History of The Point

In 1954, five area residents met informally to discuss the possibility of building a new country club for the greater St. Joseph-Benton Harbor area. About that time, approximately 350 acres of land, owned by Donald H. Ross, became available for such a project. Golf Course Architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. was asked if he would inspect the location to decide whether it had sufficient possibilities for development into a world class golf course. After careful study of the terrain, he reported enthusiastically that it was an ideal location for a championship 18-hole course.

Building progress was rapid. Land was cleared, fairways were formed, and in the fall of 1957, seed was sown. On June 14, 1958, the course opened for play. It was recognized from the start as a great course. Golf legends like Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus have played the course at Point O’ Woods. Comments are the same: "One of the truly great courses in America." The Point has been ranked in Golf Digest's Top 100 for over 40 years.

Point O' Woods was first awarded The Western Amateur in 1963 and was the exclusive home to the tournament from 1971 thru 2009. Some of professional golf's top players have been a part of the Western Am at The Point, including Tom Weiskopf, Andy North, Ben Crenshaw, Curtis Strange, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott, and more. The tournament returned to The Point in 2019.

In May of 2012 The Point broke ground on a brand new clubhouse. Construction of the project was completed in July of 2013. To the left, you can review several historical photos of the golf course dating back to 1959.

Western Amateur

Point O’ Woods is very proud of its long history hosting the Western Amateur Championship. In the sixty years that the club has been open for play, The Point hosted the Western Amateur forty times, more than any other club in the nearly 120 years that the event has been played.

The Western Golf Association operates the Western Amateur. It is the second oldest golf association in the U.S., having been formed in 1899. In that year, the WGA sponsored both the Western Open and the Western Amateur at Glen View, IL. Among amateur events in America, only the U.S. Amateur has been played longer than the Western.

The Point opened for play in 1958, having been designed by the foremost architect of the day, Robert Trent Jones. At more than 7,000 yards, it was incredibly long for the days of persimmon woods and soft balata balls. By 1963, the club was selected to host its first Western Amateur, and it was a great success. Tom Weiskopf was the winner, defeating Labron Harris, Jr. 5 and 4 in the finals. The tournament moved to different sites until 1971 when it returned for a stretch of 38 straight years at the Point from 1971 through 2008. During that time, these golf stars won the Amateur: Andy North, Ben Crenshaw, Curtis Strange, Andy Bean, Bob Clampett, Hal Sutton, Scott Verplank, Chris DiMarco, Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard, and Tiger Woods, among others.

The Western Amateur, the U.S. Amateur, and the NCAA Championships are the big three in current amateur play in the U.S. The Point is proud that it will return to host the Western in August 2019. The event is a grueling challenge for the champion who must survive 72 holes of stroke play, then five rounds of match play over the following three days. We look forward to hosting the best amateur players in the world at that time and in the future!

For more information about the Western Golf Association and the Western Amateur, please see www.wgaesf.org and www.thewesternamateur.com. The WGA’s activities fund the Evans Scholars Foundation, a charitable endeavor founded by the great Chick Evans in 1930. The Scholars earn full ride four year scholarships to great colleges and universities. Currently, nearly 1,000 undergraduates receive these scholarships, and since founding, more than 10,000 young men and women have received their college educations fully paid for by the Evans Scholars Foundation. We encourage all our members and friends to support the Foundation at www.wgaesf.org.

NHL Tonight - Interview with Garrett Rank
Chicago District Golf Association - CGDA Tournament Roundup Western Am Coverage
Golf Week - NHL referee Garrett Rank wins Western Amateur
Golf Digest - NHL referee Garrett Rank wins the prestigious Western Amateur, defeats Daniel Wetterich in the final
Golf Channel - Rank, a Mid-amateur and NHL Referee, Wins the Western Amateur
Amateur Golf - Rank, 31 Defies Age in Winning Western Amateur
Global Golf Post - Mid-Am Rank Closes Out 'Dream Week' with Title
NHL Tonight: Garrett Rank
Scoutingtherefs.com - NHL Referee Garrett Rank Wins 2019 Western Amateur Golf Tournament
WNDU - NHL referee Garrett Rank wins 2019 Western Amateur
Yahoo Lifestyle - NHL referee unexpectedly wins prestigious amateur golf tournament in Michigan
Morning Read - article by Barry Cronin
Golf Advisor - "Cool Golf Thing" - article by Tim Gavrich
WSJM Interview: Chris DiMarco and Vince Pellegrino at Point O' Woods
WSJM at Point O' Woods for Western Amateur Media Day

Special Honorary Member

Justin Leonard

In 2018, Point O’ Woods was proud to have Justin Leonard join the Club as a Special Honorary Member. Leonard, a 12-time winner on the PGA tour, started his career with two Western Amateur Championship wins, in 1992 and 1993, both events were held here at The Point! On a recent visit to the Club, we were able to interview Justin, see what he had to say:

Full Interview