Part 2: Bob Seganti, Director of Golf Operations at Caledonia
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On Dec. 8, 2018, the Golf Shop Radio Show aired its interview with Bob Seganti of Caledonia Golf & Fish Club in Pawleys Island, S.C., one of 12 award-winning courses that are part of the Hammock Coast Golf Trail.
Listen to Part 2 Now:
Mark: Joining us now, we’re gonna talk a little Caledonia Golf and Fish Club this morning, on the Waccamaw Trail down in Myrtle Beach. Bob Seganti joins us. Bob, welcome to the Golf Shop.
Bob: Hey Mark, hey Matt. Good morning.
Mark: So, I joked with Matt, I said because it’s the Caledonia Golf and Fish Club, we’re gonna talk fishing this morning, right?
Bob: Perfect, we love it. We were just out yesterday, so it all works.
Matt: What were you catching?
Bob: Well, we were doing more fishing than catching yesterday. But typically around the salt brackish water marshes at Caledonia and the Lowcountry and the Hammock Coast Golf Trail, you’ve got a mix of, you know, fresh water bass, red fish, flounder, so it’s a little mix of everything.
Mark: Interesting. So, how did this end up being called the Golf and Fish Club?
Bob: Well, there’s a long history here, but I’ll try and be brief. The current ownership of the grounds has owned the property since 1971 and these particular gentlemen and their families, they used the property to hunt and fish and no one in the group was really a golfer, but they’ve owned a lot of different local businesses in the area. They had come across Mike Strantz who was doing some work over at the Heritage Club, and some other course owner suggested that golf was a good business and in the early 1990s, golf was an outstanding business, so the property was developed and opened in 1994.
Mark: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Alright, so if people haven’t played Caledonia, give us a feel for what they’re in for when they step up the first tee of this golf course.
Bob: Well, Caledonia is well regarded and perennially ranked in all the major golf publications. We like to describe it as kind of a classic golf course with a modern feel. Mike Strantz did some amazing work with a route that fit seamlessly into the property. There was great rhythm to the golf course. He did some amazing work with some fairway bunkering and some elevated greens. The natural beauty of the property is really what sets it apart. Throughout the property is live oak, a lot of native flora and fauna and we have actually a healthy landscaping budget to accentuate all the flowers and the landscaped areas throughout the golf course. So it’s not only a challenging golf course at a par 70, it’s also just a beautiful ride or walk as you play golf.
Matt: As you mentioned, you’re highly acclaimed. Some of the things for our listeners: Golf Magazine – Top 100 Course You Can Play; Golfweek – Top 100 Resort Courses for 2016 and ’17. I’m sure that’s going to be the case in ’18. South Carolina Golf Course Rating Panel – Top 50 Courses in South Carolina, and Golf Channel’s Matt Ginella, who we had on here a couple weeks ago, it’s one of his top 50 courses you can play. That’s just a few, and I know there are many more awards that you guys have received down there. It’s that and your sister course, True Blue, that are just highly, highly acclaimed.
Bob: Well, thank you for mentioning that. We’re extremely proud of that and we’re humbled by those awards, and really, all credit goes to the original course designs of Mike Strantz. The ownership group is not afraid to put money in the golf course and make sure we’re constantly tweaking and updating new tees or recreating things. We really haven’t changed any of the guts of the original designs, if you will. Constantly golf courses are always in flux and we make sure that we try and stay on top of that.
The other part of that, too, is really the Hammock Coast Golf Trail and the Waccamaw Neck Area, which is, of course, part of the greater Myrtle Beach area, takes great pride in the golf courses down here. There are 12 golf courses on the Hammock Coast Golf Trail and they’re all excellent and well-regarded, and we want to stay on top of our friends and our competitors in the area. So there’s a healthy competition to keep all the golf courses on the Hammock Coast Golf Trail in excellent condition.
