Episode #21: Inside Look at Caledonia Golf & Fish Club and True Blue Golf Plantation 06/08/2020
Meredith: Always a fun time when talking to Bob Seganti, who is the PGA general manager of Caledonia and True Blue. Listen as Bob gives us an inside look into these highly awarded and requested of Myrtle Beach designs. Don't forget to rate and subscribe the Gimme Golf Podcast, powered by Myrtle Beach Golf Trips.
I am so excited to introduce our guest on the show today. Bob Seganti, PGA general manager of Caledonia Golf and Fish Club and True Blue Golf Club. Bob, awesome to have you on the show
Bob: Meredith, it's great to be here with you and Nate. Thank you so much.
Meredith: Yeah, it's great to have you on. Every now and then you and I connect on social media, but I haven't seen a lot of you, but I do want our listeners to know what a great guy you are. Do you know what Bob Seganti did for me when I won Mrs. South Carolina?
Meredith: He and his team and his crew there at True Blue and Caledonia donated $1,500 to the organization I was running as my platform, Junior Golf Exchange. It was the first donation that I received in the organization, and we had an awesome group of board members as well. Paige Cribb was on our board and the former PGA president Will Mann allowed us to meet at Coastal for our board meetings, and we had a number of people on our boards. You know what we did with that money, Bob? We were able to purchase brand new golf equipment, fitted golf equipment, for junior golfers. And it was such a blessing. It was a really good shot in the arm. That was the reason why I participated in Mrs. South Carolina, is because I wanted to draw more attention and Bob didn't really even know me, and you just did that for me. And I'm just so grateful. And I just want to acknowledge that today.
Bob: Well, you're quite welcome. And it was our pleasure and you are an awesome Mrs. South Carolina, by the way.
Bob: And really, I, we, our team, Bart Romano, if you recall, our PGA head professional down there at True Blue, but we're just the conduit for those types of causes. Our ownership group, which is a local ownership group, Ponderosa Inc. A lot of, I guess, well established families. They really encourage us to be charitable, either, either with my support to local causes and support local things. And of course selfishly, we try and tie those into marketing opportunities for us as well, but we're always glad to help. And certainly anything we can help with Junior Golf and those type of causes we're down for it all the time.
Meredith: Yeah, absolutely. You guys do so much. I mean, I could not even list what you guys do and I love your involvement in charities and whatnot, but I want to go ahead and get a list of accolades and awards your courses have received. We're going to start with Caledonia, one of the most highly awarded ranked and rated golf courses in the southeast. Golf Magazine, top 100 you can play, South Carolina's best public golf courses and Golf Week, America's best modern courses, best courses you can play in South Carolina. Now we're going to Golf Digest. America's 100 greatest public courses.
Nate: Holy cow.
Meredith: I know, it doesn't stop. Best golf courses in South Carolina, top 100 public courses, Golf Advisor, top 50 courses based on your ratings, Golf Channel, Matt Ginella's Top 50 Public Courses, Golf Week rank Caledonia and Dunes Club among the best you can play for 2019. I'm going to stop before I even get into True Blue. This is insane.
Bob: That is a embarrassment of riches. Wow. Yeah, so I think we're doing the right thing when we say we're annually ranked in most national top 100 lists, but that's pretty humbling to hear that. I can't take any credit for that.
Meredith: Oh come on, you can take a little bit of credit.
Bob: Well, we help with the service side, but again, it's really, and I know you're going to get into True Blue, so please embarrass us some more, but that really just speaks to the design of the properties, Mike Strantz, and I know we'll get into Mike probably later on. The late, great Mike Strantz, who designed the golf courses.
Bob: Again, the ownership willing to pour the dollars in the golf course to keep them maintained and make changes as needed. And we've got excellent superintendents at both golf courses, we have a full time horticulturist, so there's some resources put there that make all that happen. Then what we like to think we provide a casual but welcoming atmosphere by our staff. But thank you. Please go on and on and on and on.
Meredith: Well you absolutely are so welcoming. I would add another award, it's going to be from me from a former Mrs. South Carolina, most beautiful golf course and entry way as you drive into the course. Caledonia. I think everybody locally that lives here knows that. And people that come and play the course out of town, everybody knows if you are looking for that low country site to see, you got Caledonia. We can't deny that.
