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4.9
73 Reviews (73)
5 Stars
45
4 Stars
24
3 Stars
2
2 Stars
2
1 Stars
0
Conditions
4.9
Value
4.9
Layout
4.9
Friendliness
4.9
Pace
4.9
Amenities
4.1
99.5%
Recommend this course
71 out of 73 reviews
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Average Rating
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5.0
2 Reviews (2)
5 Stars
2
4 Stars
0
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
0
1 Stars
0
Conditions
5.0
Value
5.0
Layout
5.0
Pace
5.0
Amenities
4.0
StaffFriendliness
5.0
100.0%
Recommend this course
2 out of 2 reviews
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Average Rating
Avg Rating
5.0
2 Reviews (2)
5 Stars
2
4 Stars
0
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
0
1 Stars
0
Conditions
5.0
Value
5.0
Layout
5.0
Pace
5.0
Amenities
4.0
StaffFriendliness
5.0
100.0%
Recommend this course
2 out of 2 reviews
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About

Holes 18
Type Public
Style Executive
Par 60
Length 4012 yards
Slope 102
Rating 60.4
Book a Tee Time at
Portland West Golf Course
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Course Details

Year Built 1985
Architect Al Zikorus (1985)

Rentals/Services

Carts Yes - included in green fee
Clubs Yes
GPS No
Pull-carts Yes

Practice/Instruction

Driving Range Yes
Bunker Yes
Golf School Academy Yes
Teaching Pro Yes
Pitching/Chipping Area Yes
Putting Green Yes

Policies

Metal Spikes Allowed No
Fivesomes Allowed No
Single Allowed No
Walking Allowed Yes

Reviews

4.9
73 Reviews (73)

What Golfers Are Saying

Course Challenges Include:
Water Hazards 11
Bunkers 10
Elevation Changes 7
This course/club is great for:
Beginners 11
Locals 11
9-Hole Rounds 10
This Course's Location is:
In the 'Burbs 11
Worth the Drive 7
Convenient to the City 6

Numbers based on reviews tagged with attribute.

Advanced Filters
Overall Rating
Recommended
Handicap
Age
Type of Golfer
Gender
Played On
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
Incentivized Review
5.0
Top 250 Contributor
Connecticut Advisor
Previously Played
Cold weather
Walked

A Solid Test at Portland West

FRONT NINE REVIEW
Portland West may be ‘just’ (put this in air quotes) an executive layout, but it cuts a wide swath. I played the back first, on Tuesday, and the front on Wednesday—both for the first time—and came away impressed each time. Portland was designed in 1985, the work of the ubiquitous (in Connecticut) Albert Zikorus. This is a modern American course in its broad outlines, but in the particulars a more classical design, especially around its green complexes. The par-4’s are characterized by flattish, tree-lined fairways (for the most part), but some intermittent, large water hazards will influence playing strategies. A sizeable percentage of the holes, most notably among the par-threes, are enlivened by moderately hilly terrain. The greens are classically shaped, contoured, and sized, though a few range to the larger end of the spectrum. Around them are found sudden drop-offs and strategically placed, often deep bunkers. One can see the influence of Mr. Zikorus’ mentor, Donald Ross, in the design of the slopes on these putting surfaces. Yet this is Ross-lite, without the severity of movement you will find on the greens of a course like Ross’ Shennecossett (at Groton)—or Zikorus’ own Indian Springs in Middlefield.

EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE: Portland West is not an especially punishing course. Zikorus was more concerned with testing your capabilities with mid and short irons, along with wedges, than he was with putting your long clubs on trial. Most golfers won’t touch a fairway wood long iron or hybrid on the front. Fortunately, though, he has set up the trio of par-4’s on this side (as well as the back) so that you may hit driver on each of them.

