Norman Course at Barefoot Resort, North Myrtle Beach: The Shark Has No Shoes

The Course
Again, the Norman Course is not bad at all. It is certainly unusual in its almost complete lack of long rough. The Shark is known for forgoing the hairy stuff at some of his courses—The Great White course at Doral Resort and the two acclaimed courses at Tiburon Resort in Florida are but three examples. That being the case, one of his Barefoot course’s main virtues it the ample opportunity for interesting recovery shots, augmented by a pleasing amount of fairway-length grass around the greens.

One of the holes that benefits the most from this philosophy is the par four 8th. At only 327 yards from the back Platinum tees and 297 yards from the more oft-used Black set, it is a drivable hole for longer hitters—a rarity in the Myrtle Beach area. In addition to sandy waste areas left and right of the fairway, seven pot-style bunkers seem to be randomly strewn about the last 80 or so yards of the fairway. This makes any aggressive tee shot a gamble and tends to disconcert and disorient the hungry player, adding a nice psychological as well as physical challenge to the hole.

The Experience
All four courses at Barefoot Resort have GPS systems in the golf carts, which gives instantaneous feedback related to one’s distance from the green and key hazards. And with three of those four courses operating from the same clubhouse, Norman conquerors have access to excellent practice facilities: a huge grass driving range, putting and chipping greens (with bunkers). And given the large maintenance budget driven by Barefoot Resort’s courses’ high greens fees, the Norman Course is always in excellent shape.

The Verdict
The Norman Course doesn’t have the artful sculpting and wild feel of the resort’s Love or Dye courses or the traditional look of the Fazio, but its more modern presentation serves as a nice complement to its admittedly more sophisticated siblings. Nevertheless, it makes an excellent addition to any golf vacation itinerary concentrated on Myrtle Beach’s northern reaches.

Posted 3/1/13

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