Course Name: Point O’Woods Golf & Country Club

Location: Benton Harbor, Michigan, 105 miles down and then up the eastern shore of Lake Michigan from ChicagoYear of Design: 1958

Redesigned: In the early 1990s, Robert Trent Jones, Inc., returned to “the Point” to make a few changes, notably the lengthening of some tees and the addition of a few more fairway bunkers.

Owner/Developer: In 1954, local residents C.E. (Bud) Blake, Charles W. Gore, Richard Merrill, Malcolm Ross, and Frederick S. Upton expressed interest in a new golf club in the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph area. The most notable man in this group was Upton, who in 1950, along with his brother Louis, founded the Whirlpool Corporation. When land owned by Donald H. Ross (no relation to the golf architect, Donald J. Ross) became available, the group contacted Robert Trent Jones, Sr., asking him to inspect the location’s viability for championship golf course. Extremely impressed with the property, Jones was eager to design the course. When the group’s funding was secured, the project proceeded, with groundbreaking in the spring of 1957 and the course opening on 14 June 1958.

Membership: Private

Number of Holes: 18

Par: 36-36=72 (men), 37-37=74 (women)

Length—Back Tees: 3,520 front nine, 3,555 back nine, 7,075 total

Length—Middle Tees: 3,275 front nine, 3,328 back nine, 6,603 total

Length—Forward Tees: 3,068 front nine, 3,087 back nine, 6,155 total

Course Description: Rolling terrain, heavily wooded, with a large lake

Hardest Pars:

No. 7—458 yards par-4

No. 12—476 yards par-4

Favorite Holes:

No. 9—192 yards par-3

Par 3 Lengths: 187 (4th), 192 (9th), 216 (11th), 212 (17th)

Par 5 Lengths: 565 (2nd), 538 (3rd), 555 (13th), 493 (15th)

Longest Par 4: 476 yards (12th)Shortest Par 4: 327 yards (8th)

Average Par 4 Length: 412 yards

Chief Hazards: Tree-lined fairways, water comes into play on xx holes

Major Championships and Title Winners:1971-2008 Western Amateur (winners include Andy North ’71, Ben Crenshaw ’73, Curtis Strange ’74, Hal Sutton 79’-’80, Scott Verplank ’85, Phil Mickelson ’91,Justin Leonard ’92-’93, and Tiger Woods ‘94

Course Record:

Course Ranking: Golfweek has consistently ranked Point O’Woods among the Top 100 Classic Golf Courses in the U.S.


Expert Comment: “One of Trent Jones’s most respected works, which has held the young and strong at bay for [nearly 40] years as annual host to the Western Amateur. The old man has been back recently, making a few minor alterations . . . that make the golf course harder, but not better. They’ve also added wall-to-wall irrigation, to compete turf-wise with Chicago area clubs. It’s certainly a tough course, but I don’t think it’s head and shoulders above Trent’s others…” Tom Doak, The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, p. 159.