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4.0
247 Reviews (247)
5 Stars
100
4 Stars
117
3 Stars
16
2 Stars
10
1 Stars
4
Conditions
4.0
Value
4.9
Layout
4.9
Friendliness
4.9
Pace
4.0
Amenities
4.0
98.8%
Recommend this course
230 out of 247 reviews
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Average Rating
Avg Rating
4.0
1 Reviews (1)
5 Stars
0
4 Stars
1
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
0
1 Stars
0
Conditions
4.0
Value
5.0
Layout
5.0
Pace
4.0
Amenities
4.0
StaffFriendliness
5.0
100.0%
Recommend this course
1 out of 1 reviews
Read Reviews
Average Rating
Avg Rating
4.0
1 Reviews (1)
5 Stars
0
4 Stars
1
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
0
1 Stars
0
Conditions
4.0
Value
5.0
Layout
5.0
Pace
4.0
Amenities
4.0
StaffFriendliness
5.0
100.0%
Recommend this course
1 out of 1 reviews
Read Reviews

About

Holes 18
Type Public
Par 71
Length 6184 yards
Slope 122
Rating 69.8

Course Details

Year Built 1974
Architect Geoffrey Cornish (1974) Bill Robinson (1974)

Rentals/Services

Carts Yes
Clubs Yes

Practice/Instruction

Driving Range No
Teaching Pro Yes

Policies

Metal Spikes Allowed No
Walking Allowed Yes

Food & Beverage

Restaurant

Accolades

Reviews

4.0
247 Reviews (247)

What Golfers Are Saying

The 19th Hole is Great For:
Drinks 13
Course Challenges Include:
Elevation Changes 15
Bunkers 10
Narrow Fairways 9
This course/club is great for:
Locals 13
Advanced Golfers 9
Seniors 7
This Course's Location is:
In the 'Burbs 12
Worth the Drive 12
Convenient to the City 6

Numbers based on reviews tagged with attribute.

Reviewer Photos

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Overall Rating
Recommended
Handicap
Age
Type of Golfer
Gender
Played On
Reviews 261
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Top 25 Contributor
Connecticut Advisor
Previously Played
Cold weather
Walked

Inventive Design

At Portland, the course design is divided between paying tribute, on the one hand, to the Robert Trent Jones, Sr. school (that favored Jones’ often long tees, his big and diverse greens, and his oversized bunkers), but on the other the kind of beautiful, wavy fairways that generate a links-like aura, which would be even more prevalent were it not for tree-lined fairways. The holes remind me, both in spirit and general character, of Jones’ Lyman course in nearby Middletown, especially by some of the big, undulating greens whose bold contours extend beyond the putting surfaces, making for real pitching and chipping challenges when missed. The one major departure from Jones, though, lies in a lack of major, penal water hazards: here, only three small ponds present minor problems on this back side, and for most players the only consequential pond, lying just beyond the landing zone, will make its presence felt at thirteen. Does the course need large water hazards? The short answer is “No.”

Portland is much shorter than Lyman-Jones, but It’s also a very clever layout that puts the same premium on strategic, careful play for those who actually want to score–in fact, the course is not beaten easily into submission. Initially you encounter two drive-and-pitch par-4s, both fun, but neither one an easy birdie. Their green complexes are just too rigorous. The bulk of the back nine is devoted to two inventive par-5s with flair (their fairways are outstanding) and three more excellent and very different 4-pars of medium length. Eighteen is a standout closer with Carnoustie-like “Spectacle” bunkers intruding upon the fairway’s landing zone, but the best par-4 is the the more demanding thirteenth, its fairway plunging from the tee, then rising to a crowned green that will reject weak approaches summarily. The pair of par-3’s, a bit less impressive, are solid citizens nonetheless, with huge greens lending broad scope for pin placements.

Geoffrey Cornish, who won at least ten distinguished golf architecture awards (he is in the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame) designed Portland along with partner William G. Robinson in the 1970’s. Mark Mungeam, one of his outstanding proteges, recalled Cornish’s penchant to judiciously apply an encyclopedic command of course features, and that is further on display at Portland with a Cape design (16) and the Switchback five-par at 12, perhaps the best hole on the course for good ball-strikers.

