Episode #22: Big Ambitions, Big Events: Barefoot Resort & Golf at 20 Years Old 06/25/2020
Meredith: Welcome to episode number 22 of the Gimme Golf Podcast, powered by myrtlebeachgolf trips.com. I'm your host Meredith Kirk. Don't forget to rate and subscribe to our podcast. Today, Chris King and I are joined by general manager, Dave Genevro of Barefoot Resort & Golf as these courses are celebrating 20 years of great golf. Dave has been there from the start so no one knows these courses better than he does.
Barefoot Resort & Golf, which includes the Dye Club, home to the most decorated multi-course golf resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Barefoot Golf Resort was designed by hall of fame players and architects Greg Norman, Davis Love III, Tom Fazio, Pete Dye. They produced the perfect setting for some of the East Coast top golf layouts. Each one achieved their goal of creating unique, visually striking, and fun to play courses.
Each Barefoot Resort golf course has been ranked by every major golf publication. It has been the host site to Golf Channel's, hit TV show, Big Break Myrtle Beach, and was awarded as the number one, top 50 courses of Myrtle Beach as well as the golf course of the year. Wow, Barefoot Resort & Golf, this is amazing. Dave and Chris, thanks for coming on the show today. We have a lot to cover because it's a phenomenal facility that you have, Dave.
Dave: Thank you very much. I've been very fortunate to be there since the beginning and I enjoy going to work each and every day.
Meredith: Yeah, well, I want to talk about that, you have been there since the beginning. How long ago was that? Are we talking 20 plus years now?
Dave: Yes, we are. We just had our 20th anniversary, April 13th. I moved in March of 2000. I was here, I believe my first day of work was March 28th, and moved from a very rural area in Pennsylvania down to Myrtle Beach, which obviously in the last 20 years has grown dramatically. And being part of the four course facility from the very beginning was really exciting.
Meredith: What was that like? I mean, coming down here when the course was being built, was it in the latter stages when you came down? I mean, you guys weren't fully opened when you took your role at the course.
Dave: That's correct, it was grown in and it was maturing, they were maintaining it as if it was being played every day. And there were rounds being played that first couple of weeks, but it was mostly people within the industry, writers, sports, celebrities, we had a lot of different people that came down, bankers that were helping us get to where we needed to get to. But we first came on site, we had to drive in from the back out on 90 and Water Tower Road to get to the golf courses because the bridge wasn't completed. And so we were coming in the back way and driving into work. And when you're driving on a dirt road, muddy, especially after rain and you're coming in and all of a sudden these four beautiful golf courses, you just, you drive up and there they are pristine because they've been grown in for the last eight to nine months and just ready for people to come and start playing them so it was really exciting.
Meredith: Oh, that is. And it's so dazzling on the bridge when you're driving there and you see the courses, I mean, what a beautiful facility now, Chris, you being a writer, did you have the opportunity to be one of those players out on the course?
Chris: Well, not at that point, I was thinking, it opened just about the time that I moved down here. We got here in May of 2000. So again, it was on the front end of the opening there. And I think you would read the list of awards for Barefoot and impressive as they are. I don't even know that may pale in comparison to the idea that you actually opened all four of those golf courses on the same day.
Dave: Yeah, that's correct. To my recollection, I haven't had anybody call us out on this, it's the only time anybody's opened up four courses simultaneously in the United States, and that was a challenge. I mean, a lot of times a person they'll build a course or two courses, open them, and then continue to build the other two and then bring them on as cashflow allows. But in this case, he wanted all four opened the same day. And we did that and it was fun.
Chris: You had talked about how you were here from the beginning before those courses opened, was there ever a point that you're like, "Hey yeah, I move down here from a rural part of Pennsylvania and I am here in the midst of opening." You know what, I don't think it's unfair to say that the opening of Barefoot was the most anticipated debut of any golf course in the history of the area. And did you ever look around and you're like, "Wow, what have I gotten myself into here?"
