Alister MacKenzie is known for several iterations of the “boomerang” green, and Dick Nugent was determined to create his own version, or several, at the Port Course at Harborside International.
The most notorious example, perhaps in all of golf, is the par three at No. 15. This 60-yard long green curves like a crescent around an enormous waste bunker. Most won’t even notice the sand portion however, for the enormous anchor-shaped surface that exists to play into the complex’s nautical theme.
Players will finally get a taste of actual water at the following hole, when they play the short par four, with a green that sticks out into the Harborside Marsh Pond. No. 17 is a Cape-style par four, but interestingly relies more on a large sand hazard more so than the pond to enforce its strategy.
Finally, the par five No. 18 plays along the water most of the way down, and ultimately reaches the second boomerang green on the property. Of course, this one is connected to the closing putting surface at the Starboard course, so odds are you won’t be playing to the left side from Port.
"Port" at Harborside International Golf Center is the older of two courses just south of the city of Chicago. Dick Nugent's architecture is prevalent as you play across reclaimed landfill getting windswept by a consistent breeze off Lake Calumet. You feel like you're a world away when you arrive on property, and don't ever feel like you're just 15 miles from the heart of downtown Chicago.
The "Port" Course was designed to host championship golf, as The Champions Tour (PGA Champions) held the SBC Senior Open here in 2002 when Ameritech (Midwest Telecoms Holding Company) was the key name sponsor from the late 80's to early 2000s. 7123yds doesn't scare players from a length perspective these days, but with the wind and exposure to the elements - this golf course plays a LOT longer than advertised.
Par 3's are highlighted by the signature "Anchor Hole" 15th - which makes for a good photo and one of the more unique golf holes you'll see. What's a little disappointing about it is that you don't actually play from the "anchor" but rather over a corner of it. There is good variety in lengths across all 4 par 3's though, and I always enjoy playing into the 6th green tucked in the back corner of the property.
Par 4's are stout, varying in length from 361-466 yds. The 16th is the best par 4 of this routing, as it plays severely downhill along the banks of the marsh pond. It's a shorter hole as well - so you have lots of options of where you want to leave your tee shot for an approach to the peninsula green.
Par 5's are relatively tame - with only the 18th providing any real risk to scoring. The 2nd, 9th, and 11th all give players looks off the tee of where to safely play...along with an aiming bunker to challenge players who are thinking about taking on the green in 2 (depending on the wind direction). 18 is a tight squeeze along the bottom of the marsh bank, and is the tightest tee shot on property with OB right and water left. It's the shortest and most reachable of the 5's, which makes for an exciting finish and last chance to salvage your round.
Overall the "Port" is an enjoyable golf experience. The clubhouse is expansive with a good merch selection and amenities, the range is HUGE with lots of different areas to warm up or practice, there's a cool halfway house with good food and drinks, and the scenery is very unique for being so close to a major city. I would contest that "Starboard" is the more fun and memorable course at Harborside (and a better value), but the Port is still a worthy test of golf.
While Starboard definitely overshadows it, Port is definitely worth playing. Its the more challenging of the two loops, winding its way over larger man made, garbage filled dunes. The front nine is overall really solid and a great after work option for a late nine. The back has a few goofy holes, especially the weird 15th, which you've probably seen before. The hole features an anchor shaped island in the waste bunker that is the calling card for the course, but plays to a narrow green that isn't readily accessible with a long iron. 17 is a pretty cool hole with a dogleg over a large beach bunker that tempts the player to bite off as much as he or she can chew.