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!

Two New Golf Courses Debut in Pure Michigan This Summer

Since the frenzied building of new golf courses in the 1990s, Michigan golfers have in large part been unable to contemplate new places to play. As the 2016 golf season opens, however, the Great Lakes state golfers can eagerly look forward to a pair of projects in the grow-in stages and planning debuts this summer.

Renaissance Golf Design of Traverse City has a hand in both, though Renaissance proprietor Tom Doak is involved in just one.

Doak found the perfect client in Lew Thompson, who was open to his idea of a reversible course that can be played one way one day, and another way the next, and the result is The Loop at Forest Dunes Golf Club in Roscommon. Four other architects who work for Doak’s firm, meanwhile, teamed up with the time-tested successful Scott family at Gull Lake View Golf Club and Resort in Augusta and created the new Stoatin Brae course. It promises to be a dramatic departure from the other five courses that are part of Gull Lake View.

TheLoop

Meanwhile, golfers can get excited for not only new courses, but the new ideas behind the courses as well. The reversible golf course idea that resulted in the design of The Loop was something Doak has contemplated for years.  When Thompson showed him the property and asked for a course that would make people choose to stay and play again, Doak knew the contemplation could end.

Doak’s team, which included the lead associate for the project Brian Slawnik, as well as design associates Brian Schneider and Eric Iverson, completed the 18 holes last summer. The first reversible design in the U.S. is set to open June 27. He borrowed some ideas for the design from the links courses in the United Kingdom, including the Old Course at St. Andrews. It used to be played backwards for a few weeks each winter so that the areas where divots were concentrated would have time to heal. Garden City in New York, which he has long thought would work well in reverse, also gave him ideas.

StolenBrae

Meanwhile in southwest Michigan, the Scott family has provided a golf destination for over 50 years,  growing from one 18-hole golf course to 90 holes on five courses as well as overnight lodging, practice facilities and restaurants. Make it 108 holes with a soft opening by the end of July planned. Stoatin Brae, which means Grand Hill in Scottish Gaelic, is only the second course of the six that is not designed by the talented family and cut through the trees and hills on the area’s natural rolling land.

Iverson, Don Placek, Schneider and Slawnik, senior associates for Renaissance, collaborated, and the new course sits atop an open grassland bluff overlooking the Kalamazoo River valley. Iverson said they knew instantly it had all the elements for a great golf course. Jon Scott, a third generation of the family to own and operate Gull Lake View, said the family sees an opportunity to grow the business with customers who seek out new golf. It will play to par 71 over 6,800 yards.

What is your favorite course to play in Pure Michigan? Share with us by commenting below!

Schedule Your Tee Time at These 5 Ann Arbor Courses

Forbes recently identified Ann Arbor as a destination with “great golf and great food.” Such high praise has golf enthusiasts looking at the area with renewed interest for their own game. As the Ann Arbor area prepares to host the Volvik LPGA Championship from May 23-29, VisitAnnArbor.org shares information about some of the local greens.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

One of the more scenic courses in the Ann Arbor area is Eagle Crest Golf Club, designed by golf architect Karl Litten. Nestled along Ford Lake, the stunning waterfront par 72 course is a delight to experience and the 16th hole has been named one of the toughest in Michigan. With a four-star rating from Golf Digest, golfers vying for one of two qualifying positions will tee off at Eagle Crest for the 2016 LPGA Volvik Local Qualifier. Nearby dining recommendations: Check out the great dining in downtown Ypsilanti including Red Rock Downtown Barbecue, Sidetrack, and Haab’s.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Another nationally ranked course is The University of Michigan Golf Course. Designed by world renowned golf architect Alister MacKenzie, it is recognized as one of the most fun courses in America. Built in 1931, this course just recently opened to public play and attracts golfers from across the globe to experience this classic course widely considered one of the best of all college layouts (not to mention the amazing view of the Big House!). Nearby dining recommendations: Stick with the university theme and dine downtown at The Pretzel Bell on Main Street or Pizza House on Church Street.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

 

Stonebridge Golf Club is a great destination for golfers looking for a more affordable championship course and driving range. Designed in 1991 by Arthur Hills, a renowned golf course architect and University of Michigan alum, the meticulous course is surrounded by natural beauty. Stonebridge also offers a practice putting green, driving range with bent grass tees, and a large chipping bunker. Nearby dining recommendations: Head into Saline for great food and craft beer at Salt Springs Brewery or the fresh catch at Mac’s Acadian Seafood Shack.

Leslie Park, Photo Courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

If you’re looking for a more casual golf outing, there are a number of options that will suit your needs including Huron Hills and Leslie Park Golf Courses. These two municipal courses are all located very close to downtown Ann Arbor, perfect for a weekend of golf and dining! Nearby dining recommendations: Zingerman’s Deli is always a hole-in-one. For a lighter dining option, consider tapas and sangria to share at Aventura.

To start planning your trip, go to VisitAnnArbor.org for a full listing of Ann Arbor area golf courses and more information about nearby attractions, restaurants, and events.