Grande Dunes Members Club: The Lap of Luxury on the Grand Strand

Grande Dunes Members Club: The Lap of Luxury on the Grand Strand

One of the criticisms people will level against the Myrtle Beach area as a golf destination is that, at many times of the year, the experience of playing golf feels like a trip through a machine rather than an escape from work, responsibility and normalcy. If you read reviews of places like the three-course Legends Resort, especially, words and phrases like “rushed” and “golf factory” will be thrown around liberally. At such places, the bag boys barely say hello to players, preferring to murmur and whisk golf bags to golf carts, sometimes without even telling those bags’ owners where they’ve disappeared to.

Grande Dunes Members Club is not one of those courses.

Designed by Craig Schreiner and Nick Price and opened in 2005, the Members Club (as it’s known colloquially) is a cure for the common Myrtle Beach golf course. This contrarian feeling stems from the fact that the club is, as the name would indicate, meant primarily for its membership who, as the large Mediterranean houses surrounding the property would indicate, pay pretty good money for the privilege of calling the club their own.

Luckily, though, the rest of us can get on and experience the feeling of how the other 1% live by booking through any number of packagers. The tariff for playing the Members Club is not insignificant, nor should it be, based on the quality of the experience.

The Members Club begins to deliver on its image before players even arrive on grass. The clubhouse, styled similarly to the outlying cottages and residences, is the Grand Strand’s largest at 27,000 square feet, with a spacious pro shop, huge dining rooms and luxurious locker rooms. The mansion-like edifice overlooks the greens of the 9th and 18th holes, which wrap around opposite sides of a lake, which is always a nice scene to set for the finish of a golf course.

The golf course itself is pleasant, if slightly underwhelming in places. It does have one of the Grand Strand’s last sets of bentgrass greens, which make it something of a novelty—you might want to avoid playing it in August as a result—and the course is in the consistently excellent shape one would expect from a (mostly) private course. The design of the course is good but not great. Of relief to middle- and high-handicap players, it is one of the easier courses in the area, with very wide fairways, relatively little water and shallow (though plentiful) bunkers. The par-71 course’s strongest suit is its set of par fives, highlighted by the reachable, uphill 5th, which plays 518 yards from the longest set of tees and only 458 yards from the middle set. It is reachable for most everyone, though five large bunkers dot the last 60 or so yards, requiring a well-hit approach. The green, like most at the Members Club, is relatively flat, meaning that any putt reasonably close to the hole becomes quite makeable.

The relative ease of the course, combined with the luxury of the amenities, makes for a very pleasant day at the Members Club. All these factors combine to make the course a good one to slot into a trip itinerary between two of the Myrtle Beach area’s tougher tracks.

Posted 7/26/13

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