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  4. Barefoot Resort Fazio

The Fazio Course is one of four spectacular layouts at Barefoot Resort & Golf. Opened in 2000 this Tom Fazio design provides a memorable golfing experience.

We had the good fortune to play the course on the one-year anniversary after the largest wildfire in South Carolina history destroyed more than 70 homes and threatened the Barefoot Resort courses. The fire did not touch the Fazio course and damages to other areas in the resort are now only a bad memory. I am happy to report that all Barefoot Resort & Golf courses are in premier shape.

To say that the setting and the clubhouse are anything less than spectacular may be an understatement. The lowcountry style provides a wide covered porch for dining or just relaxing. The Barefoot Clubhouse serves the Fazio, Norman and Love courses. Mahogany fixtures provide a rich feel. The pro shop was well stocked with apparel, clubs, gift items and most brands of balls.

Make certain that you allow plenty of time to hit some balls when you have a tee time at the Fazio, Love or Norman courses. The driving range is a short shuttle from the clubhouse and range balls are included in your green fee. The range is huge with a sports bar and Golf Dimensions retail store on-site.

The staff at the clubhouse and on course is very hospitable. Upon arriving and checking-in I asked Assistant PGA Professional Ryan Coon what’s unusual about the Fazio course? Conn responded with a wry little smile, “The bunkers are unique. There are 96 of them.” The bunker theme continued when our starter told us we were welcome to use 70 bunkers, but any more we’d have to pay a premium!

For the record the Fazio course is well bunkered, but not in an intimidating way. Many of the bunkers are placed for visual appeal and would only come into play with the most errant of shots. The remaining bunkers are strategically placed to catch wayward drives and misjudged approach shots. I only found bunkers on No. 1 and No. 18… and deserved both.

The A-1 Bentgrass greens were in outstanding condition. We played late in the afternoon and experienced good rolls. The greens had not been impacted by heavy play earlier in the day. It’s important to note that the greens on The Fazio Course were to my eye quite large. The point being that you can take many of the green side bunkers out of play by knowing you are working with a generous green. Of course if you’re a horrible putter, you might be better served by going for the pin at every opportunity.

Visually, this golf course is very appealing. Although there is a quite a bit of water, it really does not come into play that often. The Bermuda fairways have more undulation than you’d expect and much of it seemed natural. However, I believe Mr. Fazio moved quite a bit of dirt to give the course its appeal. One thing I’m always aware of is the condition of the tee boxes. I’m a proponent of the Nicklaus low and slow takeaway with the driver. Uneven or poor grass tee boxes irritate me. Frankly, the tee boxes at the Fazio were the best I’ve played this season. This golf course is one that as you finish each hole and walk off the green look back down the fairway. You’ll enjoy the view.

The course has five sets of tees and it’s recommended that you consider the one that is appropriate to your handicap. My grandson and I played the black tees at 6350 yards. The yardage is somewhat deceptive with three Par 3s on the front nine and the distance being 3153 yards on each nine.

No. 6 is one of the Par 3s that deserves mention. It’s a great golf hole at 167-yards downhill over a waste/water hazard. The tee shot requires some thought because you definitely want to reach the green, but certainly do not want to go beyond the hole. The green is dramatically slopped towards you and passing the hole would require a treacherous downhill putt. Lagging a putt and being very happy with par is a good strategy.

The Par 4 No. 9 is a nice way to finish the front nine. At 364-yards it’s manageable and very appealing to the eye. Bunkers on the right side protect a generous fairway and a well-placed drive presents an excellent opportunity to reach in regulation. A birdie or par is welcome after a challenging front nine. You will not make the turn at the clubhouse, so if you see the beverage cart on the previous hole(s) do take advantage.

No. 13 is a spectacular hole. It appears quite harmless at 361-yards, but this Par 4 is the No. 2 handicap hole. Your drive needs to find the center of a fairway that slopes left. The approach shot allows little fairway to be short of the green that is protected to the right by trees. What lies to the left is a sand barge almost completely surrounded by water. My grandson pulled his second shot left onto that sand barge. Of course being fourteen and fearless, he found a way to that island and blasted away. A chip and a putt scored the most interesting bogey I’ve ever witnessed.

The Par 4 No. 14 offers a great view and a good chance to score well. At 350-yards it requires a well-placed drive downhill to a fairway protected on the left side by marsh. The approach shot goes slightly uphill where birdie or par wait.

Every hole on the Fazio Course at Barefoot Resort & Golf has character and appeal. It is a wonderful golf course and one that is quite memorable. Simply stated it’s a course that’s difficult for me to stop writing about. It really is that nice. I’m adding it to my favorite’s list and believe you will, too.