The Golf Shop Radio Show: True Blue

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In February 2019, the Golf Shop Radio Show aired its interview with Bob Seganti of True Blue, one of 12 award-winning courses that are part of the Waccamaw Golf Trail. Below is a transcript of that interview.

Mark: Joining us now, he is the director of golf operations for True Blue on the Waccamaw Golf Trail, Bob Seganti joins us. Bob, welcome back into the Golf Shop.

Matt: Welcome back, Bob.

Bob Seganti: Thanks, guys. Good morning, Mark and Matt.

Mark: Aww, you’re going to have a little bit warmer weather going on, aren’t you?

Bob Seganti: Oh, we’ve got actually fantastic weather here. We’ve had it since Friday. It’s been just sunshine. Today we’re going to hit 60-some degrees. We’ve got a big Game Day Golf event here at True Blue, so we’re excited about that. The kickoff for that starts in about an hour. The weather for the rest of the week looks fantastic. Of course, all of our sympathies go out to our friends across the country who have had to go through those frigid conditions, but the grass is always greener on the other side, and in this case it actually is. So, all is good in Pawleys Island.

Mark: Alright. So, tell us a little bit about True Blue. If our listeners haven’t played it yet, what kind of golf course? What kind of setup are we going to have? Do we have tree-line fairways? Do we have a lot of bunkers? Do we have a lot of water or is it a little bit of everything?

Bob Seganti: What you can expect at True Blue, is you can expect a links-style golf course that is not hard by the sea. Mike Strantz designed the golf course with just huge fairways, huge waste areas, very large rolling undulating greens. It’s actually not a tree-line golf course. There are certainly some pine and some live oak off to the fringes, but it’s really a link-style golf course here in the Myrtle Beach area, which is kind of unusual. There are actually some really nice elevation changes here, which is also a little unusual in the Lowcountry. So, really just a fantastic design, incredibly interesting. Mike Strantz was an artist before he was a golf course architect, so he used a broad landscape here on True Blue on 18 holes on over 300 acres.

Mark: Wow. Yeah, and one of the things too, you guys can set the golf course up anywhere from around 5,000 yards in your front set of tees all the way up to a little over 7,100 yards from your back tees. How do you guys generally set up this golf course? Where do you generally put the markers out? Where do most people play from?

Bob Seganti: Well, we’re a public resort golf course. We actually get … we have college events, Division I events. We’ve got a lot of junior play in the summertime. We actually added another set of junior tees in the summertime in some of our holes. We really want to be a golf course for everybody.  Quite frankly, we should all play one tee forward, and we’ve really pushed that initiative with our guests. We don’t insist that they do that, but we suggest they do that. So, we’ve got all types of players marking out. I mean, we get our pros and local jocks come out, and they’ll play it all the way back and have a great time. Then, we can have a high handicapper, senior player, play all the way up to the forward tees and they can get out and enjoy a round of golf as well. So, we really set it up for everybody. We keep our markers around those yardages. We’ve got GPS to help everyone throughout the golf course, but golf is about having a great experience and having a good time. Now, if you want to have a miserable time and you’re a 20 handicapper and you want to go to the back tee, you’re more than welcome to do that as long as you keep up with the course pace of play.

Matt: Right. Bob, talking about the Play It Forward initiative, it baffles me how that was not done years and years ago, because of a … I mean, it’s so simple to think of. If a touring pro is hitting an 8 iron into a green, then you should play the tees where you are hitting an 8 iron into the green. I do not understand why that took so long to get that in place, and it speeds up play tremendously.

Bob Seganti: Yeah, it’s not only that. Sure, the pace of play is important to the operator, sometimes not as much to the guest.

Matt: Sure.

Bob Seganti: But really it’s enjoyment of the game. I mean, it is a game at the end of the day, and sometimes smart people can’t think of simple things. You know, that stigma of, ladies tees or senior tees, we don’t use that language at our golf course. I mean, they’re forward tees. The hitters hit yardage from the forward tees. As a matter of fact, if you guys are looking at our scorecard, we’ve completely changed all of the colors of our tees. So, what you would traditionally think of as a senior tee is gold, it’s actually our championship tees. So, we really want our customers to focus on the distance of the golf course and where they should be playing from, not “Hey, I’m used to going here, because that’s the color tee I go to.”

Mark: You know what, maybe some people just don’t want to be home for six hours.

Bob Seganti: Well, we do have a vibrant bar and grill.

Mark: There you go.

Bob Seganti: There are some other things to do at True Blue besides play golf. So, I understand that. I used play 8-hour rounds of golf too that only took four hours on the golf course. So, I get that.

Matt: Exactly. Bob, that’s exactly why I have plaintiff number one and plaintiff number two in my life.

