The Frye Island Golf Course was first named Running Hills. An 18 hole course was one of the amenities in the original plans drawn by the development company, Leisure Living, who purchased the Island in 1964. Clearing for roads and building lots was started in 1965, but, it was 1970 before the Golf Course project got underway. The course was designed by Geffrey Cornish and the preliminary work for all eighteen holes was accomplished by 1971. Many of the 50 or so property owners of that time were becoming impatient with the developer, so a decision was made to concentrate on the completion of nine holes in order to allow play to start. What was to have been the second nine was completed in 1972 and the course opened for play on Memorial Day week-end of that year. In subsequent years, Leisure Living experienced financial problems and no further work was ever done on the first nine holes.

Rolling Hills struggled along for a few years and then began to take shape when the first qualified greens keeper, Bill Everett, was hired. In recent years, under the guidance and expertise of greens keeper Ed Larrabee, the course is now considered one of the finest in the area. A very capable Gerry Adams was named Pro for Running Hills in May of 1976.

One very serious handicap for Running Hills was the complete lack of any of the facilities normally associated with a Golf Course. The one sorry and inadequate exception was a make-shift Pro Shop in a shed, left from a boy's camp on the Island. It served as a place to collect green fees and had a few golf supplies available for sale. The shed is currently used by the greens keeper to store equipment.

On March 11, 1979, the FII Board of Directors voted to change the name from Running Hills to Frye Island Golf Course. The course itself had reached the stage of being a quality facility. A golf committee had been formed earlier and this group has to be credited in large part for the steady improvement in the course. They, along with several other Island golf enthusiasts, performed many chores, i.e. brush cutting, raking traps, making signs, benches, etc. Though the play at Frye Island had been increasing each season, it had still not reached the point of being self sufficient financially. Being an Island amenity, this meant that the costs for operating the course had to be augmented by FII and therefore included as part of the annual fees billed to all the Island property owners. There were some owners who did not consider the Golf Course as being important to the Island and they strongly advocated shutting it down in order to lower the annual fees.

At the annual FII meeting on September 1, 1980, Paul Lyons, on behalf of the golf committee, made a presentation and plan for a new golf club house. Most Islanders in attendance recognized the dire need for such a facility, but decided that not enough favorable votes could be obtained to place the costs for this unit in the annual budget. In the May and August 1981 meetings, Paul Lyons again urged the FII Board to budget funds for a club house and once again it was deemed too large a sum to be included in the annual fees. After this last rejection, a core group of persistent and determined Frye Island golfers, spearheaded by Paul Lyons and Joe Andrews, came up with a plan to voluntarily raise the money needed to build the club house and to assist in the actual construction. Joe Andrews managed the financing by securing $1000.00 loans from about 15 golfers and many others donated cash in varying amounts. This positive action convinced the FII Board and they approved the offer at their meeting on November 11, 1981.

Two Frye Island architects, Preston Pollok and John Riley, donated their time and services to assist in designing the club house building and construction commenced in the Spring of 1982. Islander Don Theriault and his crew were contracted to install the foundation and septic system and to build the shell. From that point on, a dedicated group of 35 to 40 golfers, led by experienced builder Paul Lyons, gave up their vacation time and week-ends to install equipment, wiring, build wall partitions and a bar and accomplished all of the other chores required to completely finish what is today our very attractive and utilitarian Frye Island Golf Club House.

Much of the unqualified success of the Frye Island Golf Course must be credited to a devoted and dedicated group of golfers led by a hard working golf committee. Their voluntary accomplishments of the past, are readily discernible in the condition of the course; the new deck and stairs at the club house, the new bridge on #6, and numerous other improvements. They still continue to donate their time and skills to scheduling activities, setting rules and rates, and to maintaining and upgrading the overall property to make it more convenient and enjoyable for all of us. It would be difficult to name and thank each individual, but a perusal of the plaque at the club house listing the charter members would serve to honor most of those who have been deeply involved.

Today's Frye Island Golf Club is one of the finer recreational facilities in the Sebago Lake area, as well as being one of the prime assets of Frye Island itself. The play and popularity of our course has steadily increased since the wavering beginnings of a Running Hills that had to be subsidized annually to what now represents a profitable operation contributing toward alleviating the costs of running the Island.

 

Blue Line

Posted: 05/08/2007