Harbor Links Golf Course – Port Washington, New York Guru's Rating: 6.3

Guru’s Rating: 6.3
HARBOR LINKS 4-1-1
One Fairway Dr. Port Washington, NY ViewMap »
Phone: (516) 767-4816
Non-Resident Weekend Rate (with cart): $113
Driving Range? Yes

“There’s literally not a cloud in the sky – perfect day.” – Brett S.  – 9:45AM

Our group smiled and nodded approvingly as we took a few last putts on the practice green conveniently situated on the path to the first tee at Harbor Links.  Some poor early morning planning forced us to race to the course and speed through our warm-up swings on the range, but as we waited in the “on deck circle,” our spirits were high.  It was the Friday before a long (July 4th) holiday weekend, the weather was immaculate – and most importantly, we were playing golf, not sitting behind a desk.  Furthermore, we were at a golf facility with all the bells and whistles (even “video flyovers” with hole-by-hole tips on a GPS screen in the carts)- not to mention pristine looking conditions.  As we began our round, the starter further enhanced our euphoria by letting us know that rounds were clocking in at just under four hours.  Too good to be true?  I’ll let you guess.

Our group had handicaps ranging from 13-21, so we opted to play from Harbor Links’ white tees, which measure 6490 (the tips are a robust 6927).  The course tests you right off the bat with a par 5 – 493 yards – straight out. But on this day, into a stiff wind, I blocked my drive to the right and landed in a fairway bunker, just beneath one of Harbor Links “environmentally protected” areas (which you are warned not to enter under any circumstances).  After pitching back to the fairway, I had 140 left to the hole. My strong 8-iron approach though (taking the wind into account), got knocked down by the breeze, and following a decent pitch to a front pin, I walked away with a bogey after failing to one-putt on the tough, undulating green.

We penciled in our scores and drove to the second tee – only to find not one, not two, but THREE groups backed up on the second hole, a 404 yard dogleg right par four.  That’s when things took a turn for the worse.

After waiting for twenty minutes (rendering our range time useless), our drives were sprayed in all directions and curses filled the air.  Unfortunately, this same scene repeated itself…for the next five-and-a-half hours.

“This is absolutely ridiculous,” – Steven H.  – 2:30PM

The links style layout at Harbor Links is great and for all the play it gets (a favorite among the Port Wash. crowd, which receives heavily discounted “resident” rates), the conditions are impressive and challenging.  But poor course management overshadows all the positives.  This place simply accommodates way too many tee-times and does not do enough to keep the masses moving.  While this round was  – admittedly –  played on a heavy volume day, five-to-six hour rounds are the norm at Harbor Links (especially on weekends).  Additionally, we passed a beverage cart just once the entire round – and NEVER on the back.  Unacceptable.  We even called in our lunch order well in advance (on the 7th hole) and it was not even being prepared by the time we reached the turn (our dismay was met with an apathetic response from behind the counter).

As solid as Harbor Links’ is from a golf standpoint, a few gimmick holes contribute to ruining the fun.  In particular, #5 and #6, which both feature dual risk/reward fairways.  You can hit a perfect drive on either hole and find yourself in major trouble.

Most Memorable Hole: I always enjoy #13, a short 473 yard par 5. The hole has an Arizona/desert “feel” – it features a lovely view from the tee box – your drive goes downhill to a wide open fairway and you stand adjacent to large boulders.

Most Challenging Hole: “Trouble” and “O.B” become regular parts of your vocabulary at Harbor Links.  The course’s undulating greens, elevation changes, and deep rough will provide you with your share of headaches.  For me, the most difficultly resides at #6, a downhill 493 yard par 5.  As mentioned, there are two fairways on this hole – if you go right (and make it safely), you’ll have a shorter approach to an uphill green and you can potentially be on in two.  The left fairway is wider, but your second shot remains tough.  On this day, the tees were way up and the hole was playing around 460 – but only one of us was able to achieve a par (and we lost about seven balls combined as a group, including two by yours truly)

The Bottom Line: Good golf course that is poorly run.  Seemingly strong features- nice clubhouse, good range, etc.  But tons of staff (employed by Arnold Palmer Management) sit basically idly at the bag drop, cleaning clubs, and helping golfers get situated on a cart.  Wouldn’t we all be better served if they were out on the course, pushing a faster pace of play?