PERSISTENCE OF 3-PARS: Four of the first five holes are three-pars; the best of these begins on the first tee. FIRST: You may suppose the opener of an executive course to be something of a yawner, but the first, a 173-yard par-3, is fraught with problems around its green. Hitting a solid mid-iron onto the putting surface par may be all but guaranteed, assuming you manage well a putt that will probably break significantly on its way to the cup. Missing the first green, however, may mean landing in a sizeable bunker or facing a difficult pitch shot, as there are large drop-offs around the middle and back of this green. SECOND: Another excellent par-three, now traveling uphill (146 yards) and with an opening on its right side. THIRD: It’s pretty close to a carbon copy of the first, but without as much contouring around the periphery of the green. FIFTH: After the easy par-4 fourth, you’ll have back-to-back birdie chances. Five, at 154 yards, is another relatively level hole, having a green without major obstacles around it, though it is somewhat elevated above the fairway. SEVENTH: After four nice par three’s, a big hiccup occurs on this short (143) par-3, bunker and water-guarded on the left. On the back tee, the player’s flight line to the center of the green is directly obstructed by tree branches. Since I didn’t want to hit a fade (with an 8-iron) out over the water hazard, I simply took the straight route. My Bridgestone suffered the indignity of being batted down by the tree limbs (an inevitability) and landed well short of the green, in the tall stuff. Bogey. What happened to this hole? It can’t be the way the Mr. Zikorus designed it, originally, can it? It is a truism that trees keep growing over time. Even from the front tee, it is clear from divot markings that everyone is teeing up of just to the inside of the white marker.

HEARTY FOUR-PARS: These are very good, if not spectacular holes, and each seems to jump a peg in difficulty, concluding with the demanding ninth. FOURTH: If the drive on four seems too wide open and simple, so is the straightforward and short pitch shot you’ll earn after hitting the tee ball on the fairway. Four, then, is a distinct birdie possibility, and the only big miss on this short hole is a slice to the right. The green itself is not all that tricky to putt. SIX: A tougher par-4 (366 yards), this requires a driver from the tee, avoiding the large, swarthy pond all the way down the landing zone’s left side. Through a solid mid/short iron approach, you’ll land on the elevated, well-bunkered green. NINE: At conclusion, nine is fittingly the best of the par-4’s (see below).

STRONG PAIR OF FINISHERS: The last two holes on the front wrap things up with compelling intensity. EIGHTH HOLE: This uphill par-3 works as much through its green’s small dimensions as through its perched setting—some 30 feet above the tee. Given a large land deep left-side bunker, the hole opens only from its narrow right side, and this dimension is some 12 yards. I hit an 8-iron onto the surface, but it finished—the hole almost seems calibrated for this—just off the back. It’s the best three-par on the front side, demanding you best short iron. NINE: The view from the ninth tee may be stunning, but it may not leave you smiling. The prospect from this high tee is of two large water hazards hemming the landing zone on both sides. Let’s hope you’ve saved your straightest tee shot on this nine for last. The approach shot, presuming you’ve reached the crook in this dogleg, is straightforward to a contoured green with subtle falloffs on its sides.

IN SUM: Walking off in the gloaming after finishing my nine holes, my thought was that executive golf—of this caliber, especially—can be great fun. Because executive layouts lack some of the strategic clutter of full-length courses with longer holes, they may free us up to work on fundamental golf skills, while still honing our short games. Quickness of play is, as well, a major bonus.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
Incentivized Review
5.0
Top 250 Contributor
Connecticut Advisor
First Time Playing
Cold weather
Walked

Smart, Nimble, and Remarkable

The late Albert Zikorus, one of this state’s most prolific architects, produced one of his very best works in this executive track. He seems to get everything just right—balancing hole types, inserting hazards with discretion, varying green complexes, maximizing use of this rolling property, a property that afforded him the opportunity to exploit a wealth of elevation changes. On this back nine, only a pair of holes (nos. 14 and 18) is flat, though the presence of water is critical on each. It is hard to make a high-quality executive course, but this one is nimble and smart—yet it manages to pull off the aura of a full-length golf course (its ‘shortness’ never came close to being critical, in my mind, as I played tee-to-green).

It’s also invigorating to play, and ceaselessly playable. Having been in a rush (I had to be at Bradley Airport by 5:00 and began my nine hole walk at 3:00), I managed to play this round in exactly one hour. The trek around Portland West’s inward nine was a bit brutal at times, but it remained a good walk unspoiled (I was enjoying every aspect of the golf itself). I found myself clambering up three small hills on which greens were sited, as well some uphill slopes to reach tee boxes. The terrain here rolls, dips, twists, and undulates over a beautiful routing. Green siting is done to perfection. The plateau greens will put your iron game to the test—quite fully—yet that will not be enough to score here, as the greens are canted and pitched, with quite a bit of movement. Playing well here requires that we consistently chip, pitch and putt our way to making pars.

