According to Samoset Resort’s head golf pro, Gary Soule, what qualifies a truly top golf hole is a delicate mix of beauty and skill.

First built in 1902 with nine holes, Samoset’s golf course received a makeover in 1974, expanding to 18 holes designed by renowned architect Robert Elder. Since then, it has become one of the top golf courses in Maine and has even been regularly ranked among the best American golf resorts by Condé Nast Traveler. So what makes this course so special? And of all the golf getaways you could plan, why head to Maine? Because the 6,548-yard course is as much about a walk in nature as it is about golf. In fact, the most beautiful features – the thicket of trees, the Penobscot Bay ocean views – are precisely what make it challenging and can play havoc on even the most seasoned player. “It’s quite difficult at times, to be honest; it’s hard to concentrate at times because of the beauty; it’s simply amazing,” Head Golf Pro Gary Soule says. Here are a few of his favorite holes.

Holes 2, 3, and 4

“On all three of these holes, you have the ocean over your left shoulder,” Soule says. “You see the whole Penobscot Bay from the right side; there’s the fairway, a little bit of rough, then the ocean. You can literally watch lobstermen pull the lobster traps and pull the lobsters out of the traps on the shoreline. At Hole 4, standing on the tee at low tide, you can see the seals sunning on the rocks out on the bay.” The 4th is also the Samoset’s signature hole, a dramatic par-5 dogleg left that hugs the coast and also features a beautiful seawall.

Hole 19

“For most lady golfers, the 19th hole is the most challenging,” Soule says of this par-4 that is 300 yards from the green tee and 365 from the gold. That’s because you need some serious muscle for the 130-yard carry over a pond with a shooting fountain to reach the putting surface.

Hole 12

This is another challenging but extremely rewarding hole if you can manage the dogleg-left 535-yard stretch in under five swings. With a tee shot through a chute of trees, “It’s a very narrow hole with woods on both sides of the fairway,” Soule says. “The green is also narrow and well bunkered.”

Hole 14

At 545 yards from the gold tee, this is Samoset’s longest. “The 14th hole on a beautiful summer day is my favorite,” Soule says. “You might see a schooner pass directly behind the green, which is located at the water’s edge.” The schooners are often traveling to and from nearby Camden, which offers myriad tours on the classic vessels.

Where to Stay

Samoset Resort