The lake effect at Harbor Shores Resort

The lake effect at Harbor Shores Resort

Text: Greg Johnson 

With Lake Michigan waters keeping the lakeshore areas of Michigan a bit warmer in the fall, it usually translates into a little longer play for golf and the beautiful fall colors that often accompany it.

Josh Doxtater, PGA professional and general manager at Harbor Shores Resort in Benton Harbor, Michigan, said it is always a great time to play Harbor Shores.

“Fall provides the opportunity to experience Harbor Shores for less and when paired with views of Lake Michigan and fall colors, it’s hard to beat,” Doxtator said.

Photo by Gary Kellner

Fall shoulder rates of $85 started Oct. 1 at Harbor Shores Resort, which includes golf carts complete with satellite radio, GPS, and the use of the practice facility and balls, according to Doxtator. How long Harbor Shores will welcome golfers into the fall, however, depends on Mother Nature. 

“Our season is completely weather-dependent and we look forward to a lengthy fall,” Doxtator said. “Historically, rounds can be played into November as our location to the lake provides warmer temps than in other areas.”

Historical amounts of precipitation in 2019 have led to some major drainage and irrigation renovation on some of the course’s holes. Doxtator noted as the resort continues to provide tournament-like conditions on a daily basis and prepare for the 2020 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, the hope is players can experience Harbor Shores firsthand. 

“From an architectural golf-design aspect, what they managed to put together on this site is remarkable. It meanders over 500-plus acres with seven miles of waterfront on Lake Michigan and the Paw Paw River,” Doxtator said. “I know people say it takes time to get between holes, but overall the property is amazing. It took great creativity to put together a golf course with this many different characteristics all in one place.”

Doxtator also sees a course that offers challenging golf, as evidenced by it serving as a four-time site for the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, which it will host again in 2020, 2022, and 2024 under the latest agreement with the PGA of America.

“It’s more than that though,” Doxtator said. “I look at the passion Jack Nicklaus had for this design, and his comments on this development that revitalized a community, and there is a uniqueness overall that I think all golfers will see and enjoy.”

Harbor Shores is a beach, golf, and residential waterfront community, and the 18-hole course is an award-winning design that features golf holes on four diverse terrains: parkland, sand dunes on the lake, woodlands, and wetlands along the Paw Paw River and Ox Creek. The development has made national news by reclaiming abandoned and polluted land as part of a non-profit effort.

The course was honored in best new course rankings in 2010 by Golf magazine, Golf Digest and Golfweek, and has been honored as environmental leaders by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.