They have anticipated this week in Benton Harbor Mich., for quite a while. It appears to be worth the wait.
Less than a decade ago, the land where The Golf Club at Harbor Shores is located was a vast wasteland of trash, debris, contaminated soil, remnants of closed manufacturing plants, abandoned when the economy took a turn for the worst, a scene that played out nationwide, including Benton Harbor, 90 miles from Chicago.
Today, though, the 530 acres that include The Golf Club at Harbor Shores is a reminder of the good that can come from something so bad, when this piece of property where the golf course is now once was inundated with more than 68 tons of trash.
GCSAA Class A superintendent Brad Fry is part of the good that has occurred at Benton Harbor, where a residential, recreational and waterfront community all are part of the master plan. The golf course he manages, which is near Lake Michigan and features sand dunes and wetlands, is the center of attention this week. The Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid begins tomorrow.
"I feel good," says Fry, a 13-year GCSAA member. "It's neat to be out here, especially when you think what it used to be."
In August 2010, Nicklaus participated in a charity skins game with a few of his legendary peers, including Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Johnny Miller. Nicklaus sank a 102-foot putt on the par-5 10th, a green that Fry says is about 10,000 square feet.
That day, as much as anything, symbolized how far Benton Harbor has come. Over the next four days, Fry will be reminded of it, too.
"It's like hosting the Super Bowl for us," Fry says. "It's a big deal, and I'm fortunate to be part of it."