With a track record of raising funds for children in need in the area, mid-level pricing in the market, and quality conditions that include bentgrass greens that have thrived for two decades, Man O’War Golf Club has been named the Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association’s 2017 Golf Course of the Year.
Dave Genevro, who has been the general manager at Barefoot Resort since the four-course facility opened in 2000, is the association’s Employee of the Year.
The course of the year honor is awarded in part based on the quality of the golf course, its contributions to the community and contributions to the game.
Man O’War, a 6,967-yard Dan Maples design that opened in 1996, is built around a large man-made lake and features several island greens, including on back-to-back holes.
Claude Pardue, president and CEO of DG Golf Management, which operates the three Mystical Golf courses Man O’War, Wizard and The Witch, said course owners hired Dr. Norm Hummel from the University of Massachusetts to design the soil/sand mix and individual drainage systems for each green to accommodate the Crenshaw bentgrass greens that remain today.
“Our biggest contribution to the game of golf is the way we built our greens there,” Pardue said. “Man O’War has perfect bentgrass greens and they’re 22 years old. We’ve got 18 perfect greens today and we don’t use fans, we don’t have to. I strongly believe USGA greens are a mistake. It’s the same standard for the entire country and that makes no sense to me at all. I think it doesn’t matter what kind of grass you put on the greens, it’s what the sub-soils are.”
Man O’ War was rated four stars by Golf Digest, Golf Advisor placed Man O’War in its “Top 15 Golf Courses in South Carolina,” and Golf Magazine ranked Man O’War’s 15th hole as one of the “Top Five Island Green Holes in America.”
Man O’War’s walk-in green fees range from $35-$110, and for a $59 annual membership fee locals can play any afternoon for $24 per round. “I think it’s important to create a nice experience and charge a person a price they can comfortably pay to play golf,” Pardue said.
Man O’War is heavily involved in the Pardue Children in Need Fund, which was started 15 years ago. For the past 15 years it has been a host with The Wizard of the Christmas Child Golf Tournament, which has raised more than $200,000 to date, and Mystical Golf also sponsors a fundraising concert at Alabama Theatre featuring national touring artists, often members of the Gatlin Brothers.
Pardue said the foundation’s mission statement is “Providing Joy to Children with No Joy in their Lives.” The fund assists children placed at Lighthouse Care Center in Conway, which houses children with mental disorders, including some who are victims of neglect and abuse.
The fund provides Christmas gifts including shoes from Foot Locker, and outings such as bowling and theater shows.
Man O’War head pro Randy Broughton created a golf club exchange in the pro shop where used clubs that have been donated or lost are sold for $5 each, and that has annually raised about $3000 for the foundation.
Pardue said the foundation has increased its reach to impact more than 175 children at seven additional care facilities across South Carolina and Georgia. It works with the at-risk children of Seacoast Academy, as Broughton and other Mystical Golf pros including Steve Frishmuth, Tim Sautter and Graham Williams provide a free weekly clinic with snacks on Mondays for academy children who are interested in the game.
“That’s very much a part of what my business does,” Pardue said.
Mystical golf also gives exposure to its courses and the Grand Strand market with its annual Mystical Golf Writer and Guest Tournament each October, and like most courses in the market, it hosts several charity tournaments each year and donates rounds to other charity events.
The MBAGCOA received a number of submissions for course of the year and Man O’War beat out Meadowlands for the honor.
Barefoot Resort pro and marketing director Rich Bartram said Genevro is willing to do just about any task on the property, and has displayed leadership, care for employees and forward thinking throughout his tenure.
“He sets the standard for our resort and is always the first one in and the last to leave. He has been the guiding force behind Barefoot Resort & Golf since our inception,” Bartram said. “It’s not every day you find a GM who will willingly fill up a spray tank and head out on the course at 5 in the morning to help eradicate weeds.”
Barefoot’s courses are designed by Davis Love III, Greg Norman, Tom Fazio and Pete Dye. Three of the four have been ranked among the top 100 public courses in the U.S. by Golf Magazine or Golf Digest, and all four have been ranked among the top 30 in the state by Golf Digest.
Under Genevro’s direction, Barefoot Resort was named the 2016 North American Golf Resort of the Year by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).
“I’m very excited and proud because I know the list of people who have won this in the past are a lot of people who have done a lot for Myrtle Beach golf,” Genevro said.
Barefoot has hosted many events and television shows that have brought exposure to the property and the market, including the Golf Channel series “Big Break: Myrtle Beach,” the Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters Celebrity Pro-Am for the past 15 years, and the championship round of the Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship for what will be four years in August.
