Jack Nicklaus to redesign Michigan course aimed at honoring military veterans

May 28, 2019
Jack Nicklaus speaks to the media.

Jack Nicklaus announced on Monday he would be spearheading a rebrand and redesign of Grand Haven Golf Club in Grand Haven, Mich.

The course, set to re-open on Memorial Day 2020 as “American Dunes Golf Club,” will have a new layout and serve as “a vessel to raise awareness and funds for the families of our fallen and disabled veterans,” according to the course’s website.

Grand Haven Golf Club was originally opened in 1965 and was sold in 1998 to John Rooney. Rooney’s son, Dan, was a fighter pilot who served in Iraq and went on to have a brief professional golf career. In 2006, the course hosted an event to kick off “Folds of Honor” — a foundation founded by Rooney that helps provide educational assistance to families of fallen and disabled military members. The foundation has now blossomed into a pillar for many military families, offering over 20,000 scholarships in all 50 states since its inception.

A revamped and reimagined course in Grand Haven should only help spur that growth.

“American Dunes represents a collaboration of countless like-minded patriots, who want this golf course to forever stand as a tribute to the men and women of our military, a safe haven for veterans who find rehabilitation through the recreation of the game, and a backdrop to celebrate our country and those who fought for its freedom,” Rooney said.

Nicklaus, too, shares that vision of the intersection between golf and aiding the military community.

“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,” Nicklaus said in a statement. “If we can do that, and at the same time honor our military and raise money for the education of the families of our fallen soldiers, this is going to be something very unique and very special in the game of golf.”

As for the new layout, Nicklaus intends to utilize the advantages of its location on the shores of Lake Michigan to guide the redesign.

“What we are trying to do is create a golf course that will open up that feeling of coming off Lake Michigan,” he said, “having the dunes, and then incorporating that into some of the inland areas that have the beautiful trees.”

Nicklaus Companies and GOLF.com are affiliates of 8AM Golf.