Harvey renovation helps Grande Dunes withstand Hurricane Ian

  • Grande Dunes
    Kevin Pryzblski

    John Harvey has renovated bunkers at Grande Dunes in South Carolina

  • Grande Dunes
    Grande Dunes

    The architect also restored greens to their original sizes

Alice Chambers
By Alice Chambers

Grande Dunes Resort Club in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, was able to rapidly reopen its course shortly after Hurricane Ian thanks to bunker infrastructure improvements introduced during a renovation by golf course architect John Harvey.

“We had five inches of rain from Ian,” said course superintendent Kevin Pryzblski. “We opened up at eleven the next morning; we had very little sand movement, except in a couple of areas where the faces were very steep.”

During the renovation, bunkers were restored to their original shapes and new Capillary Concrete liners were installed to improve their condition and playability, especially following severe weather events.

“The bunkers were rather lacy-edged when they were built, but had changed into more circular shapes as a result of two decades of edging,” said Pryzblski. “They are quite steep-faced, with high lips, and they tended to get a lot of contamination from native soil after major rain events. Our site is quite sandy, but even so, getting them back into playable condition after weather took a lot of time and manpower.”

Harvey also restored greens to their original dimensions, reclaiming nearly 40,000 square feet of putting surface, and they were regrassed with TifEagle ultradwarf bermuda.

Fairways have also been expanded, by a total of eight acres, with the aim of improving playability.

Harvey, who worked with Roger Rulewich on the original design and construction of the course in 2001, and Pennsylvania-based contractor Henderson & Company completed the renovation project in four months.

“Grande Dunes will again play as it was originally intended, challenging golfers with bold greens complexes and the strategic decisions that make the game so enjoyable,” said Steve Mays, president of Founders Group International, which owns and runs 21 courses in the Myrtle Beach area. The firm has undertaken renovation projects at Pine Lakes, Aberdeen Country Club, River Hills, Tradition Club, and the PineHills and Palmetto courses over the last four years.