Jack Nicklaus hosts Champions for Change at Harbor Shores golf course
Many years in the making, Harbor Shores is officially opened with the Champions for Change charity skins game event held Aug. 10 in Benton Harbor. Golf course architect Jack Nicklaus invited fellow golfing legends Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Johnny Miller to play for $1 million in prize money -- which was all donated to the First Tee and Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor -- money put up by the Whirlpool Corporation.
"The golf course has been many decades in the making in terms of transforming the industrial base in the community into something very productive," said Jeff Fettig, CEO of Whirlpool. "I can't think of a better group of people, the four legends of golf, we had here today to kick it off."
Some 3,600 spectators attended the event, which also featured a clinic hosted by the foursome, who offered some pointers to the First Tee and Boys and Girls Club members, as well as a full grandstand of onlookers. Tom Watson, the youngest and most competitively active of the foursome, won the most skins on the day. But it was Nicklaus who wowed everyone on the 10th green, the biggest he's designed to date. When Miller was about to hit a flop shot from a lower tier 100 feet below the hole, Nicklaus waived him off, plunked a ball down and knocked it into the cup, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
Harbor Shores is an ambitious project, aimed at revitalizing the Benton Harbor community, which has suffered since many of its manufacturing plants closed in the 1980s. The centerpiece of the 530-acre resort and beach development is the Nicklaus signature course, which will host the 2012 and 2014 Senior PGA Championship. Also in the works are residential properties, a marina, river walk and town center.