Bob: Yeah, we were blessed. Caledonia itself was a working rice plantation back in the late 1700s, and that avenue of oaks, those oak trees were planted back then. So we're reaping all the rewards of that. It is a pretty awesome entry way. It's not quite a mile, I should know how long it is. About a half, but anyway, it's really cool. You go down to the bend and then you make a right along the marsh before you get to the clubhouse framed out there.
And even if you're not coming to play golf with us, if you just happen to be in Pawley's Island on Kings River Road, which there's plenty of beautiful properties along there. Willbrooke and Litchfield, Tradition Club, all of those courses are in Waccamaw Golf Trail. It's pretty awesome, but that's a pretty special entryway. And every day you drive in there to work, my office happens to be there, it's really cool. And you always look up and you kind of say, "Wow, this is really awesome."
Nate: When I was at the golf course, you'd walk in the shop every day and you kind of take it for granted and then you're away from it for a while and you go back, it's like, "Man, this is really an awesome place." Or when you have someone come in that hasn't been there, they kind of reengage with you and say, "Man, this is awesome." I would take stuff like that for granted if I saw it every day. But then when you step back and look at it, it's got to be [crosstalk 00:00:06:40].
Bob: Well I think we all do, right? As golf professionals, we're all golf professionals. We take the access to these beautiful properties, all over the Myrtle Beach area, whatever our home course is and all these beautiful entryways and it's kind of ... Golf is not a job. It's a lifestyle when you work in it. So we do have a tendency to take it for granted. And I've always found that, and maybe you two feel differently, but the way to really kind of reconnect is go out late in the day, just by yourself. Maybe you play two or three holes, you just kind of ride around, just kind of look at things and you say, "Okay, this is why I got into this 25 years ago." You put in all those hours and that sweat equity to just sort of reconnect with your properties. And then we take it for granted a month later, but then we do that again and then you just kind of [crosstalk 00:07:28].
Nate: It's important to do it as golf professionals, I think. Exactly right.
Bob: But to see that through the eyes of folks who are just visiting your property for the first time, Nate, your point's absolutely correct. And Meredith your point's correct. It just kind of strikes you as like, "Hey, I remember the first time I drove through here," and the wow factor.
Meredith: Oh yeah. It's off the scales on the wow factor. And I love that course, especially if you play in the evening, coming on number 18, what a sunset you get to see. And it's just incredible. All right, let's go to True Blue. Golf Magazine top 100 you can play, South Carolina's best public golf courses, Golf Week, America's best modern golf courses, best courses you can play in South Carolina. Golf Digest, Top 100 public courses in America, rated four and a half stars. That's pretty darn good, folks. And Golf Channel's Matt Ginella's top 50 public courses. Wow. You guys are just rolling in the accolades.
Nate: Did you see when you started, Bob stepped away from the table to take a drink because he knew he had quite a lot of [crosstalk 00:08:30]
Meredith: Yeah. I noticed that. He's like, "Yeah, I'm just going to let her just keep rolling this off."
Bob: Please, please don't stop. Stop. Please, please, more.
Nate: I'm shaking my head.
Meredith: So I mean, this is incredible. It's got to be awesome.Being a general manager of these two courses. I want to get into your story a little bit about how you got into the golf business. How'd you get started?
Bob: I actually got interested in golf late. I was born and raised in the Philadelphia area and spent a lot of time on the South Jersey shore, a town called Avalon down there. And like a lot of kids, had gotten a group rental down there and started working for these guys who owned a restaurant seafood market. Anyway, I got into that business and these gentlemen were kind enough to take me into an ownership partnership position when I was just turned 20 years old, which was great because I really didn't have any money and I was I was putting myself through college, yada yada yada. Anyway, long story short was part of it they had a membership to a golf course, a place called Avalon Country Club, which is still near and dear to my heart and it's still operating up there.
But that year I got hooked on golf, like crazy hooked on golf. All I thought about was golf all the time. When we weren't in the restaurant, which was a lot hours, I was thinking about golf. Back in the kitchen, I've got a spatula in my hand and working on my grip and we're doing all this crazy stuff. So anyway, had an opportunity to come to Myrtle Beach. It was a seasonal situation after I graduated college. So we were closed by mid September and the PGA professional up there, Ted [inaudible 00:10:05], Ted is still at the club up there, really kind of inspired me to get in the golf business. He said, "Look, it's not everything you think it's going to be. It's not playing golf every day. It's not this. It's not that. So it's a lot hours but if you love it," he goes, "It'll love you back."
