Harbor ShoresHarbor Shores

Harbor Shores
201 Graham Ave.
Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022

Phone(s): (269) 927-4653
Fax: (269) 927-1818
Website: www.harborshoresgolf.com

Harbor Shores boasts a Jack Nicklaus Signature layout that plays through a stunning landscape of forest and wetlands. The golf course tumbles across hills and ravines blanketed with hardwood trees, providing a round that is as scenic as it is challenging. Thanks to the massive white sand dunes that edge along the water, the course has a truly links feel. When combined with the trees and natural water hazards provided by the landscape, the golf course becomes a truly formidable test. The seaside location also guarantees that some holes will be played into the prevailing wind. The trio of holes from the seventh through the ninth plays along the water and offer scenic views of Lake Michigan. There are 10 holes that border the Paw Paw River, Ox Creek, and their surrounding marshland.

Harbor Shores
3.5 stars out of 5 (based on 12 reviews)
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A sunny day view of a hole at Harbor Shores.A view of the 7th tee at Harbor Shores.Harbor Shores: View from the 2nd holeA view of the 10th hole at Harbor ShoresA view of green #11 at Harbor ShoresHarbor Shores: View from #12A view of the 16th green at Harbor ShoresView from Harbor Shores

Golf course details

  • Holes: 18
  • Designed by: Jack Nicklaus
  • Public/Private: Public/Resort
  • Year opened: 2010
  • Golf Season:
  • Guest Policy: Open
  • Tee times welcomed: Yes
  • Fairways:
  • Greens:


  • Pro in house: Yes
  • Driving range: Yes
  • Rental clubs: Yes
  • Rental carts: Yes

Green fees price ranges

Course policies

  • Metal spikes allowed: No
  • Dress code:
  • Credit cards accepted: Yes

Length, slope and rating for each tee

Tee Par Yardage Slope Rating
Black 71 6852 143 74.7
Grey 71 6246 137 70.8
White 71 5740 133 69.1
Blue 71 4917 123 69.4

Reader Ratings / Reviews

  • Harbor Shores
    4.5 stars out of 5
    by The Golfin' Guy
    on August 27th, 2021 09:20
    It doesn’t matter whether it’s a country club or a municipal golf course, whether it’s open to the public or a private country club, every golf course has a story. Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor Michigan is no different.

    Benton Harbor was once a thriving manufacturing area with such notable companies as Whirlpool having its world headquarters here. However, with the economic downturn in the mid-1980s, jobs were lost, buildings were abandoned and the soil became contaminated. The area became a dumping ground for garbage, oil sludge, and just about anything else you could think of. With the nearby town of St. Joseph thriving with tourism, something had to be done to ensure the growth of the area’s economy.

    Several community groups got together including Cornerstone Alliance, and the Consortium for Community Development, and plans were put on the table for a 530-acre mixed-use development with residential homes, hotels, a lakefront park, and a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course. Mr. Nicklaus visited the property and after serious deliberation, accepted the challenge.

    To get the site ready to build a golf course, over 100,000 cubic feet of solid waste, contaminated soil, and trash were removed. Once that project was complete, the golf course could move forward and according to Jack, very few changes were made to the original routing plans.

    Harbor Shores Golf Club plays 6,734 yards from the Black Tees with a course rating of 73.6 and a slope of 146. Unless you’re out to prove something, move up to the Gold Tees (6,159/70.2/139) and you’ll still be challenged yet able to leave with a certain amount of dignity.

    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.

    The Inn offers guests king, queen, and family accommodations, which have three queen size beds in one suite with a view of either the golf course or one of Michigan’s oldest deep-water harbors. All are equipped with safes, coffeemakers, refrigerators, and balconies where you can enjoy the cool evening breezes. Planks Tavern on the Water and is the premier waterfront dining spot in St. Joseph Planks offers some great food for both big and small appetites. They open at 9 in the morning – 8 on Friday and the weekend – and also offer some unique dishes. My favorite breakfast entrée is the Banana Bread French toast with chocolate chunks, whip cream, porter caramel sauce, and white chocolate sauce. For lunch or dinner, I highly recommend the Fjord Sea Trout. It’s pan-seared and served with mushroom rice pilaf, sauteed spinach, and pearl onions, and accompanied with tarragon honey butter.
  • Harbor Shores
    3.5 stars out of 5
    by Robert Stephenson
    on September 25th, 2015 07:07
    at one time I my life as a 12 handicap this course would be great. Traditionally Mr Nicklaus who I admire greatly builds courses that are totally in un fit for older or higher handicap players. If you ever played his other designs you might agree. Old corkscrew ine Florida is another example of the extreme difficulty of his designs . Many of these are resort courses and do not play to ordinary resort golf. Call me nuts but you could have. A stroke just walkin around the greens,easy Four putse.

