By Scott Taylor
After reviewing the Harborside International – Starboard Course last year, I was eager to go back to Chicago and check out the other Harborside Course – the Port Course.
As Mark Gregory and I were driving to the course, we could feel the intense wind from the highway, so we knew we would be in for a windy afternoon near the lake.
And, it was just that.
Throughout the round the wind came into play and it was more into the face than playing with the wind.
The course started right away with a hole into the wind with a bit of a cross wind. That knocked down my drive to the 346-yard opening hole (from the regular tees, 423 from the tournament tees) to more than 150 yards out for my approach.
The green has three bunkers to the short and left, and Mark found that out the hard way, as he found all three of them on successive shots.
After a morning of rain, the bunkers were hard, making them difficult to play on. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bunkers on the course, so in many cases, they played like a stroke penalty.
The second hole is a 479-yard par-5, which played straight into the wind. It was almost a par-6 and there was fescue off the rough, as was the case on many holes.
Finally getting some help from the wind, the par-4 third hole was playing just 337. However, you have to carry the fairway bunkers on the left or if you hit it right can end up in those bunkers. There are more bunkers on the right side of the green.
The fourth hole is a 179-yard par-3, which has a huge bunker all along the right side of a narrow green. The green slants left to right, so a bailout to the hill on the left makes it a hard up-and-down as the green will slope away from you.
Several more bunkers come into play on the right on the fifth hole and I was the one that hit two in succession this time off the fairway. There are more bunkers surrounding the green.
The sixth hole is a short par-3 at 115 yards and played into the wind and that was followed by a straight par-4 seventh hole that had a bunker guarding the left of the green and a bunch of tall grass to the right of the fairway.
Hole No. 8 had bunkers nearly the entire way down the left side of the hole, including one that snuck into the fairway, which I found. I managed to get the one on the green, somehow.
The ninth hole is a 485-yard par-5 that has a green on a left angle, making it hard to reach in two as, you guessed it, bunkers are numerous in front of the green.
The back nine begins with a par-4 and then moves to a par-5, which has a partially blind tee shot. Bunkers surround the green and one is to the right of the layup area.
The 12th is a long dogleg right where you can cut off some distance if you are a long hitter and can carry the bunkers. The fairway narrows near the green, making the approach shot more difficult.
Another short par-3 follows, which is right over a large bunker. That is followed by a long par-3 that has the bunkers in the form of an anchor in front of the green.
The 16th hole heads to the lake and it goes out into the fairway on the short par-4. You can’t bail out right though as there are bunkers scattered throughout. The water goes right up to the green, so you have to be accurate on your approach shot.
The lake comes into play again on 17 as the fairway is a dogleg left around the lake. You can try to cut off the dogleg but could end up in the water or another bunker just over the lake. It plays to another narrow green surrounded by bunkers.
The closing hole features Lake Calumet along the left of the narrow fairway. Your third shot plays to a green protected to the left by water and bunkers on both sides. The green is shared with the 18th green on the Starboard Course.
Overall I liked the course, but it wasn’t quite up to the Starboard’s level until the final stretch of holes. That final stretch rivals the Palmer Course at Lake Geneva for the best closing stretch of holes I have played. The bunkers and fescue force you to be accurate or you will pay for it. The greens were in good shape and were fairly fast.
Harborside was promoting a special where you could get a membership for $150 and get the first round free. If you play the course 3-5 times a year, it would be a great deal I feel.
As is, the course is the same cost as the Starboard, at $87 during the peak of the day, with a $75 fee in the morning and $56 after 3 p.m.
I would recommend playing both courses and trying to play in the evening if possible as the lowering sun and cheaper cost is a great combination for a pair of nice golf courses.