GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — The old Grand Haven Golf Club is getting a redesign backed by golfing legend Jack Nicklaus.
With work already happening, the goal is to open the renamed American Dunes Golf Club on Memorial Day 2020.
It was the brainchild of Maj. Dan Rooney, a professional golfer, veteran of the U.S. Air Force Reserve and the creator of the Folds of Honor scholarship program for family members of slain or wounded service members. Rooney brought Nicklaus and his Nicklaus Design on board.
American Dunes is meant to be a “tribute to the men and women of our military” and a “safe haven for veterans who find rehabilitation through the recreation of the game,” Rooney said in a Monday statement. It will also raise money for Folds of Honor.
A release said that with its sandy soil and topography, the golf course along Lincoln Street near Lakeshore Avenue south of Grand Haven is a prime site.
“It had magnificent trees that had grown up over time, but is that really what this golf course is or should be with the dunes off the lake?” Nicklaus stated. “What we are trying to do is create a golf course that will open up that feeling of coming off Lake Michigan, having the dunes, and then incorporating that into some of the inland areas that have the beautiful trees. The combination of the two—being able to play through and around exposed dunes as well as tree-lined holes in some places—really creates a golf course that is rather unique.”
The redesign is being funded by 18 hole sponsors and a small group of investors; the release did not list those people. Nicklaus and Nicklaus Design, which have been involved in other veteran courses, donated their services.
American Dunes will be the fifth Nicklaus Designs course in Michigan. The others are Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, TPC of Michigan and Wabeek in metro Detroit and Grand Traverse Resort near Traverse City.
Grand Haven-area neighbors expect the redesign will help an area that already relies heavily on tourism, drawing golfers from around the state.
“That can only help us here living right next to it. Our values will go up, I believe,” neighbor Derk Vokal said. “This is going to only help everybody.”
The Grand Haven Golf Club opened in 1965. Rooney’s father Dr. John Rooney bought it in 1998.