Grande Pines Golf Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.0

Golf - Resort Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Orlando, Florida

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Grande Pines Golf Club Review

Marriott's Grande Pines was designed by Steve Smyers, in partnership with six-time major champion Nick Faldo, as a championship course and as such it is not your typical resort course. It is one of Golfweek's Top 100 "America's Best Resort Courses" and we would describe Grande Pines as a shot makers course defined by very complex and challenging greens. The course meanders through tall pines, oaks, and palms, around some lakes, and beside the Marriott's Grande Vista Resort. When playing Grande Pines you will hear sounds from Disney's Indy race experience, Sea World, and best of all the calypso music from the Marriott Vista Resort - on the 6th hole you can see the Marriott pool and we were tempted to lay down the clubs and head over to Marriott to sip a Pina Colada by the pool and dance to music.

The slightly contoured and gently rolling fairways were in average condition and in most cases they are generous and forgiving off the tee - of course as soon as we said that we came to the tight 551 yard #11 and drove the tee shot and second shot into the woods as the hole did a sharp dog left then a dog right to the green. On the way to the Grande Pines greens the fairways are mostly flat but you'll find some dog legs, water, berms, mounds, wetlands, fairway pot bunkers, and some huge fairway bunkers.

What makes Grande Pines both memorable and challenging are the complex greens protected by steep and deep bunkers and other hazards - demanding strategic and precise approach shots. Miss your approach and par or better is going to be very difficult. On most of the approaches we were in awe when we got close to the green and had to make a choice to be a risk taker and "go-for-it" or take the conservative approach and lay up (which is what we did on most of the holes). The greens, which were in near perfect condition, all shapes and sizes, and about average speed (9 or 10 on the Stint Meter), are very challenging due to ridges, spines, severe slope, and undulation. And in some cases a combination of all of that! Most of the greens are elevated and all are protected by mounds, water, and some very steep faced and deep bunkers that you need to do everything possible to avoid. The 73 soft sand bunkers are all shapes and sizes from small pot bunkers to some traps that are deep enough to swallow a bus. Before you head out to the first tee box, make sure you spend a lot of time practicing your approach, chip, and sand shots.


Although very challenging, thanks to the strategic shot making required on the approach shots, Grande Pines is a must play and one of the most fun courses we played during our week of golfing in Orlando. No two holes are the same and each has a unique personality that makes it fun, memorable, and challenging. For example, #10 is the signature hole with a beautiful elevated green protected by a lake and 5 deep soft sand bunkers; #1 sets the stage with a risk reward shot off the tee box to carry the lake and shorten the hole and then an approach to a huge green with no margin for error; or the #6 with another tough approach to a green next to a lake and across from the music and pool at the Marriott. For the money, Grande Pines is a must play and an outstanding value.


We played this course as part of a fun filled seven days in Orlando where we rode in an Indy race car, saw alligators on an air-boat ride, sky dived in a wind tunnel, flew a 1946 World War II fighter trainer, para-sailed, swam with the manatees, ate too much good food, enjoyed some fun nightlife, golfed 9 different courses, and got very little sleep! Read our Orlando Vacation article to learn more about this adventure packed vacation.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 6,612 71.8 135
White 6,070 69.1 131
Gold 7,012 74.1 143
Red 5,418 71.1 128

Course Information

Course Architect:
Steve Smyers
Greens Type:
Bermuda/TIF Eagle
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Beware of water on 12 holes and the 75 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.0 out of 10
Fun to Play:
Front Nine Rating:
Back Nine Rating:


Approximate Weekend
$35.00 to $129.00

Service is very good, the pro shop has everything you need, and make sure you spend some time on the practice facilities.



Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.