Of the four courses at the famous Barefoot Resort and Golf in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the Fazio Course is often overshadowed. The Dye Course receives most of the fanfare, and the others — the Love, the Norman and the Fazio — often feel like the freshman whose brother was the graduating state champion.
Like many European courses, the Fazio does not return to the clubhouse as you finish the first nine. Instead, it meanders through a prized parcel of Lowcountry land filled with live oaks, pines, sand dunes and natural sea grasses. Located between the Dye and Love courses (see Global Traveler July 2013 and August 2013), this “freshman” has a lot of trees, waste and soft bunkers (more than 100) and lakes to make play enjoyable and challenging. Tom Fazio used the natural elevation changes to add to the look and feel of the course, making play more dramatic and exciting.
The course is a par 71 and plays 6,834 yards from the tips. Tees and fairways consist of GN-1, a hybrid grass developed by Greg Norman Turf. The approach areas are seeded with Tif-Sport Bermuda, and the roughs are 419 Bermuda, which I find requires a purposeful follow-through on shots.
In 2009, a significant wildfire tore through the resort, burning trees and homes. Although it sustained damage, the course is still a favorite for golfers. My threesome included Jimmy Sprat and Gerry Patrick.
Hole 1 | 390 yards, par 4
Out of the gate, Fazio lies left of the tee box, and the fairway has a large pond that really should not come into play. Unfortunately, Gerry, aka Gerbils, scooted a drive across the lake that made five or six skips before it vanished to join the catfish. I took a drive too far right and ended in the wooded area, requiring a punchout to the fairway. This dogleg right to an elevated green is lined with pines and live oaks on either side. Some significant traps on the right of the green are eager to catch players like Jimmy, who traded in his clubs for a beach umbrella and blanket as he hammered himself out of this bunker.
Hole 2 | 458 yards, par 4
This challenging par 4 is the No. 1 handicapped hole. I created a comedy of errors right from the start with a slicing drive to the lone tall pine tree on the right side of the fairway. Like many of the holes on this course, you need to clear a marshy area to reach the fairway, which is intimidating for many players. I continued to hack away, hitting trees along the way, never out of harm’s way. The hole is designed as a dogleg left, and the fairway is crowned on the left side as you approach the green. Any shot headed left will roll off, leaving very little room for recovery.
Hole 4 | 548 yards, par 5
Let the big dog bark and take a full swing to launch your drive on this beautiful par 5. Jimmy and I each carded a bogey, which was the better showing of the group. Poor Gerbs just landed in one bunker after another as he continued on this relatively flat terrain to the pin. Once again, Fazio has you clearing a marsh to the fairway that is lined with bunkers, three on each side. There are also plenty of moguls off the fairways — when we played, the Bermuda grass was dormant and ready to spring back to life in a few weeks. As you approach, select your landing areas, as you can easily slip off and out of play.
Hole 6 | 191 yards, par 3
Water on the right, water on the left, and water cutting across the front; but you have to stay dry. Never fear, Jimmy is here with a spectacular shot to the green, landing on the right for a two-putt par. Gerbs and I took a more dramatic route, short but safe, for a chip and bogey. The elevated two-tiered green adds drama.
Hole 13 | 379 yards, par 4
The annual Myrtle Beach group has a history with and a warning for the 13th hole: Don’t drive your cart into the waste bunker on the left which cuts across the fairway; you might not get out! This happened a few years ago when I was playing with John Ecklund and decided to take a shortcut to the green. After much rocking and the help of our other twosome, we were set free. From the tee box, aim for the fairway short of the waste bunker. From here you have to pay strict attention, as there are two greens which they alternate (left and right), and you could easily be confused and shoot toward the wrong one.
Hole 14 | 380 yards, par 4
Fazio loves his marshes, and this is no exception. Your drive has to clear the marsh and at the same time cut off some of this dogleg as it turns to the left. The waste bunker that runs along the entire left side catches most players. The bunker continues as it wraps around the front of the green. You can spend your entire time playing in the sand until you reach some grass.
Hole 16 | 198 yards, par 3
If you like sand, this par 3 was made for you. As Gerbs and I took the sand head on as part of our game, Jimmy slammed his third par-3 green in regulation, landing squarely for a two-putt and par. From the tee box, there is a lot of waste bunker and water on the right. This makes for a very picturesque par 3 — challenging for those not reaching the green!
Hole 18 | 453 yards, par 4
Always a dramatic finishing hole, 18 requires players to again clear marshland to the fairway with a large lake up its entire left side to the green. Many a great shot looks like it will hug the left bank only to bounce in with the water life. I played this hole like a par 5, landing on the green in three. Best to avoid the four traps on the right and the two on the left. The long trap to the left of the green is a favorite, and both Gerbs and Jimmy caught this, causing them to card a double bogey.
The Fazio Course at Barefoot Resort and Golf
4980 Barefoot Resort Bridge Road
North Myrtle Beach
tel 843 361 3145
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