Genevro has been on many local committees and boards for organizations including the MBAGCOA, Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday and North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Tiger’s Eye renovating
Tiger’s Eye Golf Links, one of the more decorated courses in Brunswick County, closed at the conclusion of business Sunday for the renovation of its greens.
The course’s original G2 bentgrass greens are being replaced with TifEagle ultradwarf Bermudagrass, and the 17-year-old 7,014-yard Tim Cate design is expected to reopen on or around Sept. 15.
“These are the original G2 bentgrass greens and they’ve served us well over the years, but it was time to make a change. They’ve been getting stressed in the summer,” said Ocean Ridge Plantation marketing director Bill Long.
Tiger’s Eye is one of the four courses known as “The Big Cats” at Ocean Ridge in Sunset Beach, N.C. It has been ranked among the top 10 public courses in North Carolina by Golf Magazine on several occasions, and in the top 15 among public courses in the state by Golfweek multiple times.
Tiger’s Eye will be the third Ocean Ridge course to transition to Bermuda from bent greens since 2010. Panther’s Run and Lion’s Paw, which are both older, have MiniVerde Bermuda, while Leopard’s Chase, which opened in 2007, still has its orginal L93 bentgrass. “Leopard’s Chase’s L93 bentgrass greens are holding up well thus far this summer so that’s encouraging,” Long said.
There are now fewer than 10 courses on the Grand Strand with bentgrass, a cool-weather grass that tends to become stressed in the summer heat. Long said installing another bentgrass “really wasn’t a strong consideration. We did talk about it, but there has been a move away from bentgrass greens along the Grand Strand.”
Long said several grasses were considered before TifEagle was settled upon. It is on several Strand courses including True Blue Golf Club, Farmstead Golf Links, Prestwick Country Club and Pawleys Plantation, as well as TPC Sawgrass and Harbour Town Golf Links, which host PGA Tour events.
Long said no other significant changes are planned over the next two months. “There will definitely be some rrefreshing of the entire golf course during the renovation, some work you don’t get to when the course is open to players,” Long said.
Best in state
A pair of Grand Strand courses have been named to Golf Digest’s Best in State rankings for 2017-18, which appear in the July issue of the magazine.
The Dunes Golf and Beach Club is No. 14 and Caledonia Golf & Fish Club is No. 22 on the list of the top 25 in South Carolina, both public and private. Both courses are included in Golf Digest’s “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses.”
The magazine’s top course in S.C. is The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, followed by Yeaman’s Hall Club in Charleston.
In North Carolina, Cape Fear Country Club in Leland, N.C., in Brunswick County is ranked 25th. Wade Hampton Golf Club in Cashiers holds the No. 1 spot.
The rankings are the 40th edition of Golf Digest’s state rankings, which first ran in 1977.
FGI promotes Cook
Founders Group International has continued its executive restructuring with the promotion of Casey Cook to director of retail for the company’s 22 area courses. Cook will manage golf shop inventories, create vendor programs and run promotions.
Cook was promoted from general manager and head golf professional at World Tour Golf Links, where he increased merchandise sales from $225,000 in 2015 to more than $400,000 in 2017. In his former position as head golf pro at TPC Myrtle Beach, Cook increased merchandise sales by 10 percent from 2010 to 2012 to $350,000, according to FGI.
The Class A PGA of America member moved to Myrtle Beach because of the golf industry after graduating from Wesley College in Dover, Del., cum laude with an Excellence in Math Award. He was also an all-conference player.
FGI recently named six total regional managers and superintendents for its courses on the north, central and south Strand.
Rucker gets show
Three-time Grammy Award-winning musician Darius Rucker, who annually hosts the Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters Celebrity Pro-Am at the Barefoot Resort Dye Club with his band mates, will host a new monthly show on SiriusXM satellite radio’s PGA Tour Radio station (Sirius 208, XM 92 and the SiriusXM app).
“On Par with Darius Rucker” will debut from 3-4 p.m. Wednesday. Rucker, a single-digit handicap and golf fan, will invite golf’s stars as well as other celebrities for conversations that will span the worlds of golf and entertainment.
Rucker plays nearly every day when he is touring and was a VIP guest of Team USA at the 2016 Ryder Cup. He is also involved with several other golf events including the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate women’s event in Hilton Head Island, the Darius and Friends concert and tournament that has raised more than $1 million for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, and the ACM Lifting Lives Golf Classic.
Rucker is is also a partner at MGC Sports, a sports agency that represents golfers and other athletes.
Low Country entries
Entries are still being accepted for the 10th annual Low Country Open two-player team best ball tournament at Long Bay Club on Aug. 5-6.
An entry fee of $450 per team includes two tournament rounds, lunch each day, range balls and entry into daily skins games. Call tournament director Al Hogan at 843-267-5850 to enter or for additional information.