Review: Barefoot Resort Golf Courses, SC

Big name designers create a top-notch resort.
Just hearing the names Fazio, Dye, Norman and Love leads you to think about the great courses that these designers have sculpted in other locations throughout the country.  To learn that there are 4 different courses, one by each designer in one location is truly a treat.  The Barefoot resort is a huge sprawling complex.  It has 3 courses running out of one clubhouse, a separate clubhouse for the 4th course and a separate practice facility.  The resort also boasts spas, shopping and excellent lodging accommodations.  If you are looking for a one-stop destination in Myrtle Beach, this is probably the best.

With so many courses and only a limited time to play, we picked the top 2 rated courses at the Barefoot Resort, the Love and the Dye.  Depending on the publication and the rater, these two seemed to garner the most fan fare.  That is not to take anything away from the other two, but even as we talked with the starter and the gentleman that got paired with our group, they all agreed that the Love was their favorite course and the Dye is the most difficult course.

The set up of the resort is kind of unique.  The Love, Norman and Fazio all play out of one clubhouse and the Dye out of another.  There is also one large practice area off site, while the Dye has a small one of its own.  The two clubhouses have really different vibes.  The three course clubhouse is busy with people going every which direction for all the different courses, while the Dye course clubhouse is a semi-private course with the gated entrance and a simpler setting.

Barefoot is known for their great service and staff.  As I read some articles about the complex prior to arrival, everyone praised the staff.  But we all know that sometimes everyone can have an off day.  Just like golfers that one day shoots a low score and the next day can’t break 100, so at the resort the staff had a similar situation.  Our first visit was the “can’t break 100” while our second visit was way better than par.  When we went to the Love course for our first round, we just didn’t get enough information and assistance to enjoy our round.  Our second round at the Dye course was completely the opposite.  We were greeted, we were treated kindly, we were informed how everything worked and really felt like a welcomed guest at the course, rather than just another customer.  The guy working the bag drop was really great.  He gave us all the insights into the course, helped us get everything ready to head out and when we were all done, showed a genuine interest in how we did.

The conditions at both courses were very nice.  The Love course seemed a little wet and there were a couple of mower issues, but over all it was smooth and true all over.  The Dye course was even better.  Everything was in tip-top shape.  The greens were prefect and even with all the rain the fairways were not torn up or damaged.

If you want a one-stop stay for great golf, excellent accommodation and a central location to see it all, the Barefoot Resort is the best option.

So how did the courses play? 

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Barefoot Love Golf Course

Falling in Love with the Layout

Davis Love III grew up in the Carolina low country and fashioned his course at the Barefoot resort with many similarities to Pinehurst #2.  There are small elevated green, multiple collection areas and a general firm fast feeling throughout the course.

The opening par 4 is tame off the tee but tough at the green to get you prepared for the next 17 holes.  The par 5 2nd hole is tricky off the tee with club selection because you can run out of room straight away.  As you dog leg to the right, the lone tree can also catch a ball or two, and the big green has water to the right that really shouldn’t come into play.  The par 3 3rd hole can be intimidating with so much water on the right side, but there is plenty of room on the green and even bail out short and left.  The par 4 4th is an excellent hole.  It is drivable for big hitters.  The only real danger is the multiple traps fronting the green. But the remnants of the old plantation make it a visually stunning hole The long par 4 5th hole plays up over a hill with lots of water on the right, and it is kind of tricky to navigate down to the big green.  The par 4 6th hole is dangerous all down the right side with water as it slightly bends to the right into an elevated green.  The long par 4 7th hole plays from elevated tee to an elevated tiered fairway with bunkers guarding the upper fairway.  Watch out for the grass clump in the bunkers on this hole, they knock down low shots.  The par 5 8th hole is bombs away.  While tough to reach in two, par isn’t too tricky on this one.  The front 9 closes with a brute of a par 3.  It plays long, but thankfully the green is big and receptive.

