The Grandover Resort and Spa features 36 holes of golf, all designed by Gary Panks and David Graham (both a U.S. Open and PGA Championship winner). The East course at the resort is both the more celebrated and more muscular (7,250 yards) route.
The course defends par with yardage and rolling terrain more so than penalty areas, but water still plays both a heroic and strategic role on the front nine. At No. 6, a creek runs about 75 yards out from the par five’s green. Although going for the green in two will be unlikely for all but the strongest players, choosing whether to lay up short of the creek or try to make the crossing should weigh on the golfer’s mind after a good drive. The next hole takes the opposite tack: At 190 yards from the back tees, this fairly long par three will require carrying the creek running in front of the green, which is built above the water by railroad ties.
The back nine concludes with a stiff trio of holes, representing each strokeplay par category. This trio measures 230, 440 and 570, respectively, with a pond defending the final approach of the round.
The resort added a second 18, the West course, a year after the East.
Grandover East course is pretty much what one would expect of resort golf. The first hole is welcoming par four with a generous fairway and greenside bunker left. The 2nd is a reachable par five, however there is a water hazard right and a creek left. Favor the left center off the tee, there is a greenside bunker left and this is one of the more undulating greens. The 3rd is a mid-range par three albeit slightly downhill. The 4th is the first demanding hole, leans left with a long carry off the tee. Take an extra club on this uphill approach. The long left tilting 5th is the number one handicap hole. Keep your drive right of center to avoid the annoying creek left. The creek will cut across the fairway further up. This is another uphill approach with a water hazard right. I would suggest playing the par 5 6th as a 3 shotter. I am sure that some of you stallions can get home, but…Off the tee stay left of center. Anything right will end up rolling down the steep bank. There is a creek bisecting the fairway about 100 yards out. Should be an easy decision if you are going for it. If not, don’t muck around trying to carry it. The 7th is another mid-range downhill par 3. Bunker left and that pesky creek runs in front of the green. The 8th is a fun short par 4. Waste bunker left and a deep fairway bunker about 90 yards out on the right side of the fairway. There is a greenside bunker left. Not a bad hole to layup on, I would only suggest hitting driver if you are confidant you can clear the fairway bunker. Favor the right side off the tee on the 9th to avoid the fairway bunkers left. The water hazard is about 120 yards out and this is another uphill approach.
The back starts like the front, a welcoming par 4 with an expansive fairway. Too far left and you nay be blocked out by a large oak tree and there is a fairway bunker right as well. The green pitches left and there are two greenside bunkers left. The 11th is a long par four with fairway bunkers right. This green is surrounded by bunkers. The 12th is the shortest hole and a fun par three. The three-tiered green is protected with the %$#@ creek in front and a pot bunker. The 13th is a par five that bends left. Play this a three shotter. The fairway contours towards the right fairway bunker. The 2nd shot is the money shot on this hole as that creek crosses the fairway at about 150 yards out. Over the creek will leave you with around a 100 yard approach. The 14th is an uphill par 4. Fairway bunker right and another large fairway/greenside bunker left. The 15th is a long par four that leans right with a large fairway bunker on the inside elbow. Favor left center off the tee. The last par 3 is long and guess what? Yup, downhill. The 17th leans left and is uphill. Favor the right side off the tee. Instead of my nemesis, the creek, there is a nasty little pot bunker in front. The par 5 18th is a good finishing hole. Play it as a 3 shotter. Favor left of center off the tee to ensure you avoid the gaggle of pot bunkers right. The green is perched behind a water hazard down the left side. Pick your favorite attack yardage and execute accordingly.
Outside of the Sandhills region, Greensboro arguably boasts more breadth and depth of golf architecture than any other city in the Old North State. This variety is especially true among courses that are publicly accessible. One can find minimalist designs dating back to the Golden Age (Perry Maxwell’s Gillespie Park comes to mind), bold and brash modern layouts (Pete Dye’s Cardinal and Oak Hollow are two personal favorites), and virtually every style of golf in between.
For those players seeking memorable, resort-style risk/reward golf presented under immaculate conditions, look no further than the options at The Grandover. Maximizing its setting, The Grandover East Course incorporates numerous natural and manmade hazards throughout the round and features a balanced mix of holes that turn in all directions, routed both up and downhill. The course is a consummate test of the player’s abilities, and it is no surprise that it hosts a number of college and amateur events.
Some of the more prominent architectural themes at The Grandover’s East Course include:
• Blind shots requiring precision, commanding trust in your own distance control (eight holes)
• Canted landing zones that funnel the ball away from the ideal angle into the green (ten holes)
• Forced carries over ponds or creeks to fairways and/or putting surfaces (ten holes)
Countless playing corridors at The Grandover East Course are daunting. Finding the fairway on any one of the par fives is equally terrifying whether attacking the hole conservatively or aggressively. Crowned, sloped fairways that feed balls toward creeks are ever present. Even with the run-up option available into many putting surfaces, the knobs and hollows to and through each green complex leave the player unnerved.
With so many bold challenges presented throughout the round, it is ironic that perhaps the most architecturally compelling hole is also the shortest. Playing to a mere 125 yards from the back tees, the 12th hole on the scorecard may appear to provide the player some relief. That golfer is in for a rude awakening. Misplacing your tee shot on any of the left-to-right tiers will lead to a three putt at minimum, if not worse. With a creek running directly in front of this shallow putting surface, it is hard to imagine a more unsettling short wedge shot in the entire Piedmont region.
With delicious dining and a refreshing spa, The Grandover Resort is a wonderful facility in which to get away and relax. After a round on the East Course, any player will definitely need to unwind. This modern golf property requires your A-Game from tee-to-green for 18 consecutive holes. With its convenient location just off the highway, it is certainly worth a stop if you find yourself in the Triad.