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TravelGolf.com Reporter's Notebook

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Rumors, ramblings, and other things admissible as news from around the golfing world.

Myrtle Beach's Grande Dunes Honored

Grande Dunes Golf Course has been named "Best Golf Course" by readers of The Sun News, the Knight-Ridder newspaper that serves the Grand Strand. The Grand Strand includes the greater Myrtle Beach area and stretches along the coast from Georgetown, South Carolina, into Brunswick County, North Carolina. The Sun News conducts a poll of its readers annually and the results were published October 21.

"We are very pleased and excited to be voted the "Best Golf Course" in the entire Myrtle Beach area," said Robert Harper, Director of Golf Operations for Burroughs & Chapin Golf Management. "With more than 110 golf courses along the Grand Strand, local residents can play anywhere they want, anytime. So it's especially gratifying to have them say that Grande Dunes is the best of all those choices."

Torrey Pines South Course to Reopen in December.

Torrey Pines GC's South course (La Jolla, Calif.) is slated to re-open in December. Rees Jones redesigned many of its greens, and lengthened the course, as well. However, green fees were hiked substantially for visitors ($85/weekdays, $105/weekends) and city residents ($40/weekdays, $45/weekends).

The South Course has remained open during the renovation, through the use of temporary greens and tee boxes. Golfers can play the South for a greatly reduced rate from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Overseeding was recently completed on the North Course, which is reportedly in excellent condition.

Woods and O'Meara Test out the New-Look Augusta National

Tiger Woods and Mark O'Meara recently played Augusta National to test out course architect Tom Fazio's latest renovations. Fazio was hired by the men of the Masters in yet another attempt to "Tiger-proof" the venerable course.

Fazio lengthened the course by 300 yards, moved some bunkers and made a few other adjustments. Woods and O'Meara agreed that the course is playing about two strokes harder, and O'Meara even remarked that the tournament "did what it had to do" to make the course more challenging.

The par 4 18th was stretched out quite a bit, and O'Meara was forced to take a fairway wood into the green on his second shot. As for Tiger, he hit a booming 310-yard tee shot down the middle, and needed just a six iron to get home.

Pinehurst Unveils Statue of Stewart

A statue of late 1999 U.S. Open champion Payne Stewart was unveiled this week near the 18th green at Pinehurst No. 2 where he holed a 15-foot par putt to win the title. Stewart's widow Tracey, daughter Chelsea and son, Aaron attended the ceremony.

Make Plans to Travel to Kiawah for the UBS Warburg Cup.

Daily tickets are available for the inaugural UBS Warburg Cup at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course Nov. 15-18. The Ryder Cup-style event features a U.S. team, captained by Arnold Palmer and including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Curtis Strange and Raymond Floyd, among others, against a World team captained by Gary Player and including Bernhard Langer, Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam, among others. Daily tickets are $95 and four-day passes are $185. For more information, call 866-238-6596.

Overseeding in Phoenix, Tucson and Myrtle Beach Completed.

All Phoenix and Tucson area courses have completed overseeding and related maintenance and are ready for the peak winter season. Golf courses in these southern Arizona cities overseed their Bermuda grass with rye grass in the winter. Some courses offer "wall-to-wall" overseeding, and others let the rough go dormant, producing a contrasting brown and green look. The TPC of Myrtle Beach will complete its overseeding next week, rounding out the docket for the Grand Strand fall maintenance schedule.

Muni Course Reopens in Grand Strand.

Yes, Myrtle Beach actually claims a municipal golf course as part of its 120-course repertoire. Whispering Pines Golf Course, the Grand Strand's only municipal facility, reopened back on October 9 after being closed for repairs for 11 weeks.

The course's greens were all renovated and have been returfed with Tif Eagle Bermuda. Two greens are totally new and three other were rebuilt in their existing places using the native soil. A number of new tees were added and six bunkers were refashioned. With the reopening of Eagle Nest on Nov. 5, all Grand Strand courses are now fully operational.

Also see this week's column: "Contraction? Not in the World of Professional Golf."

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