After a quick stop at the snack station, we were off to tackle the back nine.  The 10th hole is a short par 4 that big hitters probably will want to hit a 3 wood rather than run into the junk fronting the green.  The shortest hole on the course is just a wedge over lots of sand to a small but simple green.  The long par 4 12th hole is a sweeping dogleg left which has a few houses on the ride side of this hole, but they weren’t right on the edge so it still felt fairly open.  The shorter par 5 13th hole is reachable in 2 only with a good drive to navigate the creek running parallel up the fairways.  The par 4 14th is on the other side of highway 22.  It is a slight dogleg right, up to a well protected green.  The long par 3 15th is a tough hole as the winds started picking up and the fact that there is a waste area surrounding this hole. The par 4 16th has a split fairway that surprisingly runs out of distance on the right side.  After crossing back under the highway, the par 4 17th plays long and mostly uphill.  The green is tucked back near the woods.  The par 5 18th looks tough on the card, it sets up somewhat narrow off the tee but surprisingly our group played this hole really well with 2 birdies in the group.  
The Love course ranks high for a reason, the layout is absolutely outstanding. 

Barefoot Dye Golf Course

Don’t Di(y)e in all the sand
Pete Dye must love sand.  Every course I have played that he has designed has so much sand on it.  The Dye course at Barefoot resort is no different.  But on top of all that sand the Dye course is a brute that plays 7400 yards from the tips.  It was going to be a tough round at the Dye course, since they had 4.5” inches of rain the night before.  Amazingly the course was dry enough for us to drive carts everywhere and anywhere for our entire round.  That is some excellent drainage. Unfortunately, there wasn’t going to be much roll out.

The open hole gets you prepared for what is to come.  There is sand and junk all down the left side and plenty of bunkers framing the right side.  The elevated tees offer a great vantage of the hole.  The green itself wasn’t too tough, but it’s only the opening hole.  The shorter par 4 2nd hole again had a big bunker waste area all down the right side, avoiding that is a must to score on this hole because the approach is tricky to this well guarded green.  The par 3 3rd hole isn’t so tough just shooting over a bunch of junk and sand.  These 3 holes played close to the clubhouse.  The par 4 4th hole takes you away from the clubhouse out into the heart of the course.  This hole is a soft simple bend to the right.  The green is kind of long and narrow but not the hardest hole.  The par 5 5th hole plays long and uphill.  It is plenty wide off the tee, but the green is perched up on hill, which is just covered in pot bunkers.  The par 3 6th hole is really tough.  There is water all up the right side and bunkers all on the left side, short is about the only bail out area.  The long par 4 7th is just long.  It takes a decent drive to a wide fairway then a long second shot down to the slightly elevated green.  The par 5 8th hole is kind of a double bender as it starts to snake to the right and then the green is tucked back on the left.  Danger is water on the left and trees on the right.  The very long hard par 4 9th hole is brutal.  There is sand all down the left side off the tee.  As you near the green it narrows to just a strip with water all along the right side.  It wouldn’t be so tough if it didn’t play 500 yards into the wind.  (It sounds like tournaments don’t even play from those back tees)
After a quick turn, we went right on to the short hole 10.  Just avoid the water on the left and you can score well on this hole.  The long par 4 11th hole wrapped a little to the right again with sand and junk all on the right side.  The uphill par 5 12th hole seemed to play longer than the yardage suggested.  The seemingly simple par 4 13th is straight away with some waste area on the left, but lots of room on the right, it was still tricky to score well.  The long par 4 14th hole has more than enough room on the right side and plays downhill to the green.  The long par 3 15th hole is visually stunning, but being plenty long and perched out on the hillside makes it a tough little hole.  The par 4 16th plays a little downhill to the green through some trees.  The short par 3 17th hole is tougher visually than it plays.  Surrounded by junk there is ample room all around this green.  You finish with another brute of a par 4.  This time the pond that was on the right of hole 9, is now on the left side the whole way.  Again playing into the wind.  (They often don’t use the back tees on this hole either for tournaments).  

After navigating the sand traps everywhere and constantly swinging for the fences, we were spent after our round at the Dye course.  Now as you moved up tees, the length was shorter and certain traps and features weren’t always in play, but it was still a tough course for any handicap.  You definitely need a good sand game to play the Dye course.

If you want to play one of, if not the toughest course in Myrtle Beach, play the tips at the Dye course.

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