SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Mount Desert Island is just one stop on Phil Martola’s journey through life. But during his short stay here, he’s already made his metaphorical divot.
Martola, who works on the Causeway Club grounds crew, beat out Ryan Miller for the Men’s Club Championship title on Aug. 20. Martola was six up with five holes to go in the 36-hole match-play tournament. His victory was decided on the 30th hole.
“Every day when I get off work, I get to come here and play until the sun goes down,” Martola said. “I just try to have fun with it, but that day, I happened to play some of the best golf of my life.”
The 22-year-old West Bend, Wis., native had never been to Maine prior to June of this year. He said he has a “travel bug,” which led him to MDI.
A high school golfer, Martola applied to be on the grounds crew at nearly every golf course in Maine.
Martola graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May, where he played football for four years. Soon after graduation, he got in his car and drove until he got to the Causeway Club.
He has been on the grounds crew since June and plays golf every day, but said he doesn’t take the game too seriously.
Martola also has played at Northeast Harbor Golf Club, but not yet at Kebo Valley in Bar Harbor.
“I want to play all of the courses [on the island] and some others nearby,” he said.
Martola may want to get in all the golf he can because in February, he will head to Madagascar to serve in the Peace Corps for 27 months.
While the country does have a handful of golf courses, Martola’s focus will be on using his horticulture degree to help the people of the country improve their farming.
After the Peace Corps? Who knows.
“I may just end up back here,” said Martola. “I love it here.”