    Bob@ Bonnie

  • Harbor Shores
    4.5 stars out of 5
    by Ohio Visitor
    on June 08th, 2014 06:38
    This course was in fantastic condition and was one of the best courses I've ever played. Highly recommend this course to any one vacationing in the area.
  • Harbor Shores
    2.5 stars out of 5
    by Jimmy
    on June 03rd, 2013 13:59
    A must play golf course! This great layout cannot be appreciated to the fullest until you realize that prior to this development this land was a dump. It took great imagination do develop this terrific course. The completion recently of the new clubhouse /restaurant/pro shop and the addition this year of carts with a high-end GPS system add the enjoyment of playing here.

    Not extremely long (6860 from the tips) and generous landing areas on most holes make it enjoyable for most golfers (play from the correct tees). That being said, you need a good sand game, chipping skills, and a putter that you love because the defense of this track is on and around the greens.

    The PGA Championship (Champions Tour) was played here last year and will return in 2014 (and potentially again in the future). This is a testament to quality of this layout.

    If you are disappointed in this golf course you should take up bowling!
  • Harbor Shores
    4.5 stars out of 5
    by Virginia
    on October 15th, 2012 14:13
    We just played this course and thought it was a great layout and very challenging. The staff in the pro shop, on the range and in the restaurant were extremely accommodating and friendly. While the elevated green may put some people off, the challenge was fun. The setting is beautiful and during the fall the trees were lovely. We liked the double green and found it difficult but fun to play. There are many courses that we have played and this one will definitely bring us back! As the other reviewer said--go play it! Great course!
  • Harbor Shores
    4 stars out of 5
    by Jay
    on October 11th, 2011 19:54
    Great layout. Interesting and challenging. Need to play it a few times to find best positions to green. Pricey but a great experience.
  • Harbor Shores
    2.5 stars out of 5
    by Allan
    on September 05th, 2011 06:08
    Not a great course. Holes 6 and 7 are silly, with forced carries. The 10th green is ridiculous- a two tiered nightmare that rises ten feet from bottom to top. The root system hasn't grown in yet, and the course doesn't drain well, leading to many iron shots from soggy lies in the fairway.

    No one rakes the bunkers and the greens are cratered with unrepaired ball marks. For the price, I expected the course to be in much better shape.

    The sand in the bunkers is consistent, leading to escapable plays, IF the people in front of you actually rake.

    All the par threes are challenging in a good way.

    After all the fanfare that this course had, I am very disappointed.
  • Harbor Shores
    1 stars out of 5
    by Alex Evon
    on August 20th, 2011 14:45
    Place is like being in the middle of the twilight zone. It is the epitome of a forced layout that doesnt flow naturally. For the price it is a joke. With all the great michigan golf courses stay clear of this overrated odd course. Without Jack Nicklaus's name this would be a 40 dollar course at best.
  • Harbor Shores
    5 stars out of 5
    by Pam
    on August 06th, 2011 18:51
    Absolutely one of the best courses I've played. Loved it. The staff was extremely nice and friendly. Loved the Titliest golf balls on the range. Real Class! Can't wait to return.
  • Harbor Shores
    3.5 stars out of 5
    by Bart
    on June 11th, 2011 08:46
    Observations from a 12 handicap. There is no question that the holes themselves are immaculate. Rolling fairways with plenty of uphill/downhill/sidehill lies. Greens have as much undulation and sloping as any I have ever played. 3-break putts are not uncommon.

    Back nine is most "playable". Front nine (where you can see Lake Michigan on a couple of holes) has 2 or 3 really "tricked up" holes that make you want to curse Jack. One par four has big islands of "death" (3 foot tall grass) in the middle of the fairway. Not quite fair to hit a ball straight and lose it. The course is not long, but the number of forced carries makes it difficult for short hitters. A playing partner would hit 180 yard drives which required a half-wedge layup to the front of trouble, followed by a 160 yard carry.

    The course is really spread out throughout the Harbor Shores development. Driving from 9 green to 10 tee took about 4 minutes. At two points you drive across a highway. At another point you drive under an overpass. You could never walk the course.

    Overall, the course conditions are great the course is solid and certainly challenging. A month ago I played Arcadia Bluffs. Harbor Shores is no Arcadia. But then again, what is?
  • Harbor Shores
    4.5 stars out of 5
    by Tom
    on May 18th, 2011 18:17
    Jeremy must be a hack with his lousy opinion--One of the best courses in the state! Go play it!!!
  • Harbor Shores
    3.5 stars out of 5
    by jeremy
    on November 04th, 2010 12:33
    Good golf course, laid out a little weird and definely over priced. Course was in great shape when i played however I have to admit I was a little disappointed with the true distance from Lake Michigan. Dont expect another Arcadia Bluffs I guess.
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