Harbor Shores Resort
About Harbor Shores ResortThe AAA Four-Diamond Inn at Harbor Shores, debuting in 2014, is part of the resurgence of the St. Joseph and Benton Harbor communities, bringing a world-class golf resort to Michigan's southwestern shores. The Harbor Shores Golf Club has hosted multiple Senior PGA Championships since its celebrated Champions for Change charity grand opening in 2010 featuring Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer, Johnny Miller and course designer Jack Nicklaus. The course winds along the Paw Paw River and atop the dunes of Lake Michigan. The Inn, home to 92 rooms and 14 suites with individual balconies, features multiple dining options, including the premier waterfront dining in the area. There's alos a deep-water marina, spa, fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, meeting rooms and banquet facilities that can hold up to 300 people and a public riverwalk connecting to 12 miles of recreational trails.
Golf courses at Harbor Shores Resort
Images from Harbor Shores Resort
#3 - Par-4 Photo submitted by BryanTweed16 on 08/02/2020
#7 - Par-4 Photo submitted by BryanTweed16 on 08/02/2020
#5 - Par-5 (Approach) Photo submitted by BryanTweed16 on 08/02/2020
#10 - Par-5 Photo submitted by BryanTweed16 on 08/02/2020
#11 - Par-3 Photo submitted by BryanTweed16 on 08/02/2020
#18 - Par-4 Photo submitted by BryanTweed16 on 08/02/2020
Photo submitted by RLWilson811 on 07/15/2020
#7 Tee Photo submitted by DrOldSchool on 04/25/2019
#8 Tee Photo submitted by DrOldSchool on 04/25/2019
Photo submitted by DrOldSchool on 04/25/2019
#7 Signature Hole Photo submitted by mriemer01 on 07/04/2017
Photo submitted by jefballard on 09/18/2014
A One-O-A-Kind Michigan Golf Experience
A quick look at the scorecard and you will notice that the course is split into four unique areas. Holes 1 – 6 are designated the “Inland” holes because of their inland terrain. Holes 7 – 9 feature great views of Lake Michigan and are referred to as the “Dunes” holes. The “Woodland” holes (10-13) wind through rolling hills, ravines, and a hardwood forest, while the finishing holes (14-18) border the Paw Paw River and are hence known as the “River” holes. At Harbor Shores, you can experience several facets of Michigan golf all in the same round.
The 3rd hole (Sunflower) is a great risk/reward opportunity. It plays 305 yards from the Gold Tees and the Paw Paw River on the left side can be an ominous obstacle. Should you opt for a driver off the tee, the bunkers on the left side require a carry of about 215 yards. Clear them and you’ll have a short pitch shot in. Choose a longer approach shot and you’ll have to deal with the river guarding the left side and two bunkers on the right. The green has three distinct levels, so distance control is important. Low numbers can be had here.
Number 6 (Cattail) is a challenging par 4 that is Harbor Shores' #1 handicapped hole. From the Gold Tees the hole plays 389 yards and requires a semi-blind tee shot to a fairway that ends about 230 yards; hit it any further and you’re in trouble. A drive down the right side will leave a slightly shorter approach shot. A good drive will leave an approach shot of about 140 yards, over water into the green. Should you not feel up to the challenge, there’s a large bailout area to the left.
Hole #7 (Arrow Arum) is the course’s signature hole. Not only does it feature a significant uphill elevation change, but once you get up to the green the views of Jean Klock Park and Lake Michigan are incredible. Seven is a dogleg right that requires a long drive from an island tee box, over wetlands, a lake on the right, and bunkers. Your approach shot is to an elevated green – that’s an understatement – that sits 25 yards above the fairway on the top of a dune. The green is surrounded by long, wavy dune grass. Hit it over the green and you could very well find the beach – literally! Come up short on your approach shot and you can easily roll back down the hill or worse yet, find the deep bunker about halfway down. Forget your score and look around…all is good!
If you’re a Jack Nicklaus fan, Number 10 (Red Oak) may well be your favorite hole or at least green! It’s where Jack Nicklaus showed Johnny Miller how to hole a 102-foot putt during the club’s grand opening exhibition match. Number 10 is a 475-yard par 5 with woods on the right. Left is best off the tee, and helps to avoid all kinds of hazards. Continue with your layup shot down the left side to have the best angle into a notorious 4-tiered green. Being on the correct tier is everything here if you want to avoid a potential 3-putt – or worse. At over 10,000 sq. ft., this green is recognized as one of Jack’s most famous.
Number 15 (Primrose) is another risk/reward hole. This 487-yard par 5 has several options for longball hitters if you can avoid the fairway bunkers 275 yards off the tee. Mere mortals will layup short of the trap, play their layup shot left and short of the Paw Paw River that crosses in front of the green. It also gives you the best angle to approach the two-tiered green which is very wide and not real deep. A large, deep bunker sits between the river and the green.
Number 16 (Black-Eyed Susan) is another good test of golf. From the Gold Tees, it plays 380 yards and requires an accurate drive off the tee that avoids the lake on the left. Push your tee shot right or hit it too long and you’ll have trees and branches to deal with. A good drive will leave a short iron approach shot into the kidney-shaped green which is protected by water on the left and sand on the right.