And so anyway, I had the opportunity to catch on at Caledonia under Todd Weldon, who sadly passed away a few years ago now. And Todd became a dear friend, but he says, "Look, you're not going to make any money. I need you to work as a starter ranger," he says, "But if you're willing to put the time and you're motivated," and he puts you through the assistant professional scenario and everything else. So long story short, I've been with Caledonia and True Blue since 1995.
Meredith: Wow. Gosh, 25 years.
Bob: 25 years. And actually I just thought about this the other day, because I know you both are PGA professionals or LPGA, excuse me, if I've got that correct, but I'm actually going in to my 20th year as a member, being this August.
Meredith: Big congratulations.
Bob: So I mean, it was sort of a second career for me. So I traded one life of incredibly long hours in the restaurant food and beverage business for another life with incredibly long hours, but a little bit easier to manage that.
Nate: People don't realize back in the mid '90s in Myrtle Beach, it was hard to get a golf course job. It wasn't like you could just walk in, "I'm going to be an assistant pro. I'm going to work in the pro shop." You had to start somewhere. You had to be, in your case, starter. I was in bags. I came in, closed carts. But yeah, it wasn't that easy.
Bob: Yeah. And it's funny because no one gets into golf because they think they're going to become wealthy or they think this, this, you just get in it because you want to be around it. You love it so much, and at least that's the way it was for me. So I love this so much, I'm willing to take an income hit and this different life, But this, this is what I wanted to do and, and I really don't have any less passion for it than I did then, I just don't play as much. When you're assisting, you work all day then you squeeze nine in or you play all the time. So you probably work maybe less hours now, but you played a lot more golf back then. But yeah, the early '90s in Myrtle Beach was quite a scene.
Nate: You must've worked two jobs. You bartended as well.
Bob: I did. Yeah.
Nate: I thought you did at Litchfield Beach [crosstalk 00:12:27].
Bob: Yeah. Yeah. Well, that's how I had access to golf when I originally started. Yeah. I used to work at Litchfield by the Sea, Webster's Restaurant tending bar. Webster's is still there and still going strong. So yeah, I've got a lot of ties to the area. 1991.
Meredith: It's interesting, all of us sitting here are golf professionals. We've had practically every job in the golf business. I mean, I've been an assistant, I've been a beverage girl, I've waited tables at country clubs. I've worked backdrop. The only thing I think I haven't done is maintenance. I still want to check that off my bucket list, but when you get involved in the golf business, you have to understand everybody's job. It does. It gives you so much more respect for the business when, when, when you get your hands dirty and you get in there and you're working long hours. I mean, I remember cleaning carts. I remember putting carts up, plugging them up at night, working late hours as a kid.
Nate: It makes you a better golf professional too, to do that. And I remember all I could do was get a job putting carts away, but I said, "You know what? I'm going to do it as good as anybody so I can move up." So that gave you that passion. It's like, "I'm going to work harder than this person. I'm going to get in the pro shop." So I think it was good. It was good for me, anyway [crosstalk 00:13:43]
Bob: Oh, it was good for me. Oh, it was absolutely that way. And it, wasn't trying to get away from work. And as we try and mentor our young men and women who come into the business, they all come in and say, "Hey, I think I'm good enough to play a little bit for a living, but if not, I want to become a club professional. And what's this all about?" And say, "Hey, look, What do you want to do?" Always work above your pay grade. See yourself moving up. Always work towards a goal. But Meredith, to your point, yeah. If you haven't done every job in the golf business, I'm not saying you're not in the golf business, but to your point, the maintenance side is a little different. I mean, they're not going to let anyone ride a Triplex mower. They don't let me do that. Some of the little bit of maintenance I do-
Meredith: I mean, I want to hop on the back and just ride it while somebody is operating it.
Nate: There's a Weed Eater, right?
Bob: Yeah, no, exactly. Yeah. They'll let me have a blower from time to time and a Weed Eater in a pinch, but other than that they're not letting me on any of the high-tech stuff. And I don't blame them.
Nate: I always wanted to try the Speed Roller, but they never would let ... It look so much fun.
Meredith: I just want to ride on the machines. That would be fun.
Bob: But while we're on it, and I'm not trying to take your ... But really the backbone of any golf course is really the superintendent and the maintenance team. Of course, it's all a team. I mean, you have to have the front of the house in the back of the house to work, but they're really the stewards. They are the stewards of our golf courses and our properties and really, it's always the golf course first. Great customer service and everything else will add to that. But they really do a tremendous job, sometimes with limited resources and under tough conditions seasonally. So always want to give credit to those folks when we can.