Course conditioning was excellent on tees and greens. Fairways were still good despite this late date in the golf season; their only drawback was aeration, which was not ubiquitous. As is to be expected for Connecticut courses this late in the season, there were some spots around the course (including bunkers) with too many leaves, and the bunkers themselves in only fair condition. Expect this course to be excellent once again during springtime.

SOME CONCLUSIONS:
Portland remains–no matter how you cut it–among the most impressive tracks east of the Connecticut River. As I realized again today, playing only the back on a cold fall afternoon, this layout’s challenge will keep you working hard to earn pars, but its variety and balance will also have you enjoying the walk.

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 1
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Played On
Reviews 1
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing
Wet weather
Walked
Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Average
Pace Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 11
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
2.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing
Cold weather
Used cart
Conditions Excellent
Value Average
Layout Average
Friendliness Fair
Pace Poor
Amenities Poor
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 11
Handicap 10-14
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing

Challenging

Very good challenging course. First time playing is difficult as the layout gas many blind shots. Look forward to playing again.

Conditions Average
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Good
Pace Average
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 53
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
Top 1000 Contributor
Previously Played

Nice place. Little slow

Love the course, interesting layout and holes. Little slow getting around the course. No real reason.

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Average
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 168
Handicap 10-14
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Top 100 Contributor
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played

Great course

Tough layout
Excellent conditions from tee to green.
A great day !!!!

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 23
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
2.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing
Conditions Fair
Value Poor
Layout Fair
Friendliness Good
Pace Poor
Amenities Average
Played On
Reviews 1
Handicap 5-9
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart

Fun, Manageable Course

I've played here many times over the years and always look forward to it. I'd like to see them work on improving fairway conditions, especially in front of the greens and high-traffic areas. They also need to work on firming up the fairway 20-150 yards before the green. Lots of soft, wet areas that cause balls to plug or not roll even though we had a dry summer. Also makes approach shots tough when being in the fairway should be rewarded.

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Good
Pace Good
Amenities Good
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 3
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart

A fun Saturday

A group of us had a very enjoyable time playing. And I would recommend this course to anyone.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 52
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Top 1000 Contributor
Previously Played

Practice time

Came out to practice for up coming golf tournament with the wife. She haven't touch a golf club for almost right years.. she didn't do that bad for someone who haven't played for awhile. I had to play best ball cause I didn't wanna slow play. But she hitbjim good, her striking was good but not great.. the golf staff was really friendly, they told us to to worry about anything. The fairways and green was really good .My wife and I had a great time. The course was a lite long for her, that's why we played best ball. I definitely would recommend this course to all my friends.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 4
Handicap 20-24
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Walked

Good green condition

Portland golf course is gòod place to play from beginners to intermediates. Fairway and greens are in good condition andf well maintained. The starter and staffs are friendly.

Conditions Average
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Good
Pace Average
Amenities Average
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 2
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing
Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 35
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
3.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart

Greens Way Too Slow

First time playing Portland in many years, though the trees have grown taller layout has not changed from what I remember.. Pace of play on Monday afternoon was good, we played in 3:30 with carts.The condition of the course was disappointing - the course was quite wet (after raining most of the prior day) resulting in plugged lies & mud on the ball in many fairways. This was made worse by the grounds crew watering the 15th fairway, needlessly resulting in a large casual water area in landing zone. The biggest issue was the speed of the greens, by far the slowest I've played this year. The lack of speed took most of the break out of puts, additionally the long grass accentuated grain making it difficult for a putt to hold its line on several putts. Scores were low but I won't be back to Portland any time soon.

Conditions Fair
Value Average
Layout Average
Friendliness Good
Pace Good
Amenities Average
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 9
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Previously Played
Hot weather
Walked

Course in Good Condition for mid July

Course was in very good condition for mid-July. Able to fire at will at the pins. Pace was average. Overall a good value for a Friday.

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Average
Amenities Good
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 116
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Played On
Reviews 261
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Top 25 Contributor
Connecticut Advisor
Previously Played
Perfect weather

Elusive by Design

Though not an iconic track, Portland does so many things well—often extraordinarily so—that Connecticut golfers should not overlook it. The layout has a subtle linkslike underpinning because the terrain is profusely rolling and imaginatively contoured, with an assist from nature. I played the front side today with my son, who was so impressed that he thinks this should be part of the Connecticut PGA Junior Golf Association rota. A nearly ideal short course, Portland forces you to work on every shot. Good scores are earned here—earned by smarts and high skill.

