Shoreacres
IL, USA

Eleventh hole, 380 yards; Some students of golf course architecture consider Raynor to be one of the two or three greatest routers of golf holes in the history of the game. By that, they imply thatRaynor always found a way to get the most fromthe property that he was given. Obvious examples includehow heutilized the savannahas a backdrop for the front nineat Yeamans Hall while capturing the property’s rolling natureon theback. In addition, no one can imagine a better routing to this day for Fisher’s Islandthan Raynor’swhich hugs the shoreline to glorious effect. So too here at Shoreacres where Raynor capitalized on the property’s most dramatic feature:a twenty-five foot ravine.

The intimidating tee shot on the eleventh is the golfer's dramatic introduction to a ravine that dominates play over the next several holes.


Raynor's brilliant routing has the green placed on the far side of the ravine. Imagine playing this hole with hickory clubs, which is exactly what the membership did for Shoreacres' first decade.


Twelfth hole, 130 yards; A much admired Short hole within the galaxy of Raynor Short holes, thisone plays downhill forty feet to a big green bunkered only in front. Up and downs for par aren’t likely.

The downhill nature of this Short hole makes distance judgement quite tricky. Also, Lake Michigan is only several hundred yards away so the wind is always a factor.


Thirteenth hole, 330 yards; Despite the drivebeing blind and uphill, this hole remains full of charm because its modest length makes it all about finesse on one’s approach shot. The shortiron approachagaincrosses theravine and is appropriately to the most severely sloping green on the course. As with many Raynor greens, any approach that finishesabove the hole invites twitchy moments into one’s round.

The ideal line off the tee is just left of the caddie in the photograph.


Again capitalizing on the property's defining feature, the approach is played over the ravine to a severely sloping green, which does not yield many easy two-putts.


Fourteenth hole, 185 yards; A completely manufactured Redan hole, and none the worse for it. Raynor pushed up a tenfoot high ridge and the pitch on its shoulder is as steep as any of his Redans. On the left side are two deep bunkers which in this case may be saviors for the teeball tugged a little left: the same bloody ravine (!) is only a few paces from the edge of these bunkers. The green itself is the only safe haven as it is reasonably flat.

The back left hole location on the Redan is best reached by using the kicker slope...


...which is better appreciated in this view from behind the built-up green pad.


Fifteenth hole, 520 yards; For many, this is their favorite hole on the course. Ironic for an architect that copied the best design principles from so many of the world’s great holes, it is not a copy of a famous hole but a thoroughly original one by Raynor. The tee shot is straightforward enough: a draw some 250 yards around the corner will bring the green within reach. However, as the golfer rounds the bend, a glorious multi-tiered fairway greets him. Just twenty yards pasts the ideal tee ball, a creek bisects the fairway. On the far side, near creek level, is one patch of fairway. Diagonal bunkers then divide the upper fairway into a short left side and the far right side. The golfer is presented with all kinds of delightful options (including going for the green in two) and they come at a telling time in the match.

The magnificent fifteenth features all kinds of playing options/angles.


Along with Philadelphia, New York and Boston, Chicago hasbeen a center for golf in the United States for over a century. However, among the many 7,000 yard broad shouldered courses around this area, Shoreacres remains unique as it provides quite the challenge while still measuring under 6,600 yards. Indeed, the course measured under 6,300 yards until recently. New back tees by Davis in particular on holes XXXXXXXX have added two hundred yards in length in the past five years.

Regardless,it’s Raynor’swork thatdifferentiate Shoreacres from the other, biggercourses found in this historic golf state. His imaginative routing incorporates the property’s unique ravines and stream to great effect as seen above. Despite these dramatic natural features, most of the hitting areas are comparatively flat. The ultimate appeal of Shoreacres lies in its approach shots which are to greens so diverse and interesting that the golfer never realizes that he is playing a 6,520 yard course.

Some courses look loved and this oneabsolutely hasthat distinct feel.

The End