Guru’s Tip: Bring extra water and your patience – if you play at Harbor Links, you might out there for a while and have to fend for yourself.

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6 Responses to “Harbor Links Golf Course – Port Washington, New York Guru's Rating: 6.3

  1. Jim Artura says:

    I’ve played this course since the day it opened and can tell you it has gotten worse over time. They’ve cut down all the high grass and trees so that you think your playing a links design course. The truth of the matter is they made it boring and just wanted to speed up play so they can get more rounds in.

    Difficult course for the Novice player and that is a big part of the problem. A lot of Wanna be golfers show up and take a 125 and brag about their score. Overpriced for non residence $100+ and VERY SLOW PLAY 5+ hrs regularly and they lack manners. I don’t waste my time or money there anylonger. I Would rather drive 45 minutes and go East to other courses rather than sit and watch TERRIBLE players hack and slice and look for balls for five hours. Save your money and enjoy the time play MIDDLE ISLAND FROM THE BACK TEES 7000 yards $45.00 4:15 play time and well groomed.

  2. Gideon Cohen says:

    Thanks for the comments Jim…I think they are dead-on. Awful value for your money.

    Appreciate you checking out thegolfcourseguru.com!

  3. David Sanford says:

    We had a chance to play Harbor Links on fathers day. I was a little concerned after reading the golf guru review, playing on a day that is traditionally pretty busy. I am a single digit handicap and enjoy a good test of golf. My dad is a 20 handiicap and will usually play the more forward tees.
    Our tee time was at 9:30 we arrived at 8:30 and were greeted by a couple of young employees and an older gentlemen named Fred. He asked the tee time set our clubs up and directed us where to go to check in. It appeared to be very busy, yet the staff gave me a very professional and organized experience before we teed off. We were asked to stay in the staging area until it was 15 minutes before our tee time. The starter was informative and laid out what we could expect. So far so good. After playing the first hole with very little problems we arrived at 2 and had a group waiting to tee off. I thought oh no here we go. We waited about ten minutes to tee off again, however after hole two our experience differed greatly from the golf guru. The pace was certainly not fast but we didn’t wait much at all on any off the tee boxes and even though we played in 5 hours it didn’t seem bad.
    The golf course was in fabulous shape, I have played private courses that are not as good as Harbor Links. Greens were large,smooth and fast.. Tee boxes and fairways were like walking on carpet. my dad and I both enjoyed the course, i found it a challenge and my dad found it playable. May be our taste but I liked the double fairways and the different choices we could make.
    We saw two different rangers on the course. We interacted with them twice, both times to ask how we were doing.
    We paid a premium price to play Harbor Links as a non-resident. We felt we got our money’s worth and then some. As a special golf treat I can recommend this golf course and operation.

    • GideonCohen says:

      David – glad to hear you had a positive experience at Harbor Links – unfortunately I’ve usually had the opposite. Course is always in great shape, but it sounds like perhaps they’ve addressed the slow play. Appreciate your comment and thanks for checking out the site!
      Gideon

  4. Ryan says:

    I just played here this past Tuesday. SO SLOW!!! It took just over 5 hours to play, granted it was 3 hours on the front and 2 hours on the back, but sorry, that is ridiculous, especially for a $100 round.

    The course is very picturesque and is pretty amazing they put a golf course on a former dump and sand dune.

    The greens are very fast and in very good shape, as well as the rest of the course. The fescue makes the course scenery without coming into play too much.

    I was a little confused with some of the handicapping of the holes. A par 5 under 500 yards that played more like 450 was number 1.

    Overall a great course in superb condition, too bad high prices and slow play makes it not worth it unless you get the resident rates.

  5. E Guy says:

    Have played HL many times and have reviewed it on Golflink.com. Similar frustrations, very slow and expensive. I actually have had a hard time with the rangers a couple of times and have found a couple of them to be rude. For $100, I do NOT expect rudeness. The environemental areas are a joke, you are told to say out of the native grasses but in mamy of them, there are more weeds than native grasses. I have walked the front early in the AM in one hour by myself. When cart path only, it has slowed down to 6 hour plus. I do like the design and upkeep. Would like to see the grass tees to be open on the range, have never seen them open ever.


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