Harbor Shores Boasts Incredible Golf and Community Comeback Story

This week, golfers and golf-lovers alike will travel to Harbor Shores to watch the best senior tour-players tee-it-up in the 77th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. But on top of the action on the links, they’ll also see a transformed town welcoming visitors and tourists with open arms.

In a model similar to the revitalization of the East Lake neighborhood in Atlanta, now home to the year ending Fed Ex Cup Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club, Harbor Shores and the Whirlpool Corporation had a vision to transform the  once a vibrant manufacturing town that had fallen on hard times back into a bustling community. This vision has been quickly realized with countless assets and investments being poured the community through new business growth, job creation, real estate development and new-found tourism revenue.

At the forefront of this development is the new Harbor Shores Golf Club, designed by famous PGA-legend Jack Nicklaus. With the attached real estate development of condos and cottages and the new Inn at Harbor Shores, Benton Harbor is attracting golfers and travelers alike from across Michigan and the entire Midwest.

Sand traps at Harbor Shores

Sand traps present a fun challenge at Harbor Shores

The course meanders over spectacular and diverse landscapes that offer breathtaking views and exciting challenges for golfers taking the tee. Three holes offer dramatic views of Lake Michigan while others wind through rolling hills, ravines, and hardwood forests.

Golfers looking to visit the area on a golf package and contribute its economic impact will find the combination of the Inn at Harbor Shores and the golf club to be one of the best golf and lodging combinations in the state. The Inn, with its classical coastal architecture reminiscent of the early 19th and 20th century cottage style, features 92 elegant rooms, plentiful dining options, spa, and meeting space.

Some of the highlights of the Jack Nicklaus designed course are the challenging green complexes that Nicklaus is known to do, including the 10,000 square foot 10th green, where Jack made a legendary putt during the grand opening of over 100-feet that rose up multiple levels to the bottom of the cup.

The best stretch of holes might be on the back nine and along the Paw Paw river with holes 12, 13, 14, and 15, a classic risk-reward par 5 with river running along the entire right side.

Lush putting greens at HawksHead Links

Beautiful putting greens seen at HawksHead Links

For golfers who want to play multiple courses on a golf package to the area or while attending the championship this week, then make sure to check out HawksHead  Links in South Haven, designed by Art Hills, or Ravines Golf Club created by Arnold Palmer up the coast in Saugatuck, and the nearby Lake Michigan Hills,  which has been a favorite stop for over 40 years.

A visit to this revitalized area is not only a great day on the greens, but also a chance to experience the comeback of a small American town. Check it out for yourself and be sure to let us know your score. FORE!

What is your favorite Michigan golf memory? Share with us by commenting below!

Be Part of the Benton Harbor Arts District

Benton Harbor is home to a thriving art and culture scene – including events like Artoberfest, an Oktoberfest-style celebration of art, culture, music, and food that’s coming up on September 21. Read about Artoberfest and more in the guest post below from Joshua Nowicki.

Shortly after moving to Southwestern Michigan two years ago, I fell in love with the Benton Harbor Arts District.

My first introduction to the Arts District was during one of the Art Hops organized by the New Territory Arts Association (NTAA).  I was amazed at the number of people downtown and by the variety of local businesses, restaurants, and galleries that invited artists to show their work.  The Art Hops, which are free and family-friendly events, are open to everyone; many of the participating organizations provide light refreshments for guests.  The upcoming Art Hop dates are October 18th and December 20th, 2013.

"Icarus" by David Kolka located in Thayer Park (part of the Krasl Art Center Biennial Sculpture Invitational)

One of my favorite places in the Arts District is Water Street GlassWorks, a non-profit, studio, gallery and school which is dedicated to the glass and metal arts.  Visitors are invited to overlook the school’s ‘hot shop’ and watch students’ and artists’ glassblowing and casting.  The perfect complement to the warmth of the GlassWorks is ice-cold gelato from Water Street GellatoWorks.  The GellatoWorks which serves Palazzolo’s gelato and Uncommon Grounds coffee, is an arm of the GlassWorks and provides funding for the organizations’ FiredUp! program and job skills training for the participating students.

While in the Arts District, you will probably notice a number of orange metal sculptures located on various rooftops and walkways. These sculptures were created by Michigan based artist, John Suave, and are part of the ‘I Am The Greatest Project,’ a program of Anna Russo Sieber Gallery.  The gallery features exhibits of both local and national arts, along with art, language and cultural classes, and outreach programs.

