Opened in 1927 as part of the former Ocean Forest Hotel development, Pine Lakes is the course that started it all for the local golf industry and helped put Myrtle Beach on the map as a major golf destination. Under new ownership and after undergoing major renovations a decade ago, Pine Lakes remains a staple of the Myrtle Beach golf market and a hit with those who have an appreciation for the past.
Pine Lakes is much more than a golf course – it's a living museum to the sport's impact on the Grand Strand and beyond. Not only does the historic clubhouse house the Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame, which pays tribute to all the people who played a part in turning the Grand Strand into a golf mecca, but there's also a plaque commemorating the founding of the iconic magazine Sports Illustrated, which was started by Time Inc. executives on a golf getaway here in 1954. Late Pine Lakes founders and figures like former owner Sandy Miles and golf director Jimmy D'Angelo are also enshrined, as well as other prominent figures who helped transform Myrtle Beach into Golf Town USA.
Their legacy lives on in the 18-hole layout that underwent a major redesign starting in 2007. Originally built by noted Scottish architect Robert White, who left influences from his homeland on the links, Pine Lakes' front nine was redesigned by Craig Schreiner to provide much-needed updates and upgrades. Now measuring at 6,675 yards, the semi-private par-70 plays a bit short compared to many of the new layouts that have landed on the Grand Strand over the years since Pine Lakes first opened. But the unique design of The Granddaddy makes it a must-play for those with an interest in local golf history.
The straightforward layout doesn't throw golfers any curveballs or require any blind trick shots, but it does reward solid shots in the middle of the fairways on the new SeaDwarf Paspalum surface. With only two par-5s on the course, the long ball is not required but can lead to some birdie opportunities. There are relatively few bunkers, sand traps and water hazards to contend with, making this a great course for golfers who can hit it straight but not necessarily far. The new greens are fair and not so fast that you can't finish those birdie tries.
After your round, make a beeline for the clubhouse and the Robert White Pub for a post-round drink and a heavy dose of history. The walls are lined with blasts from the past, including images from famous tournaments and other memorable moments. Pine Lakes hosted the Carolinas Net Amateur Championship in 2016 and has a long history of holding top tournaments – including national, regional and local. The stately clubhouse is also home to weddings and other private functions, and it includes a swimming pool, the Snug Pub, the Hall of Fame Garden and other unique features to explore.
Perhaps the best part of playing Pine Lakes is the indefinable quality of the Southern charm and hospitality that exudes from the course, clubhouse and employees. Guests are treated like royalty, served special treats like chowder and mimosas, and generally made to feel like a member, even if they are only playing for one day. The tradition continues as the club looks to remain a centerpiece of the Myrtle Beach golf scene for years to come.