Worth it: Pristine conditions keep Barefoot Resort's Dye Club in the top echelon of Myrtle Beach golf
NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- Debbie and Brian Baillargeon have made a habit of playing some of the Grand Strand's nicest golf courses during their six or so trips to South Carolina each year.
The couple, from northern Virginia, recently took advantage of a discount provided from their home course and put the Dye Club at Barefoot Resort and Golf at the top of the list. Their impression was the same one countless others have had after playing the Dye Club.
"We're hoping to change our tee time for tomorrow," Debbie Baillargeon said. "We'll cancel on that other course."
Barefoot Resort's only semi-private course sets itself apart from the Fazio Course, Love Course and Norman Course, and not just because it is located in a gated community with some home sites nearing the million-dollar range.
It's been home to the Hootie & The Blowfish Monday After The Masters Celebrity Pro-Am for more than a decade. Despite the pomp attached to that day every year, locals have recognized this course as one of the preeminent golf courses in the Myrtle Beach area for much longer.
Dye Club at Barefoot Resort and Golf: The course
Choose your tees carefully, especially if you've never played the Dye Club before. It could be the difference in a satisfying round and a day of head-scratching.
At the Dye Club, the four sets of boxes range from 7,343 yards down to 5,021. In between, there are the "Championship" tees (6,634 yards) and the "Member" tees, set at a hair more than 6,000 yards.
Regardless, take heed of a starter's recent words, when he told a playing group they should be prepared to pay for every shot.
The Baillargeons noticed that from first few holes.
"You get penalized when you made mistakes, a little more than normal," Brian Baillargeon said, adding his experience from other similar designs. "For a Pete Dye course, I think it was fine. If you got into trouble, you still had a chance to recover."
Consider it the ebb and flow of Dye's architecture at Barefoot. He made sure trouble was prevalent; at the same time, he followed up much of the problem areas with possibilities to make up for them.
That is, until you get to the greens.
Renovated in 2012 with Champion UltraDwarf, practically every finish is an undulated patch of grass that will force the unskilled into frequent three-putts. Reaching the par-4 greens in two is no guarantee of a birdie or even par.
Most of the 18 greens are still showing some minimal signs of the renovations -- primarily the final touches of top-seeding. However, the conditions are still in line with the rest of the course.
"The greens had some sand on them. You could tell something was up," Brian Baillargeon said. "But they rolled true."
Before reaching the flag, players are also going to see an abundance of waste bunkers, elevation differences -- typically in the roughs and approaches -- and downright frustratingly placed bunkers protecting the greens.
Dye Club at Barefoot Resort and Golf: Facilities and instruction
The Dye Club instantly gives you a different feel than most of the other golf courses in the Myrtle Beach area. The bag drop, pro shop and starters all give you a feel of being the only player on the course. It's customized to smaller groups and provides an upscale feel.
Players are encouraged to utilize the range -- complimentary range balls with every round -- just off no. 1. And with lighter tee sheets -- the course typically sends players off every 12-15 minutes -- there is plenty of time to warm up without feeling rushed.
The clubhouse bar and grill is serviceable from three different holes on the course, and a beverage cart is in use nearly every day of the year.
The resort is also home to the Dyer Golf Academy, where players of all skill levels can start from scratch or fine-tune their games.
Dye Club at Barefoot Resort and Golf: The verdict
There's a reason the Dye Club is consistently named by various publications as a top-100 national course.
Plenty of courses claim pristine conditions, but few pull it off as well as this one. Players are in for a treat, and while some won't want to pay for the experience, those who do are rewarded.
The Dye Club is one that has done everything to manufacture an impressive round, from the time you pull up to the gate until the time you leave.
May 16, 2013