The Barefoot Resort has established itself among the leaders in a region crowded with public golf options, and its collection of four courses — crafted by modern architecture standouts and former PGA professionals — are at the base of that success.
Pete Dye was an obvious choice for an entry, and his may appeal to those looking to get away from the Myrtle Beach crowds, as it’s the only semi-private layout at the resort. Although outsiders may book rounds at the course’s other layouts, Dye remains accessible only to members and guests at the resort.
Those that qualify will also find what is likely Barefoot’s most challenging offering. The Dye course stretches to nearly 7,350 yards and features the considerable bunkering that the architect is known for, as well as the considerable water hazards that the region is known for.
The final three holes begin with the longest par five on the course, followed by a green set on an island set out in the marsh; this isn’t a traditional do-or-Dye island green, however, as there is plenty of room to miss. Instead, the green is long, and deep, offering tricky two-putts. The final hole, of course, is a Cape-style par four wrapping around the lake.
The Dye Course at Barefoot gets little of the fanfare one sees with other courses in the Palmetto State generally and rather shockingly -- even in the immediate Grand Strand area. Why that is baffles me.
The challenge is certainly present. The key for golfers is getting off to a fast start over the first five holes. They are not simplistic, but they provide an opportunity to secure needed momentum. For those who can't build something positive early on -- be forewarned the bulk of the rest of the round will be tough sledding on your ego and scorecard.
As per usual, there is plenty of man-made shaping and Dye has devilishly included intersections with water penalty areas at various stages of the round.
When you reach the 6th - you see the Dye influence immediately at the tee. The green is literally next to an adjoining pond. The slightest push right invariable means the playing of that music hit -- "Splish splash" by Bobby Darin. The conclusion of the inward half is further bolstered by two strong par-4s and a quality par-5 hole.
The inward half drops down a bit on the overall rigors -- save for the stout par-4 11th which mandates two high quality shots to get to the green.
Once you get to the long par-4 14th series of holes straight through to the 18th is quite testing. Like many other Dye designs - positioning from your tee shot is central to one's success. The par-3 15th is a real back breaker unless the long iron or fairway metal is played with utter precision.
Birdie opportunities can be had at the par-5 16hh and par-3 17th -- but nothing is given away. You have to earn it.
The 18th is a strong concluding hole but it bears a bit of a resemblance to the finale at TPC Sawgrass although the SC rendition is a bit more forgiving off the tee.
Conditioning can be a hit and miss situation depending upon the time of year. When played in the Fall -- the turf can firm-up nicely and the range of shotmaking intensifies.
Played from the tips at over, 7,300 yards and those who opt to test themselves had best seize the scoring opportunities because the layout does not give anything away once past the 5th hole.
Overall, those heading to the Grand Strand area should seek out a visit to Barefoot and see what Pete brought to life on this quality layout.