Harbor Shores Resort is centrally located between three large, metropolitan cities: 90 minutes east of Chicago, 3 hours west of Detroit and 3 hours north of Indianapolis and is a popular weekend getaway destination for couples, weddings, team-building events, and just about any other reason you can think of that might involve a golf course. The restaurant is a popular waterside spot for boaters from all over the area.
The majority of guests seem to be here for the golf: after all, it’s a highly sought-after destination for golfers all over the Midwest. Harbor Shores will be hosting The Kitchenaid Senior PGA Championship in 2022 and 2024. This is the only Jack Nicklaus Signature Course on Lake Michigan and the first beach, golf, and residential community in Southwest Michigan.
The Grille inside the clubhouse has one of the most diverse menus I’ve seen at a golf course. Not only do they take the staples such as wings, burgers, and fries to a new level, but they have such non-traditional plates as PEI mussels, fried chicken, baked mac & cheese, and a pimento cheese dip that is not to be missed.
Really a top notch experience, best course we’ve ever played by far. It is a serious challenge, no doubt, and you definitely need to be thinking at least one shot ahead. We are mid to high handicappers, and found the course completely fair. They are very attentive to keeping the pace of play up- there was a foursome that was struggling a bit in front of us, and someone came by to let us know they had asked them to keep the pace up (not that we minded- we were enjoying the day and weren’t in a rush).
Bring an extra sleeve of balls with you if you have any tendencies to hit off line- there is a lot of trouble to be found out there. But we had an absolute blast, and will surely be back.
From the time you pull up and they take your sticks till when they take your sticks when you are done, it is first class, PURE HEAVEN. Course is in great condition and pace of play was perfect. We will be back.
This course has 4 different and challenging categories of holes ( inland, dunes, woodlands and river) and each hole was unusual and challenging.
The Harbor Shores course is one of the most picturesque and difficult courses I have played ( I played the Black/ Gold hybrid tees). My only criticism of the course is the layout is spread over a very large area and crosses a number of different roads with very few signs providing directions. If one of my foursome had not previously played the course I am not sure I could have found may way to each hole.
Did not disappoint!!
Always wanted to play this course & finally got the chance. Everything was top notch as I expected it to be! Rolling greens & nice fairways.
Only suggestion is better signage to the tee boxes as we got lost a couple times.
If you have the money or save up for that once a year expensive course this is the one for you. Show up early with your group and warm up your chipping, putting and driving, you won’t find a place with this caliber of amenities!!
The people who reviewed since mid October about aeration being a non-issue are not truthful. This year seems to be a slow to recover period for the greens. More sand and holes than ever seen 3-4 weeks later. Don’t get me wrong; this course is an awesome place to play-anytime! Just know the putting game is over for the year. Every pre-winter prep makes this place so much better in the spring.
Tough but very playable!
They punched the course this month but they called to tell me that before I came out, a little bumpy and slow but most of the courses in Michigan punch at this time. To is a Jack Nicholas Course so course management is key, don't over play the course, slow down and think it through. If its your first visit, I highly recommend running ahead and looking where your ball wants to land. If you can't hit reasonably straight you will want to take extra balls, simple as that. Today was my second trip here, I shot an 81 from the whites which is good for me at a 10 handicap. It's the end of the season now but please play it!!
A Michigan Must Play
I had the extreme pleasure of playing Harbor Shores on 10/14/20. I have played one other Jack Nicklaus course in the past, so I knew it would not be a walk in the park. Everything was top notch. From the time we dropped off our clubs in the morning to the time we left, the entire staff was professional, courteous and kind. The routing of the course is interesting because it is broken down into four areas (Inland, Dunes, Woodlands and River) depending on where you are, on the course. The Dunes and Woodlands are my favorites. My favorite hole would have to be the hardest one out there, #7. Make sure to snap some pictures of Lake Michigan off of either #7 green or #9 tee. There are five par threes on the course and each are unique in their own way. The routing between some of the holes takes a few minutes to get from green to tee, via cart. The greens are interesting to say the least with multiple tiers and undulation. Even thought we played on an aerated course (greens and fairways), this by no means distracted us from enjoying the day and the beauty of the golf course. While the price is not cheap, you owe it to yourself to play Harbor Shores. On a side note if you are looking for breakfast and do not want to eat at a chain restaurant. Go to the Mason Jar Café, located right outside Harbor Shores entranceway, and try the jalapeno scramble.
Like having your own private course
Once again Harbor Shores delivers a relaxed and relaxing challenge of a round. A threesome of women were welcome. We never waited. In fact while it was a busy day, we never saw anyone else. We didn’t even mind losing a few golf balls! The course is in great shape. The trigger ball removal tools take some practice but we got the hang of it.
Elle in the Grille provided excellent and careful service for our 19th hole drinks and meal.
Always nice to play a Jack Nicholas Signature course. big greens and lots of sand but hit it straight and play the tee box for your abilities and you will have a good day of golf.
Great course layout but pricey
Course layout is great and there are challenging holes. A few of the greens seemed a bit extreme with the elevation change and speed, but overall great experience. Have wanted to play the course since it opened, so now have had the opportunity. Great golf course, not great value.
The course is holding up well despite the unusually high water levels.
I truly appreciate the efforts that went into developing the site and the different golf experience in the deign utilizing 4 different areas (inland, dunes, woodland and river)