NORTH MYRTYLE BEACH, SC -  Beachwood Golf Club has been hosting golfers since 1968. They must be doing something right and it shows! Conveniently located on Highway 17 South this Gene Hamm design is a favorite of locals and visitors alike.

The experience begins upon arrival. In lieu of the customary bag drop found at virtually all other courses, at Beachwood you park and are met by a cheerful bag attendant. This service is a nice piece of southern hospitality and is the beginning of a wonderful day.

A modest pro shop provides plenty of Beachwood apparel and any last minute playing needs you might have. The snack bar is comfortable and invites you to arrive early for breakfast or lunch.

When playing Beachwood be sure to allow time to take advantage of their excellent practice facilities. There's plenty of space on the all-grass driving range. Putting/chipping greens are at the gateways to both the front and back nines. Even if you're not planning to play, all practice facilities are open to the public.
Frankly, this might have been the wettest fall and early winter in the past 10-years. Great for the water tables and golfers planning a visit, but it's been kind of rough on locals and past golf packages. Granted there's been plenty of playing time, but unfortunately almost exclusively cart path only. That's not so at Beachwood Golf Club.

Kevin Lawson, golf director is obviously proud of his course, but virtually beams with joy when talking about the fairways. Lawson states, We're always on the fairways. We have the best on the beach. Maybe it's because the course has over 40 years of maturity. Possibly, this Hamm design was built to be played when mature and not the next season like so many courses are now. Whatever the reason on a late December afternoon in a particularly wet season, these fairways were magnificent. A return trip in the spring is definitely a must.

Regardless of your level of play, you will enjoy Beachwood. The fairways are fairly wide and the trouble is right in front of you with one notable exception. Although water is plentiful, it only comes into play on a few holes, but is certainly there to catch any blatantly missed shots. The sand hazards are fairly large and do come into play. The Bermuda grass greens are true and generally over seeded in October for a continued lush look. The fact that there are no houses boarding the course gives it almost a park like feel. The Championship tees are a modest 6844 yards, while the Men's White present a challenging 6347. The Seniors Gold tees are 5695 while the Ladies Red are very friendly at 4947 yards.

The first few holes on the front nine are quite straightforward and give you an opportunity to score well while settling into your rhythm. To this point in your round you've had to maneuver a few sand and water hazards, but do not fall asleep.

Hole number 5, a 3-handicap, is a challenging golf hole with water protecting the green on the right front forcing a left to right shot into the center of the green. Be cautious if the flag is in the front on this hole. A wayward shot to the left quickly finds trees that protect that side of the green.

The 6th hole at Beachwood is the Number 1 handicap hole and well deserved. The longest par 4 at 425 yards from the Championship Blues requires a drive to probably the narrowest fairway on the course. If you're still in play a shot with some length is required into a fairly large green protected to the right and left by sand hazards. Bring your A-Game to this one.

Earlier mention of the course being right in front of you with one notable exception refers to the par 5, 581 yard, Number 14. Although this double dogleg left isn't a complete U-turn, it may make you a little dizzy. Here's the secret to this fun, but challenging hole. Heavily wooded down the left side with traps at the first turn, the key is keeping your drive to right center of the fairway! This is a three shot hole unless you're PGA Tour Top 5 Driving Distance long. Two well-struck shots could leave you within 100-yards to the pin and a chance for a birdie.

Your round finishes with the signature hole at Beachwood Golf Club. This Par 3 is 239-yards from the back tees and it's all carry. The green is bordered by four-monster sand hazards that definitely come into play. Number 18 presents a great opportunity to collect a "sandy" from your playing partners. This is definitely one of the most challenging Par 3s on the Grand Strand and a great finishing hole.

Beachwood Golf Club really is a great little venue and one you should add to your list when visiting the Myrtle Beach area.