Founded on Chicago’s North Shore in 1916, Shoreacres is a wonderful old golf club that boasts both a clubhouse by famed architect David Adler, and a course by his golfing contemporary Seth Raynor. While Adler’s stunning building overlooks Lake Michigan, the Raynor layout is built away from the water on a rolling property interspersed by a number of creeks and deep ravines.
Initially the club’s founding members had wanted Donald Ross to design their golf course, but his failure to respond to letters led them instead to the emerging Raynor, who did a superb job routing his holes across the site. The ravines are expertly used throughout the design and incorporated into holes in a variety of ways, as are the ditches and creeks which meander across the property. Raynor’s course is also noted for its wonderfully intricate green complexes, generally broad and sloping to the front they feature wide areas that force players to either flirt with side pins or face massive putts across the greens if they bail too safe. A strength of Shoreacres is the short to mid-length par fours, the 2nd, 4th, 11th, 13th and 17th all fine holes under 400 yards with tricky, strategic green sites. Also memorable are the replica par threes and the short par five 15th, noted for second shot complexities created by an unusual split fairway.
Aside from some terrific individual holes, what makes Shoreacres such an interesting course is its evenness and Raynor’s clever use of the topography. His greens and bunkers are well positioned and the fairways flow with enough variety to keep players on their guard. The layout is a little short for today’s star golfer, but for the average guy able to look beyond length and slope ratings this is one of Chicago’s premier places to play.
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