Dave: I did. And I don't think I realized the magnitude of it at the beginning. And what I mean by that is the first couple of weeks is just getting ready to open, but then once we opened and then once I was hearing the people coming off the golf courses, and obviously, all the infrastructure wasn't in place at that time, the clubhouses, neither clubhouse was completed yet they were under construction, but they weren't completed so you didn't have the whole experience there. But the remarks that we were getting as far as the conditions of the golf courses and when they finished their day and they said, I can't believe what this place has and I can't wait to come back when it's 100% complete, it's going to be unbelievable. And for that reason, we've been very successful the last 20 years.
Chris: So you say, you had talked about some of the infrastructure not being completed, and part of that was the swing bridge. Initially didn't operate properly, didn't open and closed the way that it was supposed to, which forced people, if memory serves me correctly, to take a pontoon boat from, from one side of the Intracoastal to the other, is that one of those things that when it happened, I'm sure that when you heard that everybody was kind of like, "Oh my God." That's one of those things that puts a pit in your stomach, but then in hindsight that you guys kind of look back on fondly.
Dave: Yes, we do. I couldn't sit here and tell you that our owner wasn't upset when they turned the bridge in and it was off over 20 inches. But he is a very unique person and he said, we're still going to open. And he called and we got pontoon boats that pick people up at Greg Normans dock, right at Greg Norman's Australian grill. And we built a quick dock in the Dye Estates and we picked people up there, drove them over, loaded them onto a van and asked, "Are you playing the Dye Club? Are you playing at one of the resort courses?" And we delivered them in a parking lot that was still being paved. Again, if it was raining, it could have been a muddy parking lot.
There was more than once that there was numerous backdrop and myself pushing the van that maybe got stuck into muddy place after we unloaded the golfers. But it is memories, and the people that play during that time, we still have them, they still come to the club, they still visit us a lot of them on an annual basis. And as good as they say everything is right now, they still feel that that first time they played, was the best memories. Driving at the end of a 36 hole day on the waterways, the sun was going down, back over to Greg Norman's grill is something they'll always remember.
Meredith: I bet that was beautiful.
Chris: No question, I mean, again, it's funny, the things that we sometimes see as challenges kind of in hindsight, I mean, look, and it was a challenge, but it may have added to the allure of something there in those early days, but did y'all ever have trouble loading clubs onto the pontoon boat?
Dave: Yes, there was numerous times that we had people on both sides. I worked the golf course side. The first assistant was hired with me, was working the side on Greg Norman's, Australian grill. Many times I lost communication with him by radio because his radio fell off his belt into the waterway, we had golf clubs that dumped out into the waterway. So there were some additional costs associated with the pontoon boat going back and forth. But again, it was all fun and the unique experience for the customers, as I said earlier, is something that they'll remember for a long, long time.
Meredith: Maybe you should bring the pontoon boats back and charge just a small fee and have that experience again. Would that be fun? I mean, you just celebrated 20 years maybe you should do that for a couple months.
Dave: That's a good idea at Meredith that's something that I think people would definitely take advantage of because it was a lot of fun, especially in the evenings going for a ride.
Meredith: Yeah, just so nostalgic. I want to talk a little bit about the designs. I mean, four different designs, maybe for our listeners right now who've never played Barefoot, what are they to expect with these different designs? I mean, which course would you suggest playing first? I mean, you what's best for the golfers coming out here.
Dave: Yeah, I get asked that question quite often. So normally, especially when people are coming down here, and let's go by spring season, they're coming a lot of people from Northeast that haven't played much golf for a period of time, we have a lot of people, they'll play the Norman course first. It's probably the easiest out of the four courses, not that it's easy, but the easiest, it has seven holes along the Intracoastal Waterway, a beautiful design, southwestern style design, greens very subtle, flat greens where a variety of shots in close to the greens. Really pretty holes, the holes on the waterway, the 10th hole depending on the tee box, anywhere from 200 yards to 115 yards with the Intracoastal Waterway if you miss right with the wind, predominantly blowing towards the waterway, a front right or back right pin trying to get it close it's scary because there's no margin for error, not very much margin for error.
