A weekday round of golf is pretty rare for me. So when I get a chance to get away from the office early, I take advantage of the opportunity. I felt the best way to take advantage of this was to play a round a Harborside International Golf Center, which is located in Chicago, about 15 miles south of downtown Chicago. Harborside, which opened in 1995, is home to two 18-hole courses: the 7,104 yard Starboard Course and the 7,164 yard Port course. The courses, which opened in 1995, were both designed by Richard P. (Dick) Nugent. I’ve seen Mr. Nugent’s designs quite a few times while working on this project. He’s a well-known golf course architect who also designed many other top courses in Chicagoland, including Seven Bridges Golf Club and Klein Creek Golf Club, and remodeled even more courses in Chicagoland, including Course No. 3 at Medinah Country Club. For this round, Markus joined me to play the Starboard course, and we took advantage of their twilight rate, which drops the greens fees down by nearly half.

The course features four par-3 and four par-5 holes for a total par of 72 at a length 7,104 yards from the back tees. There are four sets of tees: the back Tournament tees, the 6,620 yard Championship tees, the 5,914 yard Regular tees, and the 5,110 Forward tees. The course is a traditional links-style course, formed from rolling hills with no trees. The fairways are uniquely designed but mostly straight, surrounded nearly completely by tall grass, humongous bunkers, or a whole side of water. Water hazards touch only four holes, all on holes during the final stretch of the back nine. You’ll likely need to carry water twice, both on par-3 holes, depending on which tee box you’re on. Otherwise, if you keep your shots from pushing or slicing right, you won’t have any issues with the water. In fact, try your best to keep all shots straight and accurate, because finding your ball in the tall grass is equally as challenging as finding your ball in a water hazard. Once it goes it, it likely won’t come back out. Being a links-style, the course is more known for it’s large bunkers, which are present near the fairways and greens on everyone hole except the 2nd (a 398 yard par-4). The greens are equally unique and challenging. The course places it’s pins in one of nine possible locations, so you’re likely not going to have the same putts for two different rounds.

As for my game this round… it’s probably what you expected. This is a really challenging course, and not having straight, accurate shots makes it even more challenging. I continued to push and slice my tee shots (I did break out the driver throughout the round). My accuracy was so bad that later in the round I started purposefully aiming far left, and it actually saved me a couple times. Other times, I found myself on the neighboring fairway, or worse, in the grass. The grass was more frustrating than anything. Not only on tee shots, but also on iron shots from the fairway. I’d hit toward the grass, see where it went it, but would never find it. My iron shots were pretty random, and I was still chunking the ball a couple times. My wedge shots were pretty good, while putting was really random. The greens were really challenging, and played fairly fast. I found myself putting up-hill many times, which made it difficult to figure out how much power I should put into the putt.

I ended up shooting a 103 for the round (31 over par, 50 on the front nine, 53 on the back nine). This consisted of one birdie (putted in from the fringe on the 7th hole, a 387 yard par-4), one pars, four bogeys, and a lot of double and triple bogeys. I also had 3 sand shots and five penalty shots, and I 1-putted five times and 3-putted three times. With a course like this, I’m perfectly fine with my score. As much as I like playing on links-style courses, I really dislike the tall grass. I know when I start hitting straighter, this won’t be much of an issue. Maybe I’ll save Harborside’s other course until I get to that point.

Harborside International Golf Center  Starboard Course – Scores & Stats
Course length: 6,620 yards (Championship tee boxes)
Course par: 72
Course rating/slope: 72.4/129 (Championship tee boxes)
My score: 103 (31 over par)

Harborside International Golf Center
11001 S Doty Ave
Chicago, IL 60628