Golf legend Jack Nicklaus raises flag at American Dunes Golf Club in Grand Haven

Lt. Col. Dan Rooney, Barbara and Jack Nicklaus pose for a photo after raising the American flag above American Dunes Golf Club (WWMT/Luke Edwards)

On his final site visit of newly designed American Dunes Golf Club, Jack Nicklaus and his wife Barbara, along with help from Folds of Honor founder Lt. Col. Dan Rooney, raised an American flag that will fly between holes nine and ten.

In 2018, Rooney and Nicklaus joined forces to come up with the plan and design of American Dunes. Two years later, they two came together for a final site visit as their visions came to life.

The 18-hole golf course, that sits on former Grand Haven Country Club property, brought characteristics of the land to life. A Jack Nicklaus signature design, after cutting down 1,000 trees allowing the course to display the natural beauty of the sand dunes that the course weaves through. The course features 30 bunkers and sand dunes creating a memorable golf experience.

"The club house area, the quiet area within the trees as you move out it becomes more exciting as you go and that's sort of the feeling we wanted. We didn't want to start with all the sand dunes here, this was kind of flat-ish and then start moving into it," Nicklaus said.

Nicklaus waived his $3 million dollar fee, donating his and his design team's services to support the American Dunes mission. That mission is to honor those who have fought and served in the military with 100% of the annual profits from American Dunes to be donated to Folds of Honor, a foundation that provides educational scholarships to spouses and children of America's deceased and disabled service members.

"The real fun of the project is knowing that what you're doing is going to benefit a lot of families, a lot of kids and Barb and I have been about kids for a long time and when you're talking about educating kids and educating kids of fallen warriors that's something that's been pretty special to all of us," Nicklaus said.

As you visit American Dunes, it will also display stories of Fold of Honor scholarship recipients and their parents or spouse who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

"What was on my soul was that when people come here they will play the most heroic round of golf they've ever played and that means you're not playing for yourself, you're playing for somebody else when you play at American Dunes, but also to design a place that was fun. We want people to come here and celebrate all the things that make this country great and have an awesome golf experience, come through the Folds of Honor memorial understand that freedom isn't free," Rooney said.

While Nicklaus, his design team, founders, sponsors and media had a preview event the course will have a formal grand opening in May, 2021.