Apparently Not, and We Know of at Least One More on Michigan’s Horizon!
Just recently I discovered what I think might be the most spectacular golf in the State of Michigan, Boyne Golf. There is so much here you just never know what is around the corner. Leaving Boyne, as I make my way to the Southwest corner of the State… I find there is more!
Harbor Shores Resort, the first beach, golf, and residential waterfront community in Michigan’s Great Southwest and “currently” (take note) home to the only Jack Nicklaus Signature Course on Lake Michigan. Since being named to Golf Magazine’s Best New Courses You Can Play list in 2010 (#3), it has hosted the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018. And now Harbor Shores will again play host in 2020, 2022, and 2024.
As I checked into the Inn at Harbor Shores, rays of sunshine reflecting from the bay warmed the lobby bar and quickly inspired me to get out to the cabana bar for a bite of lunch before my round. Lunch I was looking forward to, but just having past the entrance to the Nicklaus designed golf course my true anticipation was five minutes down the road.
How many times can you say that you played like crap but loved the course? This was one of those days for me. My playing partners can attest. If you take a minute to view my little one minute video you will see that I did have some good shots, in fact some great shots – but with my camera.
A Nicklaus masterpiece to say the least. Four distinctly different terrain types take you around the community and guide you along the picturesque river with the cutest of names – Paw Paw River.
Can you say that this course has a “Signature Hole?” Hell no!!! There are far too many great and memorable holes to pick just one. This is not your walk in the park kind of day, if you are not playing great, enjoy the WOW visuals.
Holes one to six are considered the inland holes, where you get a taste of the bunkering on the 2nd hole and an introduction to the Paw Paw River on the 3rd. You will realize by the end of this stretch that fairways are large and easy to hit. Getting onto the green and avoiding bunkers and water is another thing.
Seven through nine are Dunes holes cresting at the 7th green with panoramic views of Lake Michigan. I’m pretty sure that everyone has a love hate relationship with the par 4- 7th hole. Stunning from the island tee box over wetlands, play your tee shot to the center or left of the fairway to avoid bunkers and a lake on the right. Your second shot is played to an elevated green 25 ft. to the top of the dune. The green is surrounded by dune grass. Go long . . . and you’re on the beach. Stay short . . . and your approach will roll to the bottom of the hill.
Holes 10-13 present a more tree lined scenario mixing in some natural ponding and ravines and if that is not enough, Mr. Nicklaus threw in more bunkers – just to keep you on your toes.
There is a movie called “A River Runs Through It.” Holes 14 to 18, the Paw Paw River runs through them. You will love the risk reward 16th and its kidney shaped green. The 18th is a great finishing hole, the river runs along the right side and wetlands align to the left. A good drive leaves you a short iron in. Good luck!
Connected to its Community
You can’t help but notice the beautiful art upon arrival and at tee boxes throughout the round. The course has a strong connection to art and the local community. Each hole has been named after plants indigenous to the area. At each hole, a classy metal sculpture with at least one piece of hand-blown glass holds a plaque describing one of Jack Nicklaus’ major championships. The metal sculptor, Josh Andres, and the glassblower, Jerry Catania, have studios in The Arts District in Benton Harbor.
Amazing terrain. A dramatic design.
If Michigan is on your mind, Harbor Shores Resort should be too! https://www.harborshoresresort.com/
As a golf destination the State of Michigan can hold it own with the best! But wait…Nicklaus is adding another feather in Michigan’s cap.
Being at Harbor Shores, I was just too close to my good friend Doug Bell not to drive up and check out all that he had going on at the development of the new American Dunes Golf Club.
A great fall growing season in 2019, and with Dozer Doug, as he is affectionally known, pushing and sculpting massive amounts of dirt Doug (Bell) advises that American Dunes should have a 9-hole, soft opening this coming August!
This is one course that is so much more than just golf! Behind this initiative is Lt. Col. Dan Rooney, a former F-16 fighter pilot and veteran of the war in Iraq. Lt. Col. Rooney, since forming the “Folds of Honor Foundation” in 2007, along with the support of Nicklaus is introducing the next step in paying tribute to American service members and their families.
Located near the eastern shores of Lake Michigan, Grand Haven Golf Club hosted the first golf tournament that would inspire the formation of Folds of Honor and Patriot Golf Day. Now, the original layout is being totally redesigned and reimagined by Nicklaus and Nicklaus Design, and rebranded as American Dunes. A Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, American Dunes will pay tribute to the United States Military and is a reminder to all that Freedom is not free.
The “Birthplace of the Folds of Honor” starts here! Major Rooney sat down with Nicklaus on the back patio of The Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Florida, and told him of his vision to transform Grand Haven and preserve the birthplace of Folds of Honor. The Golden Bear quickly agreed to come on board and bring with him the world’s leading golf course design firm.
The site is an ideal blend of sandy soil, mature trees, elevation change and rolling terrain about 200 to 300 yards off Lake Michigan. “The property is basically sand underneath,” Nicklaus explained. “It had magnificent trees that had grown up over time, but is that really what this golf course is or should be with the dunes off the lake? What we are trying to do is create a golf course that will open up that feeling of coming off Lake Michigan, having the dunes, and then incorporating that into some of the inland areas that have the beautiful trees. The combination of the two—being able to play through and around exposed dunes as well as tree-lined holes in some places—really creates a golf course that is rather unique.
“The Nicklaus Companies has a long history of giving back in its products or services, whether the beneficiary is junior golf or pediatric healthcare,” said Howard Milstein, Executive Chairman of the Nicklaus Companies. “But one of the important pillars of philanthropy, and something very dear to the hearts of Jack and Barbara Nicklaus, is to give back to the military men and women who have sacrificed limb and life for our country’s freedom.”
Yet another excuse to visit Michigan and support all that have supported us!