Davis Love course, I always tell everybody it's my favorite of the four courses. Not that it's a better golf course, I just love the design. Very generous off the tee. The greens a lot like Pinehurst No. 2 two crowned with collection areas. So when the course is playing hard, firm, and fast missing over or left or right on those greens, makes it very difficult to get up and down, but a fun golf course to play. They always when asked for advice is don't go pin seeking unless you're playing really well or you're hitting some short shots in because some of the greens are really small. Middle of the green, you usually still have a makeable birdie putt, but a lot of fun to play. Tom Fazio is visually the most appealing to the eye. If you like to play a golf course, that when you stand up on a tee and you look out, say, "Wow, there's this is beautiful." That's what you're going to say when you play the Fazio course. So many holes, a lot of bunkers, fairway bunkers more than any of the other golf courses.
And forward in the bunkers, a lot of times, it's not a chance to get home in your second shot or third shot depending on what hole you're playing, a lot of time, you're just trying to hit a wedge or a nine iron out and then leave yourself a third shot in and hope to make a putt for a par because getting forward in those bunkers a lot of times takes away the chance of you having a club that you can reach the green, but beautiful. The last seven, eight holes, a lot of the natural sandy areas that Mr. Fazio left, just beautiful to play.
And he created more undulation on his course than any of the others also, he moved more dirt than the others because he likes that and it definitely gives a lot of character to the golf course. And last, but certainly not least, the Pete Dye course, definitely considered the hardest golf course we have at Barefoot. There are players that will play one time and they'll say, "It's just too tough." But there's a lot of players that will play it that first time and it becomes a challenge to them that they want to play it again because the course ate their lunch. And if they normally shoot 85 and they go out there and shoot 95 or 98, they don't want to leave it that way. And it's the kind of golf course that always say that you learn where not to hit it or where not to miss it. There are certain holes that I'm not saying you're going to make par if you hit it left, but if you hit it right you're going to make double or higher, you got to be careful of where you want to miss.
And it's typical Pete Dye design railroad ties, a lot of false fronts; you have the mounds, moguls, there's bunkers on some holes that nobody ever hits in, but they're there to intimidate you. And when you get up and hit a tee shot or on a hole for the first time, it doesn't look like you have much space. And Meredith, you know this better, when you don't commit to a shot, a lot of times you don't hit a good shot and they don't hit a good tee shot, but then when they get out there, they realize there's so much more space out there than it looked from the tee box, but the next time they played, then they feel more comfortable playing it. So it's a lot of fun, especially playing it the second time.
Meredith: That's great. Have you had a chance to meet any of the designers? Were any of them there on the day that it opened? Because I mean, I know you probably know hundreds of celebrities by this point with all the tournaments that you've hosted out there and just in general.
Dave: Yes, I've met all the designers. Unfortunately, none of them were there the day we opened, but over time or shortly after that, we were able to meet and we had little grand opening parties depending on which, Greg Norman obviously was there, Davis Love has been there, Tom Fazio and Pete Dye. I probably had more conversations with Pete Dye the first 10 years than any of them because he would stop by or phone calls. And he was such a great man that when you called him and asked him questions or talked to him, you didn't call if you only had 10 minutes to talk because he loved to chat and then his wife would get on and chat with you. There's some good memories of just conversations that we had about the golf course and when he was building the golf course.
Chris: Let me ask you a question, Dave, what's a conversation with Pete Dye like? I mean, is there certain things that he wants to talk about?
Dave: Well, he asked about the course and truly concerned about what people think about the golf course, what the members think about the golf course. He asked about the conditions. And when we first opened, the rough on a golf course was kept real high. And it was too challenging. And we did reduce the Heights on the centipede. And when we talked to him about that, he totally understood. He says, "Yeah, you want people to enjoy their trip." He said that you find a lot of people. I said, "We get people that are playing the wrong set of tees." And he says, "They're there, but they're there for the very few that should be using them." That type of conversation.
And Alice was the same way. I think Alice was a bigger part of what he did than most people realize because she loved golf, and she taught golf, and she enjoyed just the conversations when we had word. There were times I talked to him, he was on speakerphone and talk to them both together. And it wasn't all just about golf course, he would just ask about our owner, "How's Mr. Polly [inaudible 00:15:11] doing? How's everybody? Do people like working there? How's the facility doing?" He was excited to be part of the four designers here at Barefoot.
