Featuring 18 holes of spectacular elevation changes, woodland-bordered fairways and breath-taking views of Lake Michigan, Harbor Shores Golf Club has it all. The team from Jack Nicklaus design and a local development consortium was able to turn what was basically 500 acres of neglected waterfront real estate into a blossoming golf course and community.
The Golf Club at Harbor Shores winds its way through flat lands, sandy dunes and densely wooded areas, making use of the native terrain while incorporating familiar Nicklaus design elements such as soft contours and good recovery areas.
The Golf Club at Harbor Shores is a stunning layout that has hosted the 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 Senior PGA Championships. Although the 2020 event was cancelled, the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship will return to Benton Harbor in 2022 and 2024.
Harbor Shores Signature Hole
A highlight of the outward nine is the foreboding 7th hole, the signature hole at Harbor Shores Golf Club. A dogleg right that plays its way into a stiff breeze coming off bordering Lake Michigan, the 7th hole finishes with green hidden from view by a steep incline that is fronted by massively deep bunkering. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more unique and challenging hole in the Midwest.
7th Hole – Golf Club at Harbor Shores
On a course loaded with memorable holes, it would be hard not to consider the par four 7th hole the most memorable. The drive to the island tee boxes across the winding wooden platform sets the stage for one of the most remarkable golf holes that you’ll find anywhere.
The tee shot over wetlands requires navigating a pond directly in front with deep rough and bunkers on the left. Once again, it’s difficult to see the ample fairway available, so many golfers choose to aim directly across the pond, often finding the three large sand traps on the other side.
Long and straight into the fairway is optimal because the true money-maker on this hole is a blind approach to a green that is 30 feet to the top of the dune. The correct miss on your approach is to the left where there is a tightly mowed area. A miss to the right will find one of two deep bunkers that are surrounded by thick fescue.
Choosing your approach club is another major hurdle, placing a premium on golf club distance control. It’s often difficult to see the pin at the top of the hill and the wind off Lake Michigan also is a factor.
The green is wide with a major slope from back to front, but the undulations are significant. An errant chip on the 7th hole from the back rough to a forward pin can find it’s way all the way back down the hill.