TOUGHEST (AND EASIEST) HOLES: Two of the par-3’s are more typical of what we find on championship courses, not executives. TWELVE: The twelfth is an all-or-nothing proposition to hit the green, as the tee shot will carry over a dell, your tee-ball landing, if successfully struck, on a putting surface perched on a large plateau. Great grief may well ensue if you miss short. Tee balls that hit the upslope just shy of the green, in fact, will trundle back down to the bottom of the hill. From there, you’ll need to pitch with Mickelsonian finesse to get up-and-down. EIGHTEEN: This ups the ante further because you’ll need to strike your tee shot powerfully and squarely to end up anywhere on this sizeable enough but quite distant green (210 yards from the tee). And much of the tee shot will fly over water, in the form of a large and magnetic pond, which may lose its pretty charm —instantly—if you plunk a Titleist into its midst. When playing into the wind here, add at least another club. Green 18 is not particularly hard to putt, but it struck me that Zikorus was paying homage to St. Andrews—or so we may surmise—because it forms a double green with the ninth. Zikorus does not make the classic mistake on 18 of designing a long hole in which there is no landing zone before the green (it’s not all forced carry); moreover, the green is deep enough to accept the approach that is run, not flown, onto the putting surface.

The FOURTEENTH (198 yards) is longish and mainly over water, yet its difficulty is not especially great: a flattish, large and open green complex is somewhat forgiving. Number ELEVEN (159 yards, downhill) was a rather routine and short par-three; it was the only ‘easy’ hole on this nine. But easy for Portland West does not quite equate to ‘pushover’; we are kept honest here by the gaping bunker that pinches the green on its right side. Hit into this trap and you’ll need to flight a high bunker shot up and out.

FAVORITE HOLES: I took an instant liking to two of the shorter par-3’s, 13 and 15. Both are classic tests of precision, but each also offers small problems, as well, around the green. Thirteen required an 8-iron today to fly onto its pronounced plateau, then two good putts over an irregular surface to the cup. It is one of the few holes I’ve seen with both a grass bunker and the traditional sand specimen situated greenside. Fifteen is tricky off the tee: you must contend with a huge right side hardwood, well forward of the green and definitely in play before your tee-shot reaches its apex. A fade, then, is an ideal approach. The green is set on a small rise, and its subtle contours will keep you laboring to secure a par-3 here.

ELEGANT FOUR-PARS: Who doesn’t like short, drive-and-pitch holes (?), on which we can go flag-hunting. All three of these are tight enough to earn our respect, but not so narrow as to crush slightly errant shots. In other words, you may unleash the driver on all three of them. Be wary on the tenth, because any excessive miss rightward off the tee may have an unhappy, watery end—a sizeable pond awaits, out of sight from the tee. Sixteen and seventeen are both classic driving tests, the former favoring a draw, the latter a fade around its dogleg. Seventeen will test your precision with the driver as much as any hole on the course, as its fairway tightens progressively in the landing zone. The 17th green adds a decided pitch into this hole’s mix of problems, sloping off severely on its right flank. I found that shots will invariably kick right when they hit this green.

CONDITIONING: Among the very best public tracks I’ve seen in Connecticut, competing with what I think has become the standard-bearer for public course conditioning, Portland Golf Course (a few miles from here). Though it does not quite match the ‘other’ Portland, the level of conditioning here is, in every respect, simply first-rate for a public golf course.
PGA GOLF PROFESSIONAL: Mr. Gerry D’Amora was manning the pro shop when I met him today. The antithesis of stuffy, he is one of the most outgoing, flexible, and unpretentious gentlemen I’ve met since I began playing golf. He’s also a good listener. Another bonus for this course.

OVERALL: Most of the holes at Portland West demand sure judgment of distance and solid ball-striking for the reasons enumerated above. It won’t hurt to be good with your wedges around the greens, as well as your flat stick. The price was also a tremendous bonus: I paid a mere $13 (twilight rate).

Unlike the vast majority of executive tracks, this one is not an ego-builder; not everyone will pound it into submission simply because it is a mere 2040 yards (inward nine) from the blues. And it’s certainly too sophisticated to fit the ‘executive course’ stereotype. In a 2016 ranking of top short courses nationwide, Golf Adviser rated Portland West 21st out of 25. In a nutshell, the number of yards travelled around Portland West may not be large, but every one of these holes has outsize charm and individuality.