Mark: Yeah, and just from looking at the pictures, I’ve never played the course, this just looks like it’s kind of one of those courses that’s carved out throughout all the oak trees and maybe a little more tree line than many golf courses down in the Myrtle Beach area. Is that what kind of lends itself to make this almost like an old-school feel even though this thing (wasn’t around before) 1994?
Bob: Yeah. That’s a great description. You kind of nailed it there. We’ve been searching for 25 years to what’s the perfect sentence, perfect phrase, perfect seven- or eight-word (description), but you really nailed it there and that is the case. It is tree-lined, it’s not narrow, but you can’t hit it side to side, and again, there was very little dirt moved here by Mike Strantz. Now on the flip side, across the street, and it’s literally across the street at True Blue, Mike moved a tremendous amount of dirt to reshape the golf course over there, and that’s a completely different feel. That golf course is on about 330 acres, wide fairways, huge greens and (has) a lake-style feel, where getting back across the street to Caledonia, it’s only on about 100 acres total. So it’s fit very nicely. Holes don’t run concurrently side-by-side, but it’s just a great natural fit through the property. Again, all the trees, the entire golf course is framed by live oaks on every hole. So that is really the signature of the golf course, the live oaks, including the entrance road coming in which is about a half-mile entrance road of live oaks, canopies all the way from the entrance from the road all the way to the clubhouse. It’s a pretty amazing drive in, often compared to Augusta National and Magnolia Lane.
Mark: Yeah. I could definitely see that. So talk a little bit about availability and rates. Obviously if you want to go out there you can go to Waccamawgolftrail.com. I see that I can still get a tee time for today.
Bob: You absolutely can get a tee time. December is not our peak season, but generally we have good weather here in December. Yeah, as far as tee times go, you can go to Waccamawgolftrail.com. You can go to any course or site. Of course, the rates in the Myrtle Beach area are seasonal. Our golf rates, for instance, at this time of year at Caledonia range anywhere from $79 all the way up to peak April season where it can get as high as $249. So rates are always seasonal here in the Myrtle Beach area. Generally, winter and summer are the lower rate periods, spring and fall are peak, that’s for demand and rate. You can book a time online. It’s the easiest way to go. Of course we always welcome a call in the pro shops.
Matt: And you guys, those two golf courses that you’re talking about, True Blue and Caledonia, are two of the most played golf courses down there. It just shows you that no matter what something costs, if it’s good enough, they’re going to pay the rate.
Bob: Well, that’s true, and again, there’s always opportunity. Again, we have a twilight rate in the summertime at True Blue, that’s $49 dollars for adults. We have junior rates at around $20 bucks. We have a membership program where you can get a membership to the golf course as a single for an annual fee of $1,895 a year, and you pay $25 every time you play. So there’s good value everywhere. It’s again, the seasonality of that and depending on your circumstance, whether you can take a membership or you’re just visiting. We always recommend a golf package where you bundle your accommodations and golf for a chance to get an even better value. So there’s opportunity to play great golf courses at an affordable price.
Matt: I’m curious, Bob. How many of the … I’m sure it’s locals who pay the $1,895, but are there a lot of people that take advantage of that?
Bob: We have about 250 members.
Matt: That’s impressive, yeah.
Bob: Yeah, and some of those … It’s not restricted to local membership. We have folks from out of state who visit the area. Myrtle Beach is a very popular vacation and annual or snowbird destination, retirement destination, so there’s a nice mix in membership opportunities in the area including some excellent private clubs as well. So we just sort of fit in the middle of all that as a resort and the daily-fee course.
Mark: Well, Bob, remind everybody again where they can go out and get information, maybe book packages or just get on the one golf course?
Bob: Well, go to Waccamawgolftrail.com or you can just look up Caledonia, look up True Blue or any other golf courses in the area and all the websites will interlink and you can find out all you need to know about golf and the Hammock Coast Golf Trail in the Myrtle Beach area.
Mark: Alright. Well, Bob, we appreciate you coming on with us. Have a good weekend, and we’ll catch up with you soon.
Bob: Thanks guys. You do the same.
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