Chris: Did it surprise you how accessible he was? I mean, that's the first time I've heard you tell that story. And I mean, I guess, I don't know, you think of Pete Dye, he's a legendary figure in the game, he's designed, I don't even know what the number is, but certainly, some of the most prominent golf courses in America. And I guess I wouldn't have guessed that.
Dave: Now, I was surprised the first time and didn't know if that was just a unique situation, but the conversations I had with him after that were the same. And don't get me wrong, I wasn't talking to him every week, but it would be once a year or maybe twice a year at times when we had questions or when we were talking about making some changes, or we were inviting him to the Monday After the Masters. We're a part of a book that was written for Pete Dye, of all his designs. And he welcomed the opportunity to, I believe we sent him books, I forget how many we sent him to sign, signed by him and Alice that we gave to our members, and no problem, get them here. It might take me a month to get them back to you when do you need him and I said, "That's fine." He was just very, very genuine.
Chris: Did he have a favorite part of the Dye course here?
Dave: He enjoyed designing it. And I think part of it was, he enjoyed designing it when he had, maybe it's the wrong word saying competition, but he had other good... Greg Norman had designed a lot of golf courses at that time, obviously Tom Fazio, Davis Love, this was his first high budget design but I think I might've told you this in the past, Chris, after we opened up, the Love course came out at number six in the country, best new upscale golf course, so he did a good job. His design was very well liked and received by the customers that came here and actually got higher recognition at the beginning. Now, I think everybody's kind of evened that out over the years by different publications and things like that. But he was excited to be part of what Mr. Polly designed.
Chris: Now you said, I mean, again, just for me personally, 20 years, I mean, you do lose sight of, or it's easy to forget about the fact that those four golf courses opened at the same time. Was there a point as you're going through this that you looked around and were like, "Wow." And just not only with the opening, but then just as you move through the property, the way that it evolved and you're kind of like, "Hey, we've made it."
Dave: So yeah. There was no doubt there. I think once we got through our first spring and we moved into the fall, we opened up the first clubhouse in late September, early October of 2000. And yeah, I remember moving furniture into the clubhouse and it was with the Polly family. I mean, we had people coming over with trucks and they were right there, we're moving things into the clubhouse, and I looked at the clubhouse and kept saying, "Wow, this is unbelievable." And Mr. Polly and his wife both comment, "Where do you see the Dye Clubhouse?" And I'm thinking how can they top this, and they did.
Chris: Yeah, they could say they were wrong.
Dave: And they did, I mean, it was even more beautiful. But seeing people coming to work every day, once the clubhouse was open and getting there at 5:30, 6:00, getting ready to open, grabbing a cup of coffee and walking out on the back patio deck where you can oversee the 18th hole of Fazio and Love Course at the same time, and watching the sun come up. And in the same way over at the Dye Club, once that clubhouse was open and saying to myself, "Man, I'm the luckiest guy in the world. I love my job and to be able to be part of that." And went from playing a lot of golf and competitive golf, but once I moved down here, my golfing days were over. Prior to moving down here, I still play but not as much as I used to. But getting as much enjoyment out of creating a memorable experience to the guests that showed up at Barefoot, it was as enjoyable as it was playing golf myself.
Chris: Well, and look, I mean, you guys have done an outstanding job with that. And I mean, speaking of memorable experiences, I mean, I always tell people when they're talking about it, I mean, to me Barefoot is kind of the big event venue here in Myrtle Beach. And, I mean, it started not long after y'all opened up, you hosted the Canadian tour that was televised by Golf Channel, which Meredith had mentioned off the top, hosting a Big Break Myrtle Beach, and of course, probably the biggest one is Monday After the Masters. Can you talk a little bit about what it's been like hosting that event? Do you have some particular memories from it?
I mean, for people who may be listening that aren't aware, it's the Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters. It's just celebrate. Well, we played 25 of them. This year's unfortunately it was not played, but we all look forward to its return next year. But I mean, it's one of the most prominent one day celebrity golf tournaments in America. And I mean, they've done an outstanding job and I don't think I'm going too far out on a limb and saying that an absolutely vital part of its success has been the Dye Club, in the venue there.