Meredith: Oh, absolutely. And since we're talking about maintenance, let's talk a little bit about course design. Let's talk about Mike Strantz. So I know that he passed away very young, age 50. That's really sad. And I didn't know that until this morning, reading my notes. Tom Fazio hired him from the grounds crew at Inverness Club in Ohio. I could go through a list of his accolades, but I know that you probably know a lot more than I do. So let's talk about him.
Bob: Okay. Well, I will say that I do and I don't, and I've recently had my eyes open to the career of Mike Strantz, even though I've always been around Mike, because of the designs and the stories about Mike, but a good friend of ours I think we all know, Tim Gavrich, who now I think works for Golf Advisor, and I'm not trying to plug another company or anything, but did an amazing biography on Mike Strantz and the timeline. The amount of projects and courses that Mike was involved with before he even came to Myrtle Beach was amazing, including like Wild Dunes and other properties. Again, a lot of Fazio stuff.
Meredith: Yeah. Tobacco Road, Pinehurst, Monterey Peninsula in California, Bulls Bay, just to name a few.
Nate: He did Wild Dunes right during Hurricane Hugo, so I'm sure that was a lot of fun.
Bob: Right. Well Mike's modus operandi, if you would, Mike was an artist. So he would do charcoal sketches of all his holes. As he would walk the property or ride a property on a horse, he did like to do that, which was, that's kind of cool if you can do that.
Meredith: On a horse?
Bob: On a horse, yeah. He's done that on some of his properties. Yeah.
Meredith: Wow. I wonder what-
Nate: That's interesting.
Meredith: Why a horse? Is it that perspective as somewhat looking down, just seeing it from a different angle?
Bob: I can't tell you. He's a horse guy, but there's a lot of pictures of with him on a horse. And I will say this, I don't believe he was on a horse at Caledonia and True Blue, but I know Wild Dunes and a couple of the other properties, Bulls Bay especially, certainly he was, because Mike did live in the Mount Pleasant area. So he would do artist's renderings. He was an exceptional artist. Charcoal. And then he would say, to the shaping crew men or women, he said, "Hey, look, here's the hole, now you need to get back into the real architectural designs," and they would go out there and check. But Mike spent all his time on a property. He was there the whole time.
Caledonia was his first design. Didn't move a lot of property there. That's why a lot of folks don't necessarily equate Caledonia with Mike Strantz because Caledonia's more subtle design. They move less than a 100,000 cubic yards of dirt, which is very little .now when he came back and did True Blue a couple of years later, that was a completely different story. I mean, dug these huge lakes and ponds, a lot of mounding, there was some natural elevation on that property across the street, but you ended up with two completely different designs, where True Blue is that wide open wide fairway, sort of almost links, but it's not hard by the sea style golf course where Caledonia's a more traditional parkland style course framed out by those beautiful live oaks, some natural mounding there and everything else.
But Mike passing at 50 was a surprise to everybody because at one point it was Golf Week or one of the golf magazines rated Mike as one of the top 10 most influential architects of all time. And at that point I think that he had done five designs or something.
Meredith: Wow. Well, just incredible career. And again, the course layout on both these courses, phenomenal. Tell us your favorite holes at True Blue and Caledonia.
Bob: Okay. So a lot of folks go with the 18th holes are both interesting par 4s, the way the green sets back in the club house. To me, that's kind of a given. If I go to True Blue, what I think really sums up the golf course there is the 13th hole, and it's par 4, a huge fairway. You don't necessarily see all the fairway off the tee, so in typical Mike Strantz fashion, he hides a little bit of that. So there some interesting bunkers on the left. There's a nice hillside there. And then once you get out into the fairway, the green sits up into this ... Again, we're used to the low country, everything's flat, but it sits up into this hillside. There's just some natural coloring back there and it's a beautiful green. And again, he's got some great cross bunkers in front of the green, and part of the green is hidden a little bit and it's just always been a favorite hole of mine.
And you look back and if you ever miss a fairway, say, "How the heck did I miss that fairway?" I mean, I think it's 80 yards wide, but you got this massive green with a lot of interesting pin placements. So that's my favorite at True Blue. Caledonia, there's so many good holes. Again, there's such great rhythm from the way you start. From the first two through 18, you have a sense of what the golf course is going to be like. And I'll go back to True Blue, True Blue as 18 very interesting holes and very different holes. There's not necessarily the rhythm to it. You go, "Oh, this is going to be a waste area, Pinehurst number two, Pine Valley kind of feel," then you get to three and four True Blue and you go, "That's an island green. And that's a boomerang par five." There's a lot of water features here.