The artist studios at 210 Water Street offer a great opportunity to meet local artists working in their studios. 3 Pillars Gallery, an intermittent urban gallery, offers various creative events. The Arts District is also the location of Richard Hunt Studio Center which is one of the galleries/studios of internationally acclaimed sculptor, Richard Hunt.  Moreover, it is home to The Citadel Dance & Music Center along with The Oak Room at the Citadel; both are performing arts organizations.  Further, the Arts District has recently expanded with the addition of the Wall Street Studios just across Main Street.

There are a variety of unique dining options in the Arts District including The Phoenix, Larks Bar-B-Que, Charlie’s Piggin’ N’ Grinnin’, The Library Pub & Eatery, and The Ideal Place.  Also nearby are Cafe Mosaic and Bread + Bar by Bit of Swiss.  If you love Michigan beer, The Livery offers a tasty selection of ‘hand-forged microbrews’.  The Livery is also the place to go for concerts and entertainment including Open Stage sponsored by the NTAA which features regional musicians, poets, and storytellers on the first Monday of every month.

Interior of a loft in the Benton Harbor Arts District

Earlier this year, the NTAA hosted a Loft Hop which gave participants an exclusive look at the unique living spaces in downtown Benton Harbor. The level of comfort and luxury that the historic downtown buildings provide to their residents is amazing.  In fact, downtown living is so poplar that there is a wait list for available spaces.

If you are in Southwest Michigan on September 21, you will not want to miss Artoberfest, an Oktoberfest-style celebration of art, culture, music, and food. This year, it features two headliner bands: The True Falsettos and Deacon Blues.  Artoberfest will feature Michigan microbrews from Arcadia, Bells, Greenbush, The Livery, Shorts, and Tapistry.

Be sure to visit the Arts District as part of your next trip to Southwestern Michigan.

To learn more about the Benton Harbor Arts District, Art Hops & Artoberfest, visit www.newterritoryarts.org.

Joshua Nowicki is a St. Joseph, Michigan based photographer and a member of the New Territory Arts Association board of directors.  

The Golf Club at Harbor Shores Hosts Senior PGA Championship

The 73rd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid makes its first appearance in Michigan in 2012 at The Golf Club at Harbor Shores, happening now through May 27th. Today, Ross Smith, Director of Golf at Harbor Shores, answers our questions on the tournament and gives an overview of what players can expect from the course throughout the season.

Q: Who can attendees expect to see playing this year?

A: Fans can expect to see the greatest players in senior golf including Fred Couples, Hale Irwin, Jeff Sluman, Kenny Perry, Brad Faxon and more.

Q: What makes Harbor Shores such a unique golf course?

A: One reason Harbor Shores is so unique is due to the environmental cleanup involved. The first time I saw the property in fall 2008, the present driving range and first hole were only gravel and trash, and still had about 50,000 square-feet of old abandoned factories and foundries on top of it. When Jack Nicklaus’ team made their first visit, they had to rent a bull dozer to move the trash and debris just to see the ground. It is amazing to see the significant environmental efforts that have taken place to clean-up the area that is now Harbor Shores.

Q: What is a must-see on the course for golf enthusiasts?

A: In addition to the greatest players in senior golf coming to Harbor Shores, to see the course’s current condition is nothing short of amazing. Due to the hard work of Harbor Shores Course Superintendent Brad Fry and the entire KemperSports staff, the entire turf condition of the golf course is second to none. The players participating in the Championship will have no idea that the golf course has only been open for play since July 2010.

Q: How can beginners get involved with golf at the Golf Club at Harbor Shores?

A: In addition to offering lessons to all golfers, the learning academy at Harbor Shores is also home to The First Tee of Benton Harbor. The driving range plays west to east, and the academy sits on the south end of the range, which helps out for fall/winter instruction and practice time. We have state-of-the-art V1 video, as well as a Trackman Launch Monitor. From instruction to club fitting, our facility can meet the needs of players of all skill levels. Our new First Tee academy serves as a great resource for the community and helps juniors get involved and learn the game of golf. 

Q: Where can people go to learn more about the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid?

A: Fans can visit www.spga2012.com to learn more about the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid.

Ross Smith is the Director of Golf at Harbor Shores. For more information on Harbor Shores and the Senior PGA, please visit michigan.org.