Gregg Humphrey began playing golf at the Northeast Harbor Golf Club when he was a boy in the summer of 1976.
Now at age 66, the retired education professor has belonged to the Northeast Harbor club for over 30 years. During the peak season — July through Labor Day — club members may bring guests, but otherwise the course is private.
During the months of May, June and October, Humphrey plays every morning, seven days a week. He doesn’t just play the course every morning — he walks it.
“I am a walker…a 66-year-old walker,” he proclaimed.
However, walking this golf course is no small feat.
“[The course] has a mildly difficult walk due to a couple elevated tees,” said Chad Curley, the club’s head golf professional.
“I am trying to return to my youth,” Humphrey joked. “It keeps me in shape…I decided I wanted to finish my golfing life the way I started it — which is putting your clubs on your back and walking.”
Humphrey, who hails from Middlebury, Vt., begins his round at 7:30 a.m. and finishes at “no later than” 10.
“…When I finish it is about the time that everybody plays,” he said. “It’s a beautiful course… well worth it. It’s not a good walk spoiled…No, no it’s just the opposite.”
The club, with only nine holes to start, was formed in 1895. Most of the par-69 course lies on the old Corson Farm land. The club now boasts 18 holes, five traditional links-style and 13 wooded holes.
“It’s historic!” Humphrey exclaimed. “It’s my favorite course on Earth.”
Humphrey just recently returned from a trip to Ireland, where he played on “courses as ancient as [Northeast Harbor].”
“Ireland reminds me of Maine and Vermont…the New England feel because of the ocean,” he said. “These are what are called links courses because they’re on sandy soil on the ocean.”
Humphrey recently retired from his job as senior lecturer of education studies at Middlebury College in Vermont.
“I plan to play even more golf than I already do, which is plenty,” he said.
The mostly bent-grass course offers several elevated holes, beautiful views of the mountains and challenging holes where players will find the need to use all of their clubs.
“It’s good for players of all abilities,” Curley said.
The Northeast Harbor club has a casual atmosphere. There are no tee times. The club also is notable for being one of the few golf courses left in the country to allow pets, according to Club Manager Justin Small.
“The place is a gem, a hidden gem…it’s just a beautiful place,” Small said.
The club boasts a supportive membership from people all over the country.
“I almost feel like you’re taking a step back in time when you come here,” Curley said. “It’s very quiet and on a lot of the holes you feel like you are on your own golf course because you don’t see a lot of people, which is very unique.”
Northeast Harbor Golf Club
Where: 15 Golf Club Road, Northeast Harbor
Greens Fees (July 1-Sept. 2): Guest with member ($50) Junior under 18 ($25)
Cart Fees: $24 per rider for 18 holes, $12 per rider for 9 holes
Contact: 276-5335, www.nehgc.com