Dave: I think you're right, Chris. When they moved to Myrtle Beach to host this event back in 2002 for the first time, it wasn't growing, it was staying stagnant and they were looking at trying to jumpstart the event and continued making it bigger. Myrtle Beach itself wrapped their arms around the event, Golf Holiday at that time, they were really excited about, "Let's make this a premier event in Myrtle Beach and something that we can do for a long time." So the first year was a challenge because the first meeting, I think, was January with, obviously, the event being the Monday After the Master's in somewhere around the April 10th. There was a lot to do being at the initial event and not having any experience with it, so.
Chris: I think he had a press conference, I'm sorry to interrupt, maybe at the end of January, beginning of February at the House of Blues up there, if memory serves me correctly.
Dave: That sounds correct, yeah. So there was a lot, we ate, slept and drank Monday After the Masters that first year, but it was a lot of fun. And the event was very well received from the Myrtle Beach community, it wasn't a sell out at that time but it was better than they had been doing. So from that point on, from that first year, it just kept going forward and to be able to get to know the band, once a year, just to see them, to come in. And the event itself is a lot of fun. I mean, people are there to party, to play golf and to relax.
And that time of year, in April, here at the beach, we all know the weathers is beautiful, it's not too hot, it's not cold, it's just perfect to be outside and watching some great golf, and both the celebrities, the golf professionals over the years. There's been a great list of golf professionals. I'll touch on probably, my best memory is I remember the year Arnold Palmer played in it and he was being ushered towards the clubhouse and I got a radio call to please meet him out front and make sure he gets in without there being too much of an issue.
So we took him a little shortcut and he was stopping and shaking hands and saying hello to everybody. He wasn't going to walk by anybody because he's the King. But then we got him around to people, and we got him in the clubhouse, and he took a deep breath and he wanted to go get something to eat. So we're walking to find him a table, and we walked through the dining room and we see an empty table, pointed to it and he said, "That's perfect."
And at that point, Tom Kite showed up, and looked over to him, and smiled, and he walked over, and shook his hand and told him, "Boy, I'm glad you're here, now I'm not the oldest guy in this room." And Arnold kind of like punched him in the shoulder for saying that. But that was one of the times probably that, and I sit here and you say you get goosebumps, but when you have somebody that has done so much for the game of golf and you have them right there in front of you, at a tournament that you're hosting, and watching the crowds that followed him all day long, you know that something special that you may not ever get to see again.
Chris: Yeah, well, and he's a Pennsylvania guy like you too, which had to double up on that.
Dave: Yes, it is.
Chris: When I look out to all people, I mean, other than maybe Paul Graham who runs the tournament, there is nobody in America who has seen more of the Monday After the Masters over the last 18 years than Dave. I mean, what time do you get there for that thing? Because it's got to be 2:00, 2:30.
Dave: Yes, I mean, AM too. It used to be about 4:00 AM in the beginning. It was 4:00 AM that last day, the day of the event. And I'm going to ballpark this back in 2010 or '11, the great opportunity to have Mike & Mike on the first tee starting at 6:00 AM. Well, with Mike & Mike starting at 6:00 AM, their day started at 1:30 or 2:00. And Chris, you've met me there at 1:30 or two o'clock in the morning more than one time yourself.
Chris: I've been there early and I've never beat Dave.
Dave: But yes, and it and there's security checks and things like that, so the day starts real early. There's a lot of preparation. Many of the people that have been there to help us put that on, the superintendent, Duane Whittle has been with the Dye Club since the very beginning. He was on Fazio course in the beginning, and then went to the Dye Club. He's been there and he's done the event for 18 years. So there's not very many times that there's any meetings, if there's meetings, it's usually because it's weather related, then we're trying to figure out how to get the course ready or what we're going to do in case of a rain delay or when there is a rain delay.
But there are so many people that have helped put this on for the last 10, 12 years that we have a good team. And the team, Empire Sports Management, that puts, on actually manages the event, including Paul Klein, Alexa Devine Harnig, and that team that Frank Antonelli who is the owner and a manager of Empire Sports. They've done this event the entire time. So they have a crew that knows what they're doing, knows what to expect, knows what the hours are and they pace themselves and manage their time to make sure that they're going to make it through the wait just like all of us.