Anyway, skipping back to Caledonia, I would have to say my favorite at Caledonia is the 14th hole. Again, it comes off of 13. It's a par 4. Tee sits way back, you tee off across the water and just a nicely framed fairway. And then your second shots on approach into a green that's framed by water on the left. Beautiful landscaping in the back, the nice overhang of a lot of oak there on the corner, which frames it out. And it's not one that typically would say, hey, that's their signature hole, but there's so many good holes on both properties.
Meredith: I know, there really is.
Bob: So many that it's just hard to say. There's really, no, "That hole was okay." They're all really good and some were exceptional.
Meredith: The last time I was at Caledonia, were y'all doing clam chowder? I was walking out to the first tee, I believe, I mean, this has been about two or three years. Did you still do that?
Bob: We absolutely do that. Yeah. It's called the Chowder Shack, chowder shed right out by the start area.
Meredith: Yes, that's what it was called. Okay.
Bob: Yeah, it's right before you get to the first [inaudible 00:22:16] tee, so it's on the way to the turn. It's just a funky little outbuilding.
Meredith: I love it. It's so cool.
Bob: Yeah, it's really cool. And we've got some really interesting people that serve the chowder up there. We do make it, it's homemade. We do make it daily. I will say it is seasonal. I mean, there's a certain point in the Myrtle Beach area where hot chowder or on a hot day. So usually about 80 degrees. And usually by early June or June 1st, we're done for the season. We'll start again in the fall. But it's kind of a different deal here and I know you guys do it at Pine Lakes up here too, but it's just one of those interesting things that just kind of makes for a unique experience.
And it's funny, we talk about it at Caledonia and our team meetings, we love social media and we're trying to get good at it and keep up with what you guys are doing here, because you guys do an amazing job with it. But a lot of times at Caledonia, the top five things that people get excited about are the entry way, they get excited about the chowder, they get-
Meredith: See? I'm talking about it. I know. I get excited about it.
Bob: They get excited about the back porch and the 19th hole experience when you're hitting your second shot in there, and there's a big crowd on the porch and they're cheering you on, or maybe they've got a little wager on how you're going to do, and it's the clubhouse. And then finally you get to the golf course and, wow. And and everyone goes, "Oh my gosh, I can't believe the golf course is only number five on this top five list." I go, the golf course is a given, but the other things are really kind of what make the experience there.
Nate: It's nerve-wracking playing both of those 18 holes for when I was playing golf because there's people in the porch watching, they don't even know you, and it's it's like that tour experience.
Meredith: Yeah. You got a little pressure on you.
Nate: It's a little pressure, yeah.
Meredith: And you have a great staff. I mean, everybody's so friendly out there. When I got some clam chowder the last time I was out, the gentleman that served me was the coolest guy ever. He and I end up having this 20 minute conversation and he is a gospel singer, a well known gospel singer in our area. This guy's voice is insane. What a hidden gym. I mean, I was so honored to meet him, but it was really cool.
Bob: Yeah. We've had a lot of fun. Folks love to take pictures. You talk about like, "Hey, this is a selfie station." Yeah, that's a given. And the men and women who work out there, they're so amiable, they're just so happy to see everybody. It's a lot of fun for them and they share great stories. A lot of them have great knowledge about the property or the area in general. They're all retirees or some fashion, so they've had interesting lives and everyone really enjoys that. And it's really one of the things that kind of helps set us apart from other properties, really.
Meredith: It really does.
Nate: I particularly enjoy the food photos that you post because the food looks amazing.
Meredith: Oh my gosh. I want to try the eggs Benedict. Have you seen that one?
Nate: Are those your lunches?
Bob: Usually, yeah. Well it's obvious. Folks can't see, but I love to eat. So I don't miss a lot of meals. We've always been really proud of our food and beverage facilities and we've kind of doubled down the last few years to ramp up our menus and reach out more to the local audience.
Nate: You do get a lot of people just come in for lunch.
