Industry News

Harbor Shores Golf Club honored as one of Golf Digest’s “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses”

Jack Nicklaus Signature design earns prestigious recognition for the first time and moves up six spots on the Best in State list

BENTON HARBOR, MI - Harbor Shores Golf Club, Southwest Michigan’s premier lakefront Jack Nicklaus Signature designed golf course, has been ranked – for the first time ever – on Golf Digest’s biennial list of “America's 100 Greatest Public Courses.” The course came in at No. 90 on the prestigious list, and also moved up six spots to No. 19 on Michigan’s Best in State list. 

The celebrated 18-hole layout, part of the Harbor Shores Resort, has also hosted the oldest senior major championship, Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, every other year since 2012. The championship will return to Harbor Shores Golf Club in 2024.

Harbor Shores10_DJI_0326WEB.jpg

The publication’s biennial review of America's top public courses appears in the recent July/August 2023 issue. Golf Digest used more than 1,100 members of its Course Ranking Panel and asked each to submit ballots based on seven criteria including shot values, resistance to scoring, design variety, memorability, aesthetics, conditioning, and ambience.

“To be ranked among America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses by Golf Digest is tremendous honor, and a testament to the unforgettable design that Jack Nicklaus created and the brilliant playing conditions our team maintains daily,” said Joshua Doxtator, PGA/General Manager. “We are very grateful that Golf Digest course raters appreciate the uniqueness and integrity of this layout and the overall experience we provide our guests.”

Harbor Shores8_DJI_0124WEB.jpg

Harbor Shores Golf Club has become a must-play among Midwest destinations, courtesy of a captivating layout that winds through a variety of stunning landscapes at the convergence of the Lake Michigan shoreline and the meandering Paw Paw River. Nicklaus’ engaging routing reveals a commitment to naturalism and letting the flow and contour of the land dictate the aesthetics and playability. He boldly tabbed the course as one of his 18 favorite designs of all time.

Nicklaus crafted a thoughtful, engaging routing that runs over four remarkably diverse terrains in a spectacular topographical locale. The beginning six holes meander the Inland terrain through beautiful wetland areas. Holes 7-9 wind along a dramatic exposed dunes-scape with awe-inspiring views of Lake Michigan. Holes 10-13 play through woodlands terrain and wind through rolling hills, ravines, and a hardwood forest. The finishing holes, 14 through 18, border the Paw Paw River, Ox Creek and its wetlands, providing scenic and exciting shot values, like the views into the greens at 14 and 15 over the Paw Paw River. The par-4 18th finishes along a serene stretch of the stunning river in a well-treed hollow.

Harbor Shores7_DJI_0164WEB.jpg

This Nicklaus Signature design is also the centerpiece of a massive development that changed the landscape of the Benton Harbor community. During World War II, local Whirlpool plants and factories were transformed into F.D.R.’s arsenal of democracy, manufacturing components for fighter planes. The city then evolved into a vibrant manufacturing center in the 1950’s and 1960’s, only to see it all disappear over the next 20 years - prompting community leaders to recognize that change was desperately needed. Over the past decade, revitalized areas and multi-purpose developments have sprung up around the course, including multiple residential communities and a luxurious riverside boutique hotel.

When planning a stay, the new Champions Villa is a perfect space for 4-8 golfers. It’s conveniently located along the first fairway right next to the clubhouse. This 2,000-square-foot, 4-bedroom/4-bath unit exemplifies golf luxury. Another excellent option for lodging is the beautiful Inn at Harbor Shores, a 92-room luxury hotel on the St. Joseph River. It features 14 luxury suites, two top-floor condominiums, a rooftop meeting space, and a wide selection of dining options such as Plank’s Tavern on the Water, Torch & Tapas, and Rise & Vine. Make sure to check out the Champions Package that includes two nights lodging plus unlimited golf for four guests.

To schedule your own golf getaway to Harbor Shores, visit


Media Contacts:
Kevin Frisch PR
Kevin Frisch
(989) 614-0241

Carl Mickelson
(512) 797-2673