This week’s debate pits a pair of Myrtle Beach golf heavyweights against each other. Grande Dunes Resort Club and TPC Myrtle Beach are two of the Grand Strand’s top 10 courses and both figure prominently in one of the area’s most popular deals, the Rewards package.The recommendation is that you play both, but if the schedule forces you to make a choice: Grande Dunes or TPC Myrtle Beach, which one is it going be? We asked our two local experts, Ian Guerin and Chris King, to make the difficult decision:
Ian Guerin: These debates are getting more and more difficult. I say that because these are two of my absolute favorites that South Carolina’s Grand Strand has to offer. I typically put them in my top five, and they are both stone-cold locks for my top 10. Yes, I realize I’m stalling a bit. But if push comes to shove, I’m going to lean toward Grande Dunes. The Resort Course is a stunning design, and I’m a sucker for the bluffs overlooking the waterway on a bunch of those holes.
CK: Both layouts are comfortably inside my top 10 as well. The waterway holes at Grande Dunes are spectacular, but I lean, ever-so-slightly, towards TPC. The course always lives up to the standards golfers associate with the TPC brand, and it has competitive history that I appreciate. If TPC Myrtle Beach is good enough to host the Senior PGA Tour Championship, a NCAA Regional, and serve as Dustin Johnson’s home course, it’s good enough for me.
IG: I can’t nitpick much of anything at TPC, and that takes into consideration the time I backed up to hit an approach shot on No. 18 and came about 3 feet from a gator. (I didn’t tell my wife about it for months thinking she was gonna put my clubs on Craig’s List.) Fazio’s design there is near perfect, and I love how it looks the same no matter how many times I’ve played it. That’s really saying something. However, Grande Dunes has a similarly impeccable design strategy. In addition to the bluffs, I’m a huge fan of the wider holes. They let you take in more of the course, obviously, but they are also forgiving on those days when you’re not at your best.
CK: Grande Dunes isn’t “easy,” but it is a little softer on mid to high handicappers because of the width of the fairways you mentioned. If you spray the ball off the tee at TPC, you will be trying to find your way out of the pine trees (trust me, I’ve been there), but that’s part of the charm. TPC is tough track. It’s where Dustin Johnson played and practiced during his formative years on tour, and I LOVE the closing holes. The 17th is a par 3 that reminds me of the penultimate hole at Sawgrass, and No. 18 is a dramatic par 5 with danger lurking on every swing.
IG: The steady flow of highlights at Grande Dunes is what keeps me coming back. The nifty par 3 No. 2 over water, the creative bunkering on the par-4 No. 6, the Intracoastal Waterway lining Nos. 9 and 10, the double-carry on No. 13, the beautiful No. 14 (one of my favorite holes at the beach) and the return to the clubhouse on No. 18 – it all does it for me.
CK: There is an argument to be made that the tee shot on No. 14 at Grande Dunes is Myrtle Beach’s most dramatic, but you aren’t swaying me. I’m still in camp TPC, and we haven’t even started talking about the practice area, which includes multiple bunkers and a sprawling range.
IG: I can’t argue with TPC’s facility, or the Dustin Johnson factor. At Grande Dunes, though, there is some personal nostalgia associated with playing that course early in the morning, a light fog drifting off the Waterway, just enough of the salt air coming off that direct line to the east from the Atlantic. This, to me, bumps Grande Dunes a notch.