Author’s Note: I received no compensation for writing this review from either this website (GA) or the golf course. The incentive refers to entry into a sweepstakes.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

First-timer

After hearing many favorable reviews I took my 16-year-old son out for a round and we had a great time. Course was in pretty good shape although the cart paths were crumbling. A bit pricey for an executive layout but worth a try. I don't think I'll play there again anytime soon.

Conditions Average
Value Fair
Layout Average
Friendliness Average
Pace Average
Amenities Fair
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing

Great condition

This was my first time playing here. Great course. I played on a rainy friday morning and played 18 in 2 and a half hours. The course was in excellent condition, the grounds grew has done a great job.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Handicap 20-24
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Wet weather
Used cart

You have to come and play this course!!

Portland West is a very beautiful course kept in meticulous shape by the owners and staff. Gerry, who is the Course Pro and also works the desk, is super friendly.The greens are in fantastic condition, as well as the fairways. However, if you're not on the fairway, as most of us aren't, the rough is kept mowed fairly high. I would love for them to mow it a little lower. I would highly recommend this course to anyone.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Previously Played
Windy weather
Used cart

Great shape

Played West 5-6-17 coarse was in incrdeble shape. Staff as always was great! If you have a chance to play, DO IT!

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing

Very nice course for a quick round of golf .

Arrived Sunday morning at 6 a.m. for a 6:40 t-time starter was very friendly . He let us go out early . Nice , well maintained course. Much shorter than we're used to playing but very enjoyable round. Staff at the pro shop very friendly as well. Will play in again soon .

Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Played On
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing

Bring all your wedges

Nice little track. Elevation changes on par 3's make club selection tough. Good greens. Not too fast. Very good short par 4's. I had fun. Was the first group off on Saturday morning and played in 2 1/2 hours. It's a pretty area.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Played On
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing
Excellent weather
Used cart

Great course.

Never played here before. Loved it.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played

Great value

Played here several times and it is always in great shape. Greens roll true with no damage even after the harsh summer we had. Not an overly difficult course but great for working on your short game.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Previously Played
Excellent weather
Walked

Great little course.

Love this little course. Great to bring the wife for a quick round. Nice course to work on the irons.

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Fairly Easy
Played On
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Good weather
Used cart

Fun 18 holes

I thought the course was in very good shape considering the heat this summer. The practice green is the best of all the greens. However, I was impressed with the course greens as well. They're a little hairier and slower at least the day I played. You can also warm up by hitting on a grass range which was pretty nice.

A great place to practice your short game and irons. A little pricey with other deals out there, but if you're a senior reasonable.....

I will be back in the fall because it looks like it would be a beautiful place to play....

Conditions Good
Value Average
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Average
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing

Good little course

Offers you everything from short and challenging to long and open can't wait to go back!

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Played On
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing

Great little course

Well maintaned... Greens run true! Highly recommend course

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing
Excellent weather
Walked

Happy Saturday game :)

Course and facilities are well maintained, Staff is very friendly. A challenging course that's great to work on your short game. Fairways and greens are in an exceptional shape. There are a few holes where water comes into play, but it does not dominate any of the shots. An executive course that gives a few opportunities to break out the driver. Course management is key. I would highly recommend this course.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Handicap 25+
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Fair weather
Used cart

Most Recent Round

Portland West is one of my favorite course to play. The course is in excellent condition and the staff is always friendly and efficient. I feel very comfortable there and never have any issues.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Fairly Easy
Played On
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Excellent weather
Used cart

Portland West- Great Exec Golf!!!!

Portland West is an excellent par 60 executive course. Perfect for a quick round, for walking, and especially for focusing on your short game. The 19th hole libations and food are much better than you might expect.

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Fairly Easy
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Previously Played
Excellent weather
Used cart

Portland West

Beautiful short course with excellent greens. Perfect quick round - -

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Average
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing

Cool little course

The course was well maintained. Tee boxes and greens were exceptional. If I didn't get a great deal through golf now and had to pay full price it would have been too expensive for that size course!!

Conditions Excellent
Value Average
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played

Vunderbal!

I can see why pro has been there so long! Challenging cpurse pf 12 par 3s and 6 par 4s. I played w father son for 9 and played last 9 solo. Cpurse is really well preserved... Only issue was signage. More signs w arrows. Not a big deal. Parking convenient. I would like to play in warm weather. Greens were great! I am stickler on greens. Just a touch on hairy side, but its Nov! Great job guys! J

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
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