Bob: We did, yeah. Realizing that was an opportunity for us, and I'm happy to see that FGI and I saw the big announcement by Chris King and you guys, I saw the piece the other day that Paul Zito and you guys are ramping everything up with FGIs, and I think that's great, because golf courses needed to be more than just golf. We need to be hubs in the community. We need other sources of revenue. We recently got into the weddings and events business five years ago, which has been very successful for us as well. So I'll throw a pitch in to that as well, but we need to be all things to a lot of different people, golfers and non-golfers.
Meredith: Absolutely. And For us, when it comes to our new menus that we have at multiple courses now, some of that was birthed out of the success that we had during COVID-19 when people were taking advantage of the to-go dining. I mean, I had so many people reach out to me and say, "The food is really, really good," and now they're just running with that and creating even better food items on those menus. And so, hey, when something works, work it, right?
Nate: I think Bob hit it on the nose though. It's creating an experience. You have to create an experience and you guys do that. I mean, from the chowder and from all that, it's an experience. Should be.
Bob: Well, yeah. I mean we try, and you always want to at least be on the curve or try and be ahead of the curve. You never want to be behind the curve, so where we've always been willing to try new things at our properties and ... Finn Scooters and golf boards. And we were kind of started in with social media and when we can, and we kind of hack it around there, but we have a good time with it and we try not to take ourselves too seriously. And now we're just trying to keep up with FGI and all our other partners in the marketplace. But I think it's better for all of this. If we all look at our properties and we all look at the business that we're in, because we're not just Caledonian and True Blue, we're part of this amazing Myrtle Beach golf marketplace which spans almost 60 miles. And we're all partners, we're all together.
This is the golf capital of the world, and we want it to be an amazing experience for everyone that comes here. Whether you've been coming here for 25 years, or it's going to be your first time, Myrtle Beach golf is for all of this. So whatever's good for Caledonia and True Blue and whatever we can do to promote the marketplace or help others benefit that, that only benefits us, so we really believe in the spirit of cooperation. It's competition out there, don't get me wrong, but if golf in Myrtle Beach is strong, Caledonia and True Blue are going to be strong.
Nate: See, I've always believed that people will continue to come back if they have a good time and they're going to want to play different golf courses and they're not playing your golf course. You want them to still have a good time. I may be on their list next time. I think that's important. So like you say, I think we're all one as far as experience.
Bob: Yeah. Hey, we want to keep them coming back. We want repeat visitors like Disney World. Folks go to Disney World all the time, they have different experiences all the time. We want to be the Disney World of golf. Can I say that? The Disney World of golf? I probably can't say that, but I did.
Meredith: Well, I think it's great. I mean, you guys are staying on the leading edge. I want to talk a little bit about your innovative approach to different vehicles out on the golf course. And we're talking golf boards and now the Finn Cycles.
Bob: Okay. Well, all great ideas are shared, so we don't mind borrowing and great ideas. And so we were down at the PGA show, our team of professionals, Mark Guertin, Bart Romano at True Blue, and myself, and we were walking the floor like everybody does, and we saw the golf boards flying up and down the aisles there. We said, "Well, what's this all about?" And it's kind of like, "Hey, that looks pretty cool," and golf boards, they were the product of the year that year, whatever year that was. And said, "Hey, let's think about these. Let's look at something like this." One, no one else in Myrtle Beach has something like this. One, we think it's a cool idea. And so really the only hurdle that we had to overcome was understanding everyone looks at that goes, "Oh, that's got to be a major liability problem. It's a major liability problem."
Well, it turns out it wasn't a problem because our not to get to insurance, but Travelers has our general liability policy and the CEO of Travelers had actually played golf on golf boards. So the CEO of the company was familiar with the product and they rated the same liability as golf carts. It's like, boom, done. Let's get them in here and see what happens. And we had amazing success with them, not only from the rental standpoint, but you talk about a social media bonanza. I mean, videos of people out there having a good time.
And that kind of led us in to the Finn Scooter situation. We had a relationship with Sun Mountain, Finn's a subsidiary of Sun, whatever the case may be, but we sell their golf bags and everything else, and they made a pitch to our PGA professional Mark Guertin over there and says, "Hey, we got this great opportunity with Finn Scooters." It was a great incentive financially to do it. And there wasn't even a hesitation. "Hey, let me call the insurance company. You guys are good to go? Boom, send them in there." And again, Finn Scooters are a lot of fun. If you can ride a bike, you can ride a Finn.
Meredith: They're awesome.
Nate: So how many do you have now?
Bob: We have eight and we're actually bringing in eight more at True Blue next month. So we're going to be fully onboard with Finn Scooters at both golf courses by mid July.
