MYRTLE BEACH — After a four-month hiatus, Grande Dunes is back in business.
Myrtle Beach’s Grande Dunes Resort Club golf course reopened on Sept. 15 after undergoing an extensive greens, bunker and clubhouse renovation project this summer, led by architect John Harvey, who worked with Roger Rulewich on the original design and construction of the golf course.
Grande Dunes, which features five holes that play along the Intracoastal Waterway, closed on May 16 before reopening in mid-September.
“I think it went fantastic. We got out of it exactly what we wanted to get out of it,” said Steve Mays, president of Founders Group International, Grande Dunes’ parent company. “We wanted to not only restore the golf course to what it was when it first opened, but also enhance it as well.”
The greens, already among the area’s largest, were renovated and restored to their original size, reclaiming nearly 40,000 square feet of putting surface that had been lost over time, an increase of 33 percent.
“Grand Dunes is definitely not an easy golf course, but that’ll make it easier to hit the greens because the greens will be bigger,” Mays said. “We also gained about eight acres of fairway…The architect did some new fairway lines and created some chipping area up around the green (which) kind of does two things…For the high handicapper, it gives them more options to hit easier shots. At the same time, for your really good golfers, the shot they’re trying to hit becomes a little bit tougher.”
Grande Dunes also installed new TifEagle ultradwarf Bermuda grass greens, a strain of grass that has performed well in Myrtle Beach’s subtropical climate.
Every bunker on the course was renovated and had a Capillary Concrete bunker liner installed, eliminating washout and drastically improving drainage. Premium bunker sand was also installed.
“Even when we get those hard, southern downpours that are famous in South Carolina, the bunkers will remain playable with good shape and be consistent throughout the year,” Mays said.
As part of the clubhouse effort, the pro shop grew by 400 feet, an indoor/outdoor bar was added, and the course’s outdoor seating area was expanded.
Mays said the clubhouse renovation might be his favorite part of the project.
“The clubhouse used to be a little dark and a little disjointed, and we didn’t have a great area for a bar,” Mays said. “We reimagined…the whole interior of our clubhouse, and now we have a great bar with three huge picture windows that look out right over the golf course.”
Founders Group International owns 21 Myrtle Beach golf courses, making it one of the largest management companies in the Southeast, and FGI has reinvested in its courses in recent years. FGI has also undertaken significant capital improvement projects at Pine Lakes, Aberdeen Country Club, River Hills, Tradition Club and the PineHills and Palmetto courses at Myrtlewood over the last four years.