Whirlpool Corporation commemorates the grand opening by donating $1 million to
the Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor and The First Tee of Benton Harbor
BENTON HARBOR/ ST. JOSEPH, Mich., Aug. 10, 2010 – Jack Nicklaus, whose accolades as a golf course designer parallel a legendary career that includes a record 18 professional major championships, joined friends and fellow greats Johnny Miller, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson today to celebrate the grand opening of The Golf Club at Harbor Shores, a new 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. The Harbor Shores Champions for Change Golf Challenge featured the foursome competing in an 18-hole scramble skins format with rotating two-man teams.
More than 5,000 spectators witnessed this historic day of golf that was kicked off with a community clinic for all attendees. Prior to the clinic, Whirlpool Corporation CEO Jeff Fettig, announced that the Benton Harbor-based company would donate $1 million in honor of the four players to the Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor and The First Tee of Benton Harbor.
“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 Fettig. “I can’t think of a better group of people, the four legends of golf, we had here today to kick it off.”
With introductions and morning ceremonies complete, the four players took to the course for its ceremonial first round in a rotating two-man skins format with partners switching every six holes. Patrons were treated to the two-man team of Nicklaus/Palmer to start off the round, followed by Nicklaus/Watson from holes 7-12 and Nicklaus/Miller to close out the round.
“I thought the golf course was in fantastic condition,” said Nicklaus. “The golf course was quite good and I’m quite proud of it. I’m also proud that I was asked to be a part of this project.”
Although it didn’t count on the scorecard, the highlight of the day came on the No. 10 green when Johnny Miller saw Arnold Palmer’s 100-foot eagle putt fall short of the three-tier ridged green and fall back towards his direction. Miller questioned the makeability of such a putt, which got Nicklaus’ attention. The course designer himself then demonstrated how the putt could be made by sinking the more than 100-foot uphill putt, which broke 15 feet from left to right, in front of more than 2,000 spectators who were surrounding the green.
While the focus of the day centered around the revitalization of the community and raising funds for two local charities and no actual money was exchanged, Tom Watson did earn the most honorary skins money ($381,250). His total was followed by Jack Nicklaus ($268,750), Arnold Palmer ($181,250) and Johnny Miller ($168,750).
More than just a golf course, Harbor Shores will serve as a catalyst for ongoing community transformation—economic, environmental and social. Not only will the non-profit resort community stimulate increased tax revenue, create jobs and generate new consumer spending, it will build human capacity in areas including work-force training, youth development, education, life skills development, housing and homeownership.
Harbor Shores has already restored beauty to a pristine area of Lake Michigan’s waterfront through rehabilitation of local public park space, clean-up of brownfields and preservation of natural wetlands.
All 18 holes of The Golf Club at Harbor Shores are currently open for play. Video footage and photos from today’s event are currently available at https://www.harborshoresresort.com/golf.