Nate: Perfect timing with the single rider golf
Bob: Yeah. Actually, I feel like we missed that one a little bit. Felt like we should have been a little bit ahead of that. But matter of fact, I was leaving there today and going past the starting station, and there had to be a group of six, well, maybe as a group of eight, but six of the players were on Finn Scooters. And it's such a great photo. [crosstalk 00:31:31] Everyone's lined up.
Nate: I've been seeing your stuff. It's great.
Bob: Everyone's getting their Harley moment on, which is a riot.
Meredith: Yes, it's so cool. I love that.
Bob: And most of the folks that are riding those are really probably between the ages of 35 and 55. It's not 20 year olds. Not that they wouldn't rent those, but I mean, it's really, I think, men and women who probably may or may not have a motorcycle at home, but they just want to try something different. All you got to do is pick your feet up and go.
Meredith: It's so much fun. I mean, I love the golf boards and the scooters. I think I prefer the scooters instead. For me, they're a little bit easier to operate because you have to have a little bit of manpower on the boards and I don't weigh a ton, so I have to really force for me to move it back and forth. I mean, I can do it. It's still fun, but it's a little bit of a workout. The scooters don't feel like a workout to me.
Bob: You're right. And you just jogged my memory, because right after, when True Blue picked up the golf board I know because I've got a great picture of you on a golf board that ... Was it TPC?
Nate: The [inaudible 00:32:37].
Bob: Yes. Okay, that's what I thought. Yeah. And I actually like the golf board cause I one I need to work out and two so that works a little bit better for me, but they're both great. They're both a lot of fun and single rider conveyances, probably this will be the turning point moving forward where that market will really pick up and increase. And the great part about it, someone asked me in an interview the other day, as a matter of fact, it was on ESPN.com, if I can plug that, it was ESPN.com single rider vehicles, and they asked me about, what type of golfer, et cetera, is going to use these types of vehicles? And I said, "Believe it or not, it's really for a more serious golfer," and the guy says, "What you mean?" And I said, "Well look, it's not the throw a bunch of beers in the cart, cigars and want to be on her phone all day. You have to be engaged when you're in single rider conveyance."
So there's no coolers, you're out there, you got both hands on the handlebar and you're paying attention to what you're doing. And not that there's anything wrong with the other type of golfers who throw the beers in the backseat. I'm that type of golfer too on certain occasions. But anyway, point being is that when you're on one of those vehicles, you have to be engaged the whole time. I mean, it's you and your vehicle. You have to pay attention to what you're doing.
Nate: No selfies. No selfies [crosstalk 00:33:53].
Bob: Not a lot of selfies when you're moving, no.
Meredith: That's right.
Bob: But it's a great experience and it's a unique way to see the golf course. And forget about the pace of play. Forget about it. It's 30 to 45 minutes better if all four players are on single riders with no obviously obstruction in front of you.
Meredith: Yeah. I want to get down there. Maybe sometime in the next couple of weeks.
Bob: Anytime. Now is the time.
Meredith: Yeah. Yeah. That would be a lot of fun. I want to talk a little bit about some of the content that we've covered on your courses. You mentioned earlier, we are a golf community with so many courses working together to in many times cross-promote and we've really enjoyed covering True Blue and Caledonia on various pieces. We have two phenomenal writers, Chris and Ian, that have done some amazing content pieces on your courses. And for those listening, you can go to myrtlebeachgolftrips.com. You can go to mbn.com and some of those content pieces are The Top Five Holes on Your Must Make Birdie List, and also, Experts Debate Caledonia Versus True Blue. Love that one, because that is a common debate, and Down South Stunning: The Best Par 3s of the Waccamaw Golf Trail. These are really good content pieces. Anything that stands out to you about those pieces on your courses?
Bob: Well one, we appreciate Ian and Chris covering those. I can't think of any two folks who've got a better handle on the entire marketplace and are creating interesting content. No, fully in favor of all of that. We're in for all of that. How about more of that?
Nate: He had a hard time choosing the debate side. I'm trying to remember who took what side, but they had to debate which one and I think they had a bigger debate that way than they did [crosstalk 00:35:51].
Bob: Well I will absolutely say this because I'm nothing but honest and I'm not sure I recall the debate between True Blue and Caledonia. So thank you for the reminder. Yeah. I will look that up because I usually catch most of their stuff because I actually follow Ian on Twitter and I usually try and keep up with Chris's posts everywhere or contact pieces. Anyway, I'll have to check that out.
