Barefoot Resort & Golf in North Myrtle Beach has been named the 2016 North American Golf Resort of the Year by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).
The North Myrtle Beach facility is home to a quartet of courses designed by Greg Norman, Davis Love III, Tom Fazio and Pete Dye, and became the first American facility to open four courses simultaneously in 2000.
“We are honored to have won this award and it’s a testament to the entire team at Barefoot Resort, beginning with the ownership of the Puglia family and their dedication to making Barefoot a premier resort,” said Barefoot general manager Dave Genevro, who collected the award Thursday at an IAGTO conference in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, accompanied by Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday marketing director Jenna Hottel.
As the global trade organization for the golf tourism industry, IAGTO conducts annual awards to recognize the best performing golf resorts in three regions: North America, Europe, and the Rest of the World.
Over 500 IAGTO golf tour operators in 62 countries vote based on criteria including customer satisfaction, course quality, accommodations, accessibility to tee times, overall value, levels of service, and the professionalism the organization displays in the industry and with tour operators. There is no application process for the award.
Golf Holiday, a marketing cooperative, has been involved with the IAGTO for several years and Barefoot joined 3 1/2 years ago and has attended the past three North American conferences.
“We’ve gotten to know the tour operators and each year we’re doing a little more business with the international tour operators,” Genevro said. “I think a big part of that is from the years and years of Golf Holiday going and branding the destination and talking about the golf courses here.”
Barefoot succeeds Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge, a longtime host of a PGA Tour event, as the winner of the North American award.
“It’s a process where it’s slow growth, and I think getting in front of this many people and getting the name out will help,” Genevro said. “I think Barefoot will benefit but also Myrtle Beach will benefit from us getting this honor.”
It’s a process where it’s slow growth, and I think getting in front of this many people and getting the name out will help. I think Barefoot will benefit but also Myrtle Beach will benefit from us getting this honor.
Barefoot Resort general manager Dave Genevro
The Love, Fazio and Dye courses have all been ranked among America’s top 100 public layouts by Golf Digest and the Norman Course, with seven holes that play along the Intracoastal Waterway, is arguably the facility’s most attractive course.
Barefoot was the host site of the 22nd season of Golf Channel’s Big Break reality competition series in 2014 and has hosted the Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters Celebrity Pro-Am each April since 2003.
The award is another in string of honors for the Myrtle Beach golf market. In 2015, readers of Golf.com named Myrtle Beach best overall destination, best for buddies trips, and best for value, and USA Today readers voted Myrtle Beach as the game’s best destination in 2014 as well.