Chris: They do a great job, but I mean, I'm not just saying this because you're here, I mean, that venue is a significant part of the event's success. I mean, if nothing else, that built stadium-style courses which actually makes it one of the few courses here that's kind of receptive to having a crowd of five or 6,000 people in there.
Dave: I agree Chris. And to have different levels of accommodations right there on site and then just a short shuttle ride to go to the House of Blues in the concert which I know Chris has been there, Meredith, I don't know if you've made it to concerts at the House of Blues during Monday After Masters.
Meredith: Believe it or not, I have been to like eight of, but not House of Blues. I've been to the day off on the course but I have never been to the House of Blues.
Dave: Well, you need to put that on your bucket list because it's a lot of fun.
Meredith: Well, when somebody invites me, I will.
Dave: Well, I can make sure that happens.
Meredith: I haven't been invited, I'm not special.
Dave: There's a been a lot of years that at the end of that week, not in the beginning, back when I was younger back 20 years ago but there wasn't an event, whether it was Saturday night, Sunday or Monday that I didn't attend because I felt I had to attend. I really didn't have to but I felt I had to attend. And then come Monday night after the concert it was a great ending to a long week. And one of the best and I'll touch on it, memories I have there, I talked to Chris about it, is they've had a lot of different entertainers there, but the year Meat Loaf was there.
And when he got up on stage and the place got quiet and he sang, I would do anything for love. I mean, the place just erupted and it was unbelievable. And he's one of many, many entertainers that have sung. But depending on your age group and your generation you gravitate towards one versus another but it was a wonderful experience. And it is, each year when they all get on stage and sing songs together, football players, baseball players, basketball players, comedians and entertainers and Darius and the entire band it gives you goosebumps about that. You got to get there Meredith.
Meredith: I know, I need to. Well, this event, I mean, it's sells out every year and you have amazing volunteers. I want to give a little shout out to the volunteers. So many people that come out there and help. I have a lot of friends that volunteer and really enjoy that even, but it's selling out. So if somebody is listening and they want to attend maybe next year, when do the ticket sell, when can people be a part of that and where can they go to get more information? It is a great event. I mean, everybody needs to experience Monday After the Masters.
Dave: I agree 100%. The tickets usually go on sale late February and they're on Live Nation and at each clubhouse. So if you're not here in Myrtle Beach but you want to come, you can get on online and you can purchase the tickets. If you are here in Myrtle Beach, they start selling in the clubhouses and it's usually advertised some news carriers at the golf courses, advertise it, and the beach, in general, advertises it. So it's not something you want to wait till a week after the tickets go on sale.
Chris: You might not want to wait one day.
Dave: Yeah, last two years, I think we sold out to second date, years prior to that they were sold out within a couple hours. So it's something you want to do earlier. If you want to volunteer you would go to hoodygolf.com and they have signed up for volunteers, I believe it's 450 to 500 volunteers a year.
Meredith: Yeah, I knew it was a huge amount of volunteers that go out there.
Dave: And Meredith you're right, without them, this event wouldn't happen and we get so many of them that have done the same thing year after year and they don't want to miss it, it's their highlight of the year.
Meredith: Yeah, I know, I have a lot of friends that are volunteers. Some of them semi-retired and they're literally fly down to volunteer for this event. They love that event. And anybody going, you need to make sure you wear sunscreen, that's one thing I've learned over the years attending that if you don't put on sunscreen, you'll get burned because you're going to be out in the sun all day. Sunscreen, bring cash because the food and drinks are amazing. I mean, the vendors that you have out there, just ton of options when you're out there. And just be prepared to have fun and bring a camera because there's so many opportunities to meet celebrities, they're very accessible. And that's the one aspect I love about the event is, it gives the crowd a chance to really engage. You almost feel a part of it when you're there. So it really is a special event that you have.
Dave: It is. And it's the people that play in it, they go out of their way to make themselves available for the spectators. I think that's for that reason alone is why so many people like to come because they don't get a chance to get that close and see the people that genuine and talking to them and having that time. And that carries on into the concert. And Meredith, you'll see that if you go next year. Jim Furyk comes to mind, he and his wife, the staff, some of us, go to the concert after the final day. And we normally, we get there late because of all the cleanup. And we normally go to the top floor of the House of Blues and there's a bar up on top where you can't see real well, it's so crowded down below already but you can hear the music and you can enjoy it.
