Manele Golf Course

Lanai, Hawaii

Harbor Shores Resort (Benton Harbor, Michigan)

Harbor Shores Resort logo Golf Course Review by: Billy Satterfield

The Takeaway:  The massive cleanup of this site was a marvel and excellent use of the land, however the course itself has an identity crisis with multiple changes in scenery and environments; some for good and some for bad. Not Michigan's best public course, but one of the better ones for sure.  Grade B-

Quick Facts

Designer:  Jack Nicklaus 2010

Cost:  $100 - $195 Click for current rates

Phone Number:  269-927-4653

Course Website:  Official Website - Visit Harbor Shores Resort's official website by clicking on the link provided.

Directions:  Get here! - 201 Graham Ave, Benton Harbor, Michigan  49022 – UNITED STATES

Photos:  See additional photos of Harbor Shores Resort

What to Expect:  Located on one of the largest government and community cleanup sites in the country, Harbor Shores is the result of a massive transformation on the shores of Lake Michigan. Because the ground formerly had multiple uses that had to be removed, cleaned, and resolved over time, the course is routed through four distinct areas that characterize the outdoor experience. The first six holes are inland on relatively tame ground through a housing development. Holes 7-9 are in the dunes with the 7th hole ascending to one of the high points on the course unveiling a view of Lake Michigan afforded from the green. The back nine starts in the woodlands with trees framing each side of the fairways before getting to holes 14-18 which are routed along the river. The outdoor experience is a unique one where you keep changing environments but are constantly reminded that you aren't "really" removed from the world when homes come into play, industrial buildings come into view, or power lines dominate the visuals. Holes 3 and 7 on the front are the best offerings at Harbor Shores while #15 on the back is a great risk/reward opportunity. This is also a classic post-Sebonack design by Jack Nicklaus where he became much more dramatic in his green contours. With as fast as the course maintains the green speeds (12+), it can get pretty wild at certain pin locations. In the end, the massive cleanup the government did at this site (3 million square feet of dilapidated buildings were demolished and over 140,000 tons of waste material was removed from the Paw Paw River) makes it an environmental marvel and an excellent use of the site. It may not be Michigan's best public course, but certainly one of the better ones.

By the Numbers

Tees Par Yardage Rating Slope
Black 71 6734 73.6 146
Black/Gold 71 6469 72.2 142
Gold 71 6159 70.9 139
Gold/White 71 5912 69.6 135
White 71 5646 67.9 131
Blue (Ladies) 71 4842 69.3 127

Individual Hole Analysis

Signature Hole:  7th Hole – 430 Yard Par 4 – Easily the signature hole at Harbor Shores, the 7th features an ascension up to a greensite that provides 180 degree views of Lake Michigan. The tee shot plays over a marsh area to a fairway bending right along a large bunker complex. Big hitters may choose to challenge the bunkers on the right where a sliver of fairway is afforded further right, but the penalty for missing into the marshy areas or into the bunker is severe. The approach shot plays well uphill with the fairway blocking views of Lake Michigan until the climb to the hole's summit is complete. While pars will be challenging to find, finding enjoyment from the view is easy.

7th Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (430 Yard Par 4)
7th Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (430 Yard Par 4)

7th Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (430 Yard Par 4)
7th Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (430 Yard Par 4)

7th Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (430 Yard Par 4)
7th Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (430 Yard Par 4)

Best Par 3:  11th Hole – 137 Yards – There has been a stronger wave in recent years of designing great short holes rather than long, demanding par threes; the 11th is an example of this. A relatively small target awaits on this one-shotter that plays over water to a green featuring a trio of bunkers surrounding it to provide additional challenge. The green slopes from left to right, so taking dead aim at the flag at worst should result in the ball moving a bit downhill and yielding an uphill putt for birdie, but getting above the hole can be treacherous.

11th Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (137 Yard Par 3)
11th Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (137 Yard Par 3)

Best Par 4:  12th Hole – 409 Yards – The 12th is a hard dogleg left with trees and bunkers on the inside corner that act as defense to players that can't carve around them with a draw. This shot-shapers hole can be a birdie opportunity, but players that bail out to the right will find themselves with a challenging approach with more sand coming into play greenside.

12th Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (409 Yard Par 4)
12th Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (409 Yard Par 4)

Best Par 5:  15th Hole – 537 Yards – A great risk/reward opportunity is presented at the 15th hole as a river runs along the right side of the hole before cutting in front of the green. The fairway bunkers seen in the distance from the tee act as a great aiming point and the result of your drive will weigh heavily on your decision of how aggressive to be with your second shot. Whenever the time is selected to attack the green, the river will need to be carried, as will the bunker fronting the putting surface, and players will need great distance control because missing long isn't exactly a reward when trying to get up and down.

15th Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (537 Yard Par 5)
15th Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (537 Yard Par 5)

15th Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (537 Yard Par 5)
15th Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (537 Yard Par 5)

Birdie Time:  3rd Hole – 318 Yard Par 4 – Who doesn't love a driveable par four? Jack presents one early on and it is a dandy! The river runs the entire length of the left side while the fairway features a quartet of bunkers to navigate. If going for the green with your tee shot, the bunker on the right side of the green should be your primary concern although it isn't a terrible line to take in order to scoot away from the water. Once on board, the undulations in the green present a challenge to your short game, but you should be able to get close enough to the hole with your second shot that the prospects of birdie feel very attainable.

3rd Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (318 Yard Par 4)
3rd Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (318 Yard Par 4)

3rd Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (318 Yard Par 4)
3rd Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (318 Yard Par 4)

Bogey Beware:  6th Hole – 420 Yard Par 4 – Harbor Shores' #1 handicap lives up to its standing as the course's most difficult hole and can be a bogey machine. The tee shot needs to split the bunkers found on each side of the fairway with much of the landing area being out of view for the longer player. Longer hitters that go up the right side may find their ball running through the fairway into a marsh area where a penalty will be assessed. No matter what side of the fairway players go up, they will be faced with an approach shot over the water with the green angled away. The green runs towards the water, so bailing to the left will only leave a more challenging up and down opportunity.

6th Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (420 Yard Par 4)
6th Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (420 Yard Par 4)

6th Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (420 Yard Par 4)
6th Hole at Harbor Shores Resort (420 Yard Par 4)

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