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!

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.

A Perfect 18 in Pure Michigan

Golfers often think about playing their favorite 18 holes, but those 18 are not necessarily on a single course. James Mason recently played 14 courses in 12 days in Michigan, and designed an 18-hole course from his favorites on the trip.

Harbor Shores

Harbor Shores

After a lot of email exchanges with golf expert Tim Hygh, I was on my way to the Motor City to play 14 courses in 12 days! We could have included some fishing, for there is plenty to be had, or even a spa visit. But for me, a perfect trip includes golf, golf and more golf! I was very happy with that itinerary.

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