Golfers, mainly from the Northeast, head to Myrtle Beach to break the ice off their swings and tune up for spring and summer. A perennial favorite of those who make the trek to the sunny beaches (some call them traps) is the Dye Course. It is part of the Barefoot Resort, which also houses the Love Course, the Norman Course and the Fazio Course; we played all during a spring fling to the south.
Accommodations are in the surrounding condominiums, which my teammates thought were grand but I felt could use a shave and a haircut. There is a lack of eateries in the Barefoot complex, which offers a “sports” bar that makes pizza and the bars and restaurants at the individual clubs. After a round of 36 holes one night, we were shooed away by the pro as we enjoyed our end-of-day beers; he wanted to be fresh for the next group of lemming golfers in the morning. The golf package includes breakfast.
The Dye Course is by far the best in the complex, and some say it is the best in Myrtle. When we played, it was in better shape than the other Barefoot courses, perhaps because they were preparing for the annual Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters event. Pete Dye used native grasses with GN-1 Bermuda grass on the fairways, Tifdwarf Bermuda on approach areas and Champion UltraDwarf on the greens. Dye’s fairways made for a clean iron shot with no tugging from the divot, allowing for some nice shots.
I teamed up with Gerry Patrick and John Ecklund at the Dye Course. On the first tee, we met starter Paul Campbell, who immediately made us feel at home. The group named Paul the “Best Starter” for his fine efforts, knowledge of the course and relaxed attitude.
Hole 1 | 425 yards, par 4
Right out of the gate, Dye intimidates with a narrow dogleg left, fooling players who try to clip its edge and end up in the waste bunker on the left. My drive took another route and caught the waste bunker on the right. I had visions of a trap-to-trap effort to the green. I hit a shot out, only to catch the bunker greenside. I came out cleanly to the green for a two-putt for bogey. John and Gerry started the game with a bang, both carding par.
Hole 6 | 195 yards, par 3
Over the years, this hole has become my nemesis and is the club’s signature par 3. I often have enough club to reach the green but end up in the pond on the right (I always admire the house on the opposite side of the water). Today was a different story: I nailed my iron to the left, landing on the fringe. I almost secured a birdie, rolling my 15-foot putt to within inches of the cup. Gerry and John surrounded the green in a one-two punch for bogey.
Hole 7 | 475 yards, par 4
This is the second-most difficult hole, and I did not make it any easier. The plan is to drive your ball left center for a decent shot to the green, as the hole turns to the right at the end and a long waste bunker runs along the right of the fairway. I pulled my drive strong and hard into the left trap but was able to use a 3-wood and muscle the ball close to the green, landing in a greenside bunker on the right. A simple lob wedge landed me on the green for a two-putt to card a 5. Not bad, considering my start.
Hole 8 | 543 yards, par 5
The third-longest par 5 requires three great shots and accuracy. Off the tee, the landing area is quite generous; however, there is a tendency for some golfers, like John and Gerry, to sail left into the mounds (a Dye signature). I hit a clean drive with a slight fade to land center right. I was clear to let it fly, and I did with my 3-wood, landing 20 yards from the green — taking out the potential issues from waste bunkers, pot bunkers and water left of the green. A simple chip landed me on the green, and I two-putted for par.
Hole 10 | 344 yards, par 4
If you love Pete Dye, you must own stock in a railroad; this hole has more ties than I have ever seen. From the tee box, you must clear a pond lined with railroad ties. This pond continues up the left of the fairway to just before the green. This hole tests every skill, as your drive has to land between the water and the pot bunkers on the right. John landed in the first cut right of the fairway. The next shot is to the green surrounded with pot bunkers. This hole was my worst, carding a triple bogey.
Hole 14 | 475 yards, par 4
Many think this is the most difficult hole on the Dye, with waste bunkers lining the fairway on the left from tee to green and signature mounds on the right. My typical shot that fades right is a disaster here, as the fairway gravitates to the right and sends shots like these to the mounds. I ended up on a mound but sitting up well enough for a wood to take me well out into the fairway. Finding this fairway can be difficult, as many plunge into the never-ending river of sand in the waste bunker. I chipped up and putted in for par and joined the others, who did the same.
Hole 18 | 471 yards, par 4
Paul Campbell believes this is the best finishing hole in Myrtle, and it is a doozie. Water runs from tee to green as the hole wraps around, turning left. Prevailing winds tend to come straight at you on the box. Favor the right for the best approach to the green. A bail-out on the right side of the green can save your score, as anything left is in grave trouble. The team took a shot in the arm on the last hole, carding two double bogeys and one triple.
The Dye Course at Barefoot Resort and Golf
2600 Pete Dye Drive
North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582
tel 843 390 3238
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