunquit, Me., native also designed two other layouts in the state, Cole Farms in Gray and The Meadow in Litchfield. A current project is the renovation of Samoset Resort in Rockport.

“It’s been a real pleasure working with the Jameses,” said Booth. “They’ve had the land in the family for quite some time – 100 years or more. I’m local as well. It’s nice to do something locally of this caliber.”

In a statement, Faxon said of the proposed course, “The land at Burnt Mill is perfectly suited for a challenging and fun championship golf course. Brad Booth and I intend to make this course one of the finest in New England, and a showpiece of environmental harmony.”