And year after year Jim Furyk and his wife, they walk around the crowd and I think they do every floor. We see them almost every year, he plays and he walks over and he recognizes us and thanks us and the staff is great, course is great, thanks for helping them with this event. And I believe Darius reciprocates with Mr. Furyk and plays in Jim, Jim and his wife have a charity event and they play in it. And I think at times, the band has played at his event which they help each other. And I think that's great to see that.
Meredith: Yeah, that is.
Chris: Well, a lot of the things you've talked about that have helped make Barefoot such a good host for the Monday After the Masters, that the golf course is there, the proximity of accommodations and entertainment with Barefoot Landing being just across the water there. I mean, those are really a lot of the same things that attract golf groups too because as the property is evolved it's one of the few here in Myrtle Beach where you can kind of stay and play all on the same site.
Dave: You're right, Chris. And that's what I think the people that are coming down for that three-night, four-round or that four-night four-round package, that's what they enjoy. And when you step up on the 15th and Norman Course, you can't say this reminds me of the six-hole on the Fazio course, there's no similarities. They're four completely different designs and it's almost like you're going to a different world and you're just traveling left instead of right when you leave the backdrop area. So I think it's unique, the fact that they can come in and we have the two clubhouses, they can leave the Norman course and jump in their car and go over and play the Dye course if they choose, have lunch either place, we have a cabana outside of the resort in the spring that is just, I mean, it's nothing to sell 400 hamburgers and hot dogs and we have music playing there and the people just enjoy being out there in the sun because they haven't seen it for a long time.
Chris: Yeah, and for people who haven't been, I mean that cabana is one of my favorite things. I mean, I love coming up there. You smell the burgers coming off, people having a couple of cold beers between rounds. I mean, it really, I mean, as much as anything is a focal point, to me is kind of the essence of what a buddy's golf trip is. It is right there, you're surrounded by three golf courses, the beauty of 18 there on Fazio, you're just all having a good time.
Dave: And you get to see a lot of the golfers that they put their clubs away, they finish and then they go to the cabana and then they have a burger and they have, as you said, a couple of beers and then somebody in that groups, "Hey Joe and I will go play you too. Let's go play another nine, they have the emergency nine." And that happens all the time. And now we're not going back out but a beer later. And then all of a sudden they're getting their clubs back out of the trunk of their car. And they're back out on a golf course enjoying another nine holes on a golf course that they just played today or one that they're going to play tomorrow and they get kind of a preview of what they're going to see.
Chris: Yeah, I mean, and then that cabana to me is just another step in the evolution of the property, I know it's been there for a while. But we've talked a lot about things that have happened there over the previous 20 years, what do you see 20 years into the future for Barefoot?
Meredith: I was getting ready to ask him that, I literally had that question, you stole my question. Yeah, that's a good one.
Dave: That's a good question, that's a great question. Most of Barefoot when I came 20 years ago, there was one building started, one condo building that had 12 units in it. Now there's over 30, 400 rooftops, inside of Barefoot. So Barefoot itself, the majority of the development within the Barefoot community is completed. They're still doing a little bit on the waterway, they're just getting started on that, but as far as barefoot itself, this year alone, we're redoing bridges, we're replanking bridges because it's hard to believe but we're 20 years old. And when you put a lot of golfers through a course, you're having to keep up. We're modifying some of the courses we've done away with some bunkers, we had some bunkers and I use Fazio course, for example, that greenside bunkers with steep slopes that through 20 years of excessive rains and hurricanes where the distance between the top of the bunker and the green has diminished 50%. And if that continues then a severe storm in the future, you could lose part of the green complex. So we've had to fill in a few bunkers to do that.
But keeping the golf course, as far as the playability, it's not taken away from the playability of the golf course, a certain angle, maybe that you looked at that hole looked a little better with that deep bank, but it was a necessity to do that. I think the game of golf in general, the golf courses are managing the courses in a way where they're trying to manage the courses and manage their budgets. Areas that are not playable areas are being managed difference, maybe planted where they're not upkept anymore, where it was an area that we mowed, whether it was rough or even some places that were fairway that weren't in play, they were left of a tee box. Those areas are being managed differently with wildflowers things like that.
