Davis Love is known primarily for his strong professional career, highlighted by his PGA Championship triumph in 1997 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, NY. But in the last decade and a half, Love has built a solid stable of golf courses designed from scratch, renovated or restored by him and his firm, Love Golf Design. More than most currently active golf course architecture firms, Love’s group strives to maintain a clear sense of classic golf design on its projects, while still mixing in some modern touches. Brunswick Country Club in Georgia conscripted Love’s team to rebuild its greens to legendary architect Donald Ross’ original specifications in 2006 and 2007, and the results were marvelous.
According to Love’s design website, “Modern courses should be designed in the traditional manner, with emphasis on strategy and playability, and where creativity is reflected in the subtleties of design detail.” He followed this creed splendidly at his course at Barefoot Resort in Myrtle Beach, which boasts generous fairways, many of which afford higher-handicap players the opportunity to run their approach shots up to the putting surfaces, whereas many other area courses’ greens only accept aerial shots. An excellent example of this is at the long par three 9th hole, where the large green is surrounded by a large expanse of fairway-height grass. Lesser architects would have loaded up one or both sides of the green with bunkers, but Love and his team relegated the sand to a peripheral role and instead fashioned some interesting contours to challenge players on a hole where many will approach the green with a fairway wood.
Another excellent example of the doctrine of playability at work comes at the par five 13th hole. For a three-shotter, it is relatively short at only 484 yards from the tips, but it is designed in such a way as to offer a number of options for all level of player. A meandering stream wanders up the middle of the hole, bisecting the fairway. Playing up the right means a shorter overall route to the hole but takes driver out of longer hitters’ hands and means that the second shot will have to cross the hazard, while playing over the hazard off the tee—almost definitely with a driver—can provide a better angle for players looking to reach in two. Two fairway bunkers pinch in the second-shot landing area, necessitating careful planning by anyone looking to lay up. All in all, it is an excellent “par-four-and-a-half” where birdies are attainable with shrewd play.
After a round at the Love Course, Barefoot Resort’s other three courses are plenty enticing, as is the cozy, well-appointed clubhouse, complete with locker room, bar, grille and a fully-stocked pro shop.
For more information and to book golf at the Love Course or dozens of other golf courses in the Myrtle Beach area, visit myrtlebeachgolf.com.