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What You Need To Know: Harbor Shores Golf Course

What You Need To Know: Harbor Shores Golf Course

An Insightful Interview With Joshua Doxtator, PGA General Manager

By Brian Weis

Whether you have played a course 20+ times a year or looking to play the course for the first time, insights from an insider can help enhance your golf experience. Below is an interview with Joshua Doxtator who shares some valuable tidbits about the course, memorable holes and must eats and treats at the 19th.

Give Our Readers An Overview of the Golf Course/Property
Harbor Shores is the only Jack Nicklaus Signature Course on Lake Michigan and the proud host of the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in 2020, 2022 and 2024.

Harbor Shores is a powerful example on what golf can do in our communities. Designed to help revitalize the area and provide economic growth and development, Harbor Shores is a not-for-profit facility and a portion of fees collected go to help maintain the Trail Systems and Jean Klock Park.

Completed in 2010, Harbor Shores opened its doors with what some consider to be the best foursome ever assembled. Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Johnny Miller played an exhibition called Champions for Change to assist in opening the facility. Jack Nicklaus holed a 100-foot putt as Miller told him it was impossible and to date, this is one of the most viewed golf highlights on the internet.

Harbor Shores continues its commitment to the community by housing the First Tee onsite, the only onsite First Tee in the Midwest.

Harbor Shores is more than golf, it's an experience.

If Someone Was Looking To Golf In The Area, Why Should They Play Your Course?
Harbor Shores is unique for many reasons but rarely can you find a facility that offers such different layouts within 18 holes. As you meander through the 550 acre development you're faced with strategic bunkering, water hazards and green complexes that challenge the best putters.

Harbor Shores prides itself on providing memorable experiences for all guests and going above and beyond, all the time. Whether you're treating clients to an exceptional golf experience or looking to test your skills on a major championship venue, Harbor Shores offers a difficult, yet fun, layout for all to enjoy.

What Tips or Local Knowledge Would You Provide To Help Them Score Better At Your Course?
You better know how to chip and putt! The greens demand correct shot placement or one could be threatened with a difficult short game position. Your imagination will serve you best if you look at the surrounds and knowing that a direct line to the hole location isn't always the best route.

Playing Harbor Shores multiple times will assist in scoring better as you remember nuances on certain holes. The fairways are generous as are the greens, but placement is everything.

Any recent changes to the golf course? Or any upcoming changes?
Due to the historical amounts of precipitation this year we're undergoing an extensive drainage and irrigation renovation on critical hole sites. This state of the art system will allow the turf to drain more efficiently and ultimately provide a better playing surface. Our commitment to tournament playing conditions on the daily is real!

Recent Awards or What You Are Most Proud About The Course?
Although we've seen our fair share of accolades I'm most proud of what Harbor Shores does within its community and amazed at what was built on what others considered forsaken land.

Employment opportunities as well as our First Tee location represent daily reminders of how golf is a generating force in the future. We're passionate about golf and committed to the community.

What Is The Signature, Most Talked About, or Most Photographed Hole?
One could argue there are multiple signature holes at Harbor Shores but the most photographed hole by far is the par-4 seventh. Intimidating off the tee, hole 7 requires a precise tee shot to a fairway heavily guarded by bunkers. Once safely in the fairway, the second shot is uphill into a prevailing wind to a small green. Picking the right club is important as there's almost no room for error.

However, once you make your way up to the green, you're rewarded with one of the best views on Lake Michigan, just above the beach at Jean Klock Park.

What Is Your Favorite Hole? Any Tips to Play It?
The 12th hole stands out due to its design. Typically, Jack Nicklaus is known for designing holes that favor a left to right shot. Hole 12 is a dogleg left, surrounded by trees and exceptional bunkering. Off the tee it favors a right to left shot shape and if executed properly, rewards you with a short iron or wedge into a massive green complex. There are so many great hole locations available on 12 and if played appropriately, can yield many birdies and usually a skin!

Must Have Dish or Drink after the round at the 19th Hole?
Everything is great at The Grille! Our Executive Chef stresses the importance of fresh ingredients and our menu proves just that. The menu changes seasonally and although we have a few staples, I recommend whatever the specials might be that day. These specials are chosen weekly based on what's available at local farms.

For the traveling golfer, do you have lodging onsite or partner with any area hotels?
Harbor Shores has released its first champions villa located just off the first tee!  Featuring 4-bedrooms with separate bath, this luxury villa is great for buddy groups, womens weekend getaways and everything in between.  We also offer the Inn at Harbor shores, a full service, 4-diamond hotel.  Additional to the lodging, we offer opportunities for kayak rentals, watercraft, spa services and exceptional dining options.

Who Holds Course Record and What Was Their Score?
The course record is 62 shot twice. Kenny Perry carded a 62 at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in 2012 and Rocco Mediate tied the number on his way to winning the Championship in 2016.

Otherwise, the course record remains at a swift pace of 2 hours and 13 minutes, good luck!

Back Tee Stats
Par: 71
Yardage: 6852
Slope: 143
Rating: 74.7

More Information
Harbor Shores
201 Graham Ave
Benton Harbor, MI, 49022

More Information »

Revised: 03/12/2020 - Article Viewed 11,311 Times - View Course Profile

About: Brian Weis

Brian Weis Brian Weis is the Publisher of, a network of golf travel and directory sites including,,,, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.

All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like, and It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.

On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.

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