This layout is loosely in the mold of a course like the Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, except for the generally larger greens here (the Country Club’s average only 6,000 sq. ft.) and somewhat steeper terrain. And the first hole here is virtually a twin of the CC's fourth. One key, though, is that both are short courses in which hitting the sloping, elusive greens is of great importance. For around them the ground forms are uneven and uncooperative, all rolling dips and cants and swales and large falloffs. At Portland these definitely grab my attention. Success depends on a sound short game; coping with the pitching and chipping burdens may be even more important than putting.

Architect Geoffrey Cornish, who designed more New England courses than anyone, used a central theme fully at Portland, a sound point of reference that he relied on consistently. Mr. Cornish believed strongly that all golf courses should enlist the style of ground forms found in Scottish linksland. Far less important to him that architects built courses which brought to mind the ‘look’ of a links—how could they, after all, on an inland layout? One could surmise, readily, that Cornish learned from the works of early 20th Century masters like Willie Park and W. H. Fowler, whose “fine American course Eastward Ho! on Cape Cod combines the rolling terrain and ocean setting of a links with the tree-lined fairways and raised greens of the heaths.” (“The Golf Course,” Cornish and Whitten, 1988). Cornish also asserted that Park’s innovative greens (larger, more undulating, of gentler shapes) and “bold, manmade hazards” were revolutionary in light of what had been typical of non-links designs. These are all qualities, save for the ocean setting, we see at Portland—and all are done well.

Portland's front-nine holds other strengths. Both of its par-3’s are mid-length and uphill; especially steep is the 185-yard fourth, which plays long and stings those who drift left. And those who fail to recover passably from this steep drop-off will see their scores mount. Each hole has a frontal deep bunker, meaning you'll likely need to carry your shots onto both greens.

Then there are the short-par 4’s, which pose deeper problems than what most architects design: you’ll have your hands full on five, six, and nine. None of these takes kindly to errant shots.

Five is my favorite hole here. Beneath the high tee box stretches a theatrically rolling, downhill fairway–the trees hugging it on both sides and, all the way down in front of the plateau green, a deep swale to catch shots that fall short of it. The drive challenges you visually, as this offset fairway soon drops out of sight. In the left-side landing zone, a bunker hides, often catching pulls and hooks (yet it may be charitable, saving balls from the woods). The hole, in fact, aims you a bit left as the fairway is offset in that direction—hit a fade off the tee, if it's in your bag. Following the drive's flight downhill can be nerve racking, your eyes drawn to the threatening trees crowding the fairway. Of lower risk will be your wedge/short iron into the green. This, too, must be confidently struck to fly the intervening swale and huge, frontal bunker. The final task is two-putting a sweeping, undulating surface. As interesting as 295 yards gets, Portland's fifth is a jewel.

Portland seems quite playable for those with handicaps ranging from scratch to 25. Despite the potency of this distinctive layout, it's quite bearable thanks to its balanced shot values. That's the other beauty of playing this attractive course.

Toughest Holes
Not merely hard, the longish 3 and 7 are also classic four-pars possessing grace and atmosphere. A premium is placed at three on driving to the fairway's ideal, flat landing spot (atop the upslope). Short drives hit rightward will be blocked by the huge trees of this dogleg-right. Your approach will be hit downward to an inviting target, but only in front: the green is protected by a huge flanking bunker and woods behind. Seven, an unusual and visually intimidating hole, is also adventurous and strategic from tee-to-green. Your drive must avoid the tall, mature trees squarely in this fairway’s center—the better line is leftward. A strong tee shot buys a short-iron approach, but it must surmount a massive upsweep into the green (with big, embedded bunkers left and right). At seven, two first-rate shots are a must for a GIR.

Quick Facts & Observations:
--Superb conditioning, everywhere: Sets a high standard for Connecticut public courses.
--Staff here GETS the importance of customer service. At check-in, Mrs. Kelley was personable, friendly, and helpful.
--More than competent handling of physical distancing et al.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Played On
Reviews 2
Handicap 10-14
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart
Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 28
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Previously Played
Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 2
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a month
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing
Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
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