Barefoot Gives Golfers Little Taste Of Heaven
Tucked in neatly beside South Carolina's famous Intracoastal Waterway, Barefoot, having been open since April of 2000, is still in the infancy of existence. With four championship-style courses enveloping nearly 2400 acres of land, Barefoot has quickly evolved into one of the premier golfing facilities in the southeastern United States. And with legendary course architects Greg Norman, Davis Love III, Tom Fazio and Pete Dye each mapping courses at the resort, it is no small wonder.
As the Canadian Tour makes their first-ever jaunt south of the border, Barefoot Resort will play host to the initial four events of the 2001 season-the Myrtle Beach Open (Fazio), Barefoot Classic (Norman), South Carolina Challenge (Love) and Can-Am Days Championship (Dye). Players in last week's McDonald's Winter Qualifying School and Tour members trying Barefoot on for size for the first time this week are giving rave reviews on the condition of the courses, particularly the the greens which, on three of the designs, are made with A-1 bent grass.
' The turf here is something unique, and the putting surface is extraordinary,' says eight-year Canadian Tour veteran Todd Fanning of Winnipeg after playing the Fazio course. 'All I've heard from everyone at Q-school is that all the courses are top-notch. The PGA Tour could come here and not blink an eyelash.'
Having each one of the courses constructed in its own unique design, Barefoot offers a challenge to every golfer, regardless of experience or handicap. Odds are if you are chirping about your round on Love one day, you'll be singing an entirely different tune after playing Norman the next.
'We offer four world-class courses with four different designs that will challenge every golfer that visits us,' says Barefoot assistant club pro Dave Genevro, who adds that the Norman course, with its scenic back nine running along the Waterway, is usually the first choice for visitors. 'Usually, after they play Norman, they want to keep coming back until they play all four.'
With a 136 slope and 73.9 course rating from the back tees, Norman blueprinted his course (7035 yards, par-72) to be built upon the existing landscape as opposed to right into it. Six of the final nine holes border the waterway, and on the 203-yard, par-3 10th, from an elevated tee, proper club selection could mean the difference between a birdie putt and a trip into the drink.
The Love design (7047 yards, par 72), rated as the sixth-best upscale course in the U.S. by Golf Digest magazine, shows that Love is as committed to creating championship courses as he is to winning on them. To keep it simple, the greens are often compared to the legendary Pinehurst #2-only located in Myrtle Beach.
'Building a course with your family name on it is a great responsibility,' reasons Love. 'Building a course that will uphold the tradition of the game of golf is an even greater responsibility.'
Boasting a traditional layout with breathtaking scenery, Love has blended the serene surroundings with an intimidating layout that will have you pulling out virtually every club in your bag. By strategically placing bunkers to the left and right of the fairway, Love proves he can be generous in giving the player a comfortable landing strip. But at times, a bunker in the heart of the fairway will show his unforgiving side, while leaving a difficult, if not impossible, second stroke.
The Fazio course (6834 yards, par 71) offers the type of sloped terrain that has made his designs legendary, while Dye's layout(7343 yards, par 72)has been referred to as the Grand Strand's version of The Old Course at St. Andrews. As one scribe penned in a local golf magazine, when playing Dye, 'the objective here is not conquest, but survival.'
And a memorable round on a championship course isn't the only impression Barefoot wants to leave on visitors.
'We want to give service better than what people are used to getting,' adds Genevro. 'We want to make it more than just a golf experience-we want to create a memory.'
With a state-of-the-art clubhouse, featuring a 200-seat deck overlooking the Fazio 18th green, due for completion in June, the finishing touches at Barefoot are almost complete. In the not-too-distant future a marina, condo complex, hotel and wave pool are slated to be constructed on a neighbouring lot, which will more likely than not cement Barefoot's reputation as a little heaven on earth, links style.
Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain
PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.
She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.
“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.
Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.
“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”
She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.
“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”
Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.
“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.
She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.
“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”
Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.
While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.
“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”
Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead
PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.
In fact, she named her “Mona.”
For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.
While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.
And that has her excited about this year.
Well, that and having a healthy back again.
“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”
Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”
Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.
She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”
Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.
Clanton rides hole-out eagle to lead at Founders
PHOENIX - Cydney Clanton holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 13th and closed with a birdie Friday to take the second-round lead in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
Clanton shot a 5-under 67, playing the back nine at Desert Ridge in 5-under 31 to reach 9-under 135.
Clanton's wedge on the 13th flew into the cup on the first bounce. She also birdied the par-5 11th and 15th and the par-4 18th. The 28-year-old former Auburn player is winless on the LPGA.
Ariya Jutanugarn, Marina Alex, Karine Icher and Mariajo Uribe were a stroke back on a calmer day after wind made scoring more difficult Thursday.
Jessica Korda and Mo Martin were 7 under, and Michelle Wie topped the group at 6 under.
Ko's struggles continue with Founders MC
PHOENIX – Lydia Ko loves the Bank of Hope Founders Cup and its celebration of the game’s pioneers, and that made missing the cut Friday sting a little more.
With a 1-over-par 73 following Thursday’s 74, Ko missed the cut by four shots.
After tying for 10th at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in her last start, Ko looked to be turning a corner in her quest to find her best form again, but she heads to next week’s Kia Classic with more work to do.
“I just have to stay patient,” Ko said. “I just have to keep my head high.”
It was just the fifth missed cut in Ko’s 120 career LPGA starts, but her fourth in her last 26 starts.
Ko’s ball striking has been erratic this year, but her putting has been carrying her. She said her putting let her down Friday.
“It seemed like I couldn’t hole a single putt,” she said. “When I missed greens, I just wasn’t getting up and down. When I got a birdie opportunity, I wasn’t able to hole it.”
Ko came to Phoenix ranked 112th in driving distance, 121st in driving accuracy and 83rd in greens in regulation. She was sixth in putting average.
Cristie Kerr saw the struggle playing two rounds with Ko.
“Her game’s not in good shape,” Kerr said. “She seemed a little lost.”
Ko, 20, made those sweeping changes last year, starting 2017 with a new coach (Gary Gilchrist), a new caddie (Peter Godfrey) and new equipment (PXG). She made more changes at this year’s start, with another new coach (Ted Oh) and new caddie (Jonnie Scott).
Ko doesn’t have to look further than Michelle Wie to see how a player’s game can totally turn around.
“It always takes time to get used to things,” Ko said. “By the end of last year, I was playing solid. I’m hoping it won’t take as much time this year.”
Ko had Oh fly to Asia to work with her in her two starts before the Founders Cup, with their work showing up in her play at the HSBC in Singapore. She said she would be talking to Oh again before heading to the Kia Classic next week and then the ANA Inspiration. She has won both of those events and will be looking to pull some good vibes from that.
“This is my favorite stretch of events,” she said. “And I love the Founders Cup, how it celebrates all the generations that have walked through women’s golf. And I love the West Coast swing. Hopefully, I’ll make more putts next week.”
Ko, whose run of 85 consecutive weeks at Rolex world No. 1 ended last summer, slipped to No. 12 this week.