Jack Nicklaus Design layouts host to Champions Tour majors, PGA Tour events

Jack Nicklaus-designed layouts at Shoal Creek outside of Birmingham, Ala., and Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich., played host to the first two majors on the Champions Tour schedule this year. The Tradition was held May 15–18 at Shoal Creek, while the Senior PGA Championship took place at Harbor Shores. Both venues are major championship veterans, and just this week, Shoal Creek was named host site of the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open.

The Tradition, which began in 1989 on the Jack Nicklaus-designed Cochise Course at Desert Mountain in Arizona and first came to Alabama in 2011, was originally intended to be played at Shoal Creek for just one year. Following a successful tournament in 2011, the club agreed to host for two more years. Recent negotiations solidified Shoal Creek as the host venue through 2015.

Just four years after opening for play, the Jack Nicklaus-designed course at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich., has already hosted a major championship for the second time. The 75th edition of the Senior PGA Championship was played at the course, located 35 miles from South Bend, Ind., from May 22–25. This major championship, known for its intense competition among the legendary names in golf, will return to the course again in 2016 and 2018.

And as if to directly contrast Harbor Shores’ early success, the Golden Bear’s first-ever design—Harbour Shores in Hilton Head, S.C.—recently held the 46th RBC Heritage on the PGA TOUR. A collaboration between long-time friends Nicklaus and Pete Dye, the course first opened for play in time for the 1969 inaugural Heritage Golf Classic, which today is known as the RBC Heritage. Located on the grounds of the luxury 5,000-acre Sea Pines Resort, it wasn’t long before the course topped lists of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses, 100 Greatest Tests of Golf, Best Resort Courses, and Greatest Public Courses, as well as various Best Courses lists for the State of South Carolina. The course has had such an influence on modern golf that in 2010, Harbour Town Golf Links was named to Golf Digest’s list of America’s Most Important Golf Courses by Decade.

In total, a record 25 Tour-sanctioned events are being played on Nicklaus Design courses in 2014, including three major championships—Regions Tradition (Shoal Creek); Senior PGA Championship (Harbor Shores); and the PGA Championship (Valhalla)—as well as the Charles Schwab Cup (Desert Mountain). The 2014 Ryder Cup is being played at the Jack Nicklaus-designed PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles in Scotland.