(South Haven, Michigan)—Entering the 2007 golf season, there’s palpable excitement in this southwest Michigan resort town on the shores of Lake Michigan. Long a favorite destination for travelers from southeast Michigan, Indiana and the metropolitan Chicago area, South Haven will soon be celebrating the first full year of operation of the Beeches Golf Club, a residential development and 18-hole championship golf course designed by award-winning Michigan architect W. Bruce Matthews III.
"South Haven is a bustling summer community when its population grows during the warm-weather months," said Matthews. "And until recently, it’s been one of the few areas in the Great Lakes region where there’s been both room and the need for more affordable golf. I think we’ve done well on providing both at the Beeches."
Business and civic leaders agree with Matthews’s assertion. "To have another course the quality of the Beeches is phenomenal for us," said Lisa Shanley, executive director of the South Haven Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Golf interest in southwest Michigan has grown dramatically and the Beeches certainly enhances our ability to attract more events and visitors."
The club’s name is taken from the scores of beech trees found on the property, including a majestic giant beech that sits in close proximity to the clubhouse and 18th green. "That tree is the unmistakable centerpiece of the property," says General Manager Jason Fargo. "As it blooms each spring it becomes both the strategic and aesthetic focal point of the golf course."
The front nine of the Beeches includes the tricky par-four third, a hole of only 320 yards that is bordered the entire distance of the hole on the left by the first of six large ponds on the property. Matthews has also made good use of sandy waste areas throughout the course that add teeth to the test. The back nine incorporates most of the rest of the water on the course and finishes with the 420-yard 18th, where the green is guarded to the right by another pond. "We’re anxious to see what the coming months bring, as it’ll be the first time golfers see our course with the prevailing spring weather conditions. I suspect there will be days when the course will be completely different from what we saw during our opening last fall.’
With five sets of tees, the Beeches Golf Club ranges in length from forward tees of 5,005 yards to 7,115 from the back tees. "Because of our close proximity to Lake Michigan, we didn’t feel the need for a lot of obstacles on the ground," says Fargo. "The changing winds provide the variety in playability for us." Better still, says Fargo, is that Matthews’ design will allow the club to operate with an affordable rate structure. "It was important for us to build a course people around here can always afford to play," he says. "The response last fall was that we’ve done very well in that regard."
In its first phase, Beeches will also feature 22 residential condominiums with golf course views. "There’s been enthusiastic interest in the property," says Fargo. "It’s indicative of the growing popularity of the South Haven area."
The Beeches Golf Club is W. Bruce Matthews III’s first Michigan design since Angels Crossing in Vicksburg, a course that received national recognition from Golf Digest magazine two years ago. More information on 2007 rates and the residential development is available at (269) 637-2600 or through the club’s web site, www.beechesgolfclub.com
Terry Moore, All About Golf (616) 247-1931 E-mail: email@example.com
Tom Cleary, All About Golf (616) 915-4267 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org