It doesn't take away from the look of the golf course but it saves some time to be able to concentrate on other things on the golf course. We will continue to rebuild, rebuilding bunkers every year. Will we continue? That's probably something that 20 years from now we'll still be doing because when you're looking at a total of 400 bunkers on four golf courses, it's not an endeavor you're going to take on all at one time, you do it all at once.
Meredith: You said 400?
Meredith: So y'all really hate rain?
Dave: Yes, we hate. And that's the other thing, there were bunkers that were not in play but when it rained, I mean, they washed out and you had a lot of work to do. So if you came out and you had four golf courses and after a hurricane and you have all that washout, you have customers that are going to be there playing within a few days, hopefully. And to try to get them to the point where visually the customer doesn't see... you want the golf course to be visually appealing to the customer. And they understand that the day after a hurricane or the day after three or four or five inches of rain like we get here at the beach but a week later, they're questioning, "Wow, it hasn't rained for four days, I wonder why that isn't pushed up." So we're trying to manage it to provide the best product possible on a regular basis and a given day that we can do the best we can to have that course in good shape for them.
Meredith: Well, I want to conclude with Chris, I'm going to give you a shout out. You've covered Barefoot Resort, their courses, you and Ian and other writer at mbn.com. Just a few of the amazing articles that you've written. I mean, Dave, you've given us so much information and Chris you know so much about the Barefoot courses as well, but the recent article you did 20 years of Barefoot Resort, Pontoon Boats, Big Break Hootie and the Great Golf, that was really a great article. We have that for our listeners @mbn.com if you want to go check that out.
Also, you and Ian did an expert debate, Barefoot Golf and Resorts best course and also the North End versus the South End, that was really good and Barefoot was included on that. And then Chris, the Five Hardest Shots in Myrtle Beach Golf, you mentioned the par three, number 15 on the Dye Club as one of the toughest, 162 yards from the white tees, eight bunkers around the green, eight out of the 400, you have options [inaudible 00:39:03] on the course.
Chris: And I've walked in all eight of those.
Meredith: And then Ian did one, the best par threes along the North strand. So we definitely recognize Barefoot Resort and Golf as just an amazing facility and what you guys have done there. Dave, you were just the perfect person. No wonder why you've been there for over 20 years because you certainly know what you're doing over there. And people just continued to get out there and play those courses. And absolutely so many people love Barefoot Resort clubs. So thanks for coming on the show today. Is there anything that you'd like to tell our listeners?
Dave: Well, if you're one of those people that haven't been at Barefoot Resort, we would love to have you come down and give one or all four of our courses a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed. So we hope that maybe we can see you sometime in the future. And Meredith, Chris, both of you, thank you very much for having me on, it was very kind. What you just said, is very much appreciated and there's something to be said to, if you love your job you really embrace it. And myself and many of the people that work for us, the success of Barefoot isn't a one-person job, it's because of having a really good team. And since day one, we've been very fortunate to have a really good team. And that's the reason for our success now in the past, now and hopefully in the future.
Meredith: Yeah, well, the team is a reflection of the leader, so well done, Dave. And we need to get out there Chris, maybe you and I can go play. I know you said you wanted some help with your golf game a couple of months ago. Maybe we can get out there and play and I can give you a few pointers.
Chris: We'll have to do it because at this point I may need a complete resurrection.
Meredith: All right, guys, thanks so much. And everyone listening, thanks for joining in today.
General manager Dave Genevro has been at Barefoot Resort from Day One, and he relives the highs and lows of the property’s rise. From taking pontoon boats across the Intracoastal Waterway to meeting Arnold Palmer, Genevro provides a behind the scenes account of one of Myrtle Beach’s most acclaimed properties
Unique early access to the clubs
The 4 golf courses opened all on the same day!
Which Barefoot Course should you play?
Dave’s conversations with Pete Dye
The popular Monday After the Masters Event
Meeting Arnold Palmer
What will the next 20 years look like?
And much more!
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