Meredith: Really good content pieces there. Okay. So I'm going to close on this question. So for our listeners right now, if you were to create, Bob, your ideal Myrtle Beach golf vacation, let's tell the listeners what you would do. Guys, listen to Bob. He's amazing, okay? Here it goes.
Nate: Give him four golf courses.
Meredith: Four? Okay.
Nate: Because we know which two.
Meredith: Yeah, we already know his two courses are going to be included. All right. So let's do four courses.
Bob: Give me five.
Meredith: Five? Fabulous five.
Bob: I'll tell you what I tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to throw a sideways plugin for the Waccamaw Golf Trail, which is on the Hammock Coast. That's what we would call South End Myrtle Beach courses, Georgetown County. So if I was going to put it in for your ultimate golf package, so to speak, when I'd go with the golf courses, I'd go with Caledonia, True Blue, Pawley's Plantation, Willbrook and probably the Tradition Club or the River Club. I might sub that out. Maybe I do Tradition Club or River Club on a replay. Something like that. I would consider staying at Litchfield by the Sea, there's a lot of different options there. Pawleys Plantation has some nice townhouses. Of course there's Inlet Sports Lodge, which is a small boutique hotel up in Myrtle's Inlet, which just happens to be owned by the same company that owns Caledonia and True Blue.
Nate: But that's awesome, because you're close to [crosstalk 00:00:37:43].
Bob: That puts you close to the Marsh Walk, so that puts you in walking distance. And then really Pawley's is such an excellent restaurant town from casual dining to upscale. There's so many different options there. So I would just say, Hey, check out the Waccamaw Golf Trail and all that golf can be booked through Ambassador Golf too, and they'll take care of all of that. But there are some great two round specials and everything else.
Nate: So how about restaurant? I thought you're going to get into restaurant.
Bob: Get into restaurants?
Nate: Just pick your favorite restaurant.
Bob: Oh, well my favorite restaurant, and this would be Bistro 217 down there. Now of course, Bistro is a little bit more on the high-end upscale. so I don't know if I'm going out there five nights on a golf trip, but there's some great casual dining places down there in Pawley's. And of course, a little Myrtle's Inlet in the Marsh Walk. So there's just a lot to do in Georgetown County.
Meredith: There is.
Bob: There really is.
Nate: There's too much to do for just a four day vacation.
Bob: We have fabulous beaches in Brooklyn Gardens and fishing and all that. But if we're strictly talking golf, you can't go wrong on just playing all the golf courses along Kings River Road and putting your package together that way.
Nate: And you do a lot of fishing.
Bob: Yeah, I do a lot of fishing. Oh my gosh, as I'm thinking about that, I forgot about the TPC, which is just an unbelievable opportunity. Of course, the home and Dustin Johnson and his golf school and everything else.
Nate: I thought you were going to tell us a fish story.
Bob: Man, all fish stores are lies. I only have fish stories about falling out of the boat and getting up. A mutual friend of ours had a hook buried up into his thumb. David Kingsley. Remember him? He's the superintendent [inaudible 00:39:17] yeah, he had a hook buried up there. So when him and I fish and it's just fishing follies, man.
Nate: I like your follies. They're funny.
Bob: We're just happy to make it back to shore a lot. That's for sure.
Meredith: Bob's Seganti, PGA general manager at Caledonia Golf and Fish Club and True Blue Golf Club. Bob, thank you so much for coming up here today and coming on the show. You and your team down there do a phenomenal job, not just with the course and customer service, but what you do for the community as well. So it's an honor to have you on the show today.
Bob: Meredith, it's been absolutely my pleasure and hope you and Nate and everybody else come down and play our golf courses real soon. We'd love to have you.
Meredith: Well, we're going to come down and do that.
Insightful and fun conversation with Bob Seganti PGA General Manager of Caledonia and True Blue. Bob gives an inside look into these two highly awarded and requested Mike Strantz designs.
Awards received by Caledonia and True Blue
Interesting insight into renowned course designer Mike Strantz
PGA General Manager Bob Seganti’s background in the Myrtle Beach Golf Industry
Golfer’s reaction to Golfboards and Finn Scooters
Featured Golf Courses
articles you may like
Golfers with an even passing familiarity with Myrtle Beach have likely heard of Caledonia Golf & Fish Club. The layout is...Read more