Mark: Alright, so Bob, what’s your favorite hole on True Blue? Then, what’s the one shot during the round that you just are always kind of have in the back of your mind that, “Man, I’m going to have to hit this shot at some point?”

Bob Seganti: Well, my favorite hole is the 13th hole, and it’s not one you would traditionally think of. It’s … I hate to say it’s a semi-blind tee shot, but it’s a tremendously wide fairway. But the fairway is buffered by moundings to the left and the right, and the green sits up in the hillside that’s just framed by native flowers and grasses, and it’s just beautiful most times of the year. To me, it really reflects the artistry of Mike Strantz.

The most nerve-wracking shot at True Blue is similar to the one in Caledonia, the second shot into 18. Depending on wind conditions and where you play, you can be hitting anything from a 4 iron in there to a pitching wedge, but it’s a right-to-left green that slopes away from you completely guarded by water in the front. Of course, the clubhouse sits there with an expansive porch and at most times of the year there’s more than several people probably wagering on whether or not you’re going to successfully pull off that golf shot. So, even for a club professional and for better players, it will still make you back off and think about it. You want to be successful and you want to hear the cheers, not the jeers.

Mark: So, when we talk about the bunkering here, it looks like there’s some pretty expansive bunkering. Is this all considered hazard or is any of it really waste area?

Bob Seganti: And I’m glad you asked that, because this is really super important. A couple of years after the golf course opened … the golf course opened in ’98 and in 2001 I came over as the head professional there, and I consulted a good player and finally changed it. We all agreed to make one with the superintendent. All the sand areas are played as through the green at True Blue. They’re not played as hazards. Back in 2001 embedded ball. You could pick up and move loose impediments, because the way our areas are so expansive and quite frankly it’s almost impossible to maintain 60 acres of sand area to 100 percent. So, we wanted to make it user-friendly, and through the golf course the carts do go through the waste areas. So, we wanted it to be as fair as possible to anyone playing the golf course. So, the local rule is all sand areas are played as through the green or now through the course, excuse me, with the new 2019 rules.

Mark: Yeah, so how hard is it to take care of those areas sometimes? I mean, do you guys drag them to kind of keep them up every so often? How do you take care of those areas?

Bob Seganti: Well, it’s really … it speaks to the ownership as well to pay the money and to have the budget. We really have, quite frankly, we have a crew of retirees in the summertime, high school and college age kid that’s basically his full-time job. We always have at least two to four people every day that’s workable raking bunkers somewhere at True Blue. So, we drag. We drain shot bunkers. We do hand rake. So, it’s an enormous amount. It’s a time commitment and a labor commitment, but it has to be done, and we’re more than happy to do that.

Mark: Yeah, I remember back in the day I did some golf course maintenance as well. The first thing that the superintendent had me do walking in there was … He said, “We need all of the edges of the ponds and the water hazards and all of the bunkers, we need them fly mode.” I said, “Okay.” He kind of took me out and he showed me how to do it. I think after two and a half days, I came back in, and I said, “I’m done.” He’s like, “Huh?” He said, “You did this?” “Yeah.”  “You did this one?”  “Yeah.”  “You did them all?”  “Yes.” “Two and a half days?”  “Yes.”  “How the heck did you do it so fast?” I said, “Because it stinks. Who wants to spend more time doing that?”

Bob Seganti: Yeah, that’s the job they always give to the newbies nowadays. That’s for sure. If you can hack that and stay with it, then you’re going to be a valuable asset.

Matt: My back could not put up with that.

Mark: Well, I was a college kid, but you know. It was kind of funny. He was like, “Yeah. The last kid we had came in here. He did it for a day and at lunchtime the next day he went for lunch and he never came back.” So, they were excited that I did everything.

Bob Seganti: Yeah. Well, we would have been excited too. We probably would have given you a raise on the spot.

Mark: Well, the good news is by the end of the summer I was cutting the flag sticks, although the membership didn’t exactly appreciate where I put pins all the time.

Bob Seganti: Well, yeah. Members, you can’t please members all the time. All we can do is try.

Mark: So, talk to me a little bit about the rates going on down at True Blue and tee sheet availability going on this time of year.

Bob Seganti: Sure. Well, our rates are seasonal, and they change. Actually, they can change daily depending on demand, but our rates are anywhere from adults a summer twilight at $49. Into April that rate gets up to $179. All rates include cart, tax, range balls, and GPS. You can find us on any golf package in the Myrtle Beach area. We actually have our own golf package company, Caledonia Golf Vacations. We do two-round specials partnering with True Blue and Caledonia if you’re just booking on your own, but you can also book a multi-round package. All that information can be found online at truebluegolf.com.

Mark: Alright, well, Bob, man, we always appreciate you coming on with us. Have a great weekend, and we will catch up with you again soon.

Bob Seganti: Thank, guys. Take care.

Matt: Thank you, Bob.

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