GRAND HAVEN TOWNSHIP, Mich. - The Grand Haven Golf Club will now be known as the American Dunes Golf Club, and is being redesigned by golf legend Jack Nicklaus.  

This information was released by the club’s new general manager, Doug Bell, in a letter mailed out over the weekend. It was confirmed in a press release Sunday by Major Dan Rooney. 

“The facility will be a tribute to the birthplace of the Folds of Honor Foundation, as it was the first course to hold an event raising funds for this great cause,” Bell wrote in the letter. “Construction is moving rapidly and we hope to complete much of this heavy work by the end of summer.”

A Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, American Dunes will pay tribute to the United States Military and is a reminder to all that Freedom is not free.

"I love the game of golf," Nicklaus said, "but I love my country even more."

The Grand Haven Golf Club first opened in 1965 and was designed by Michigan architects Bruce Matthews and his son, Jerry Matthews. In 1998, Dr. John Rooney— Dan’s father —bought the club.

Twenty years later, Dan Rooney sat down with Nicklaus on the back patio of The Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Fla., and told him of his vision to transform Grand Haven and preserve the birthplace of Folds of Honor. Nicklaus agreed to come on board and bring with him one of the world’s leading golf course design firms.

"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 re-creation of the game, and a backdrop to celebrate our country and those who fought for its freedom,” said Dan Rooney, a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force and PGA Professional who founded Folds of Honor in 2007.

“To fund the construction of American Dunes, there are 18 individual hole sponsors and a small group of investors. This group of patriots is allowing our dream to take flight. With a target opening date of Memorial Day 2020, American Dunes will proudly stand as a vessel to raise awareness and donations for Folds of Honor, while recognizing the legacy of Barbara and Jack’s contributions to our military.”

Honorary starter Jack Nicklaus holds up his hat in honor of Arnold Palmer during the first tee ceremony prior to the first round of the 2017 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

The redesign includes “major tree removal” and the addition of several large ponds on the course. 

“The property is basically sand underneath,” Nicklaus said. “It had magnificent trees that had grown up over time, but is that really what this golf course is or should be with the dunes off the lake? What we are trying to do is create a golf course that will open up that feeling of coming off Lake Michigan, having the dunes, and then incorporating that into some of the inland areas that have the beautiful trees. 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. 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.

“We will do our part. I know Dan will do his part. But we’re going to need help. A lot of help from a lot of good people to really carry out Dan’s vision, mission and goal. We’re very proud at the Nicklaus organization to be a part of this, very proud to be part of Folds of Honor’s past, and very proud to be a part of its future.”

To keep up-to-date on its progress, go online to

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