Grande Dunes Resort Club: A jewel on the Grand Strand

By Travel ArticlesApril 16, 2012, 4:00 am

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- Novice visitors to the Grand Strand have dozens of top-notch golf courses to choose from, so why not begin at the top? The Resort Club at Grande Dunes Resort is arguably one of the most high-end public facilities in Myrtle Beach, but it is also the highest geographically.

Until recently, I was certainly in the 'novice' category. There are many hot beds of golf in America, but none compare to the unofficial capitol of American golf: Myrtle Beach. Dotting the more than 60 miles of shoreline that is known as The Grand Strand are some 80-100 golf courses (depending on how you count and whom you ask).

Given the wealth of golf in and around Myrtle Beach, it's sort of embarrassing that I had never been there. To be honest, my uninformed impression of Myrtle Beach was that it consisted essentially of all-you-can-eat deep-fried seafood buffets and strip clubs -- and golf.

Now, though, after my first foray into Myrtle Beach -- with my family -- I must admit that my preconceptions were nearly entirely misconceived. The Grand Strand is not only a golfer's dreamscape, it is also a prime vacation destination suitable for the entire family.

In fact, the biggest challenge in planning a family golf trip to Myrtle Beach is deciding where to golf and what to do during your visit. That's where Grande Dunes comes in.

Grande Dunes' Resort Club: The course

With seven holes running along the top of a bluff overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway, Grande Dunes' Resort Club delivers the sort of inspiring views and impressive elevation changes that you would not expect from a 'Lowcountry' layout.

Since its opening in 2001, the 7,578-yard Roger Rulewich Group design has been accumulating awards and fans. In 2001, it was named a 'Top 10 You Can Play' course by Golf Magazine and was recenlty also recognized as the 'National Golf Course of the Year' by the National Golf Course Owners Association of America. Myrtle Beach locals, too, consistently vote Grande Dunes the 'Best of the Beach.'

One of the longest courses on the East Coast, the Resort Club plays even longer when you take into account that the ball doesn’t carry as far down at sea level and that the winds off the nearby ocean usually blow pretty steadily. Between these two factors, and the aforementioned elevation changes on some holes, club selection is a constant challenge.

The locals I played with told me at the start of the round that I'd have to hit at least one more club on every shot compared to the Midwest, but it took me a half-dozen holes to believe them.

Austin Hockey, first assistant professional at Grande Dunes, described the track as a 'second-shot course.' With wide fairways and generous sight-lines off the tees, the real test comes in hitting your approaches close. The more than 34 acres of fresh-water lakes that dot the course don't make this task any easier, however.

Consider, for example, the collected par 5s: all four are right around 500 yards from the blue tees (6,737 yards), but on all of them, both the tee shot and second/third shot will need to be placed precisely to avoid hazards. The par-5 seventh is a perfect example: Water pinches the fairway from both left and right at 270-280 yards out from the green and then again at 120-130 yards out from the green. The hole brings to mind that old saying about fitting a camel through the eye of a needle.

The true beauty of Grande Dunes isn't fully revealed, however, until the turn, where several of the holes run above the Intracoastal, and anything hit left is stone-cold dead. Success at the No. 1-handicap, par-5 13th lies almost completely in the second shot, which is over water and uphill to the green. It can be reached in two after a good drive (from the black, blue or white tees) if you don't get too excited and skull a fairway wood into the lake. (Sigh.)

The most memorable hole, though, is the par-3 14th. Here, your tee shot must traverse a gorge that plunges down to the Intracoastal, above which the green teeters like a dinner plate on the edge of a wobbly table. Between the vista, the wind and the enviable mansion on the hill behind the green, there are plenty of distractions.

Grande Dunes Resort Club: The verdict

Grande Dunes Resort Club is a big fish in a very big pond. The service, clubhouse facilities, and conditioning are impeccable, and the routing takes full advantage of the natural landscape. A few other courses in the area have a couple of holes overlooking the Intracoastal or with ocean views, but none offer the variety of shots and elevations.

The par 3s and 4s are generally long, whereas the par 5s are relatively shorter with hazard-defined target areas. The pros recommend that you keep an eye on the GPS in the cart, as there are a few blind hazards reachable off the tee or on second shots, depending on which tees you're playing.

Off-course fun in Myrtle Beach

Grande Dunes is located close to the middle of the Strand, a bit toward the northern end. Non-golfers will find great shopping and restaurants a few miles north at Barefoot Landing, along with the world-famous Alligator Adventure, where visitors get up close and personal (but not too up close) with some gigantic gators and crocs, including Utan, the biggest crocodile in captivity.

A bit south of Grande Dunes is the equally family-friendly Broadway at the Beach, the most-visited attraction in the entire state. Here you'll find shopping, food and entertainment ranging from zip-lining to stunt-boats, to the mind-bending WonderWorks, housed in its striking upside-down building. The moving 'underwater' walkway through the Ripley's Aquarium, also at Broadway at the Beach, will be a sure-fire favorite of the kids, too.

And don't even get me started on the miniature golf courses, which are even more numerous than the real ones (and are also really fun, especially with kids).

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”