Title: Celebrating Legacy: The Granddaddy of Myrtle Beach – Pine Lakes International Country Club
Tucked away in the sparkling seaside city of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is a historic gem that gives testimony to the rich and deep-rooted golf culture of the region. This is none other than Pine Lakes International Country Club (PLICC), dubbed as “The Granddaddy” of all Myrtle Beach golf clubs.
Established in 1927, Pine Lakes stands tall and proud as the first golf course in Myrtle Beach, hence its iconic epithet, ‘The Granddaddy.’ Nestled amid sprawling pine forests and tranquil lakes, PLICC’s fairways have witnessed significant episodes of golfing history and myriad transformations akin to the game itself.
Beyond its age-old status, Pine Lakes holds a matchless degree of historical significance. Its architect, Robert White, was not only the first-ever president of the Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA) but also a co-founder of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. Modeling PLICC after traditional British and Scottish golf courses, White introduced a perception of ‘classic golf’ that would become a cornerstone of Southern golf tradition.
During the 1940s and 1950s, following the return of soldiers from World War II, golf boomed in popularity, and so did Pine Lakes. Embracing this renewed allure, Pine Lakes International Country Club emerged as an unparalleled golfing destination, serving veterans and civilians alike. Additionally, its close proximity to the ocean made it particularly appealing, not just to locals but also to tourists and golfers from across the nation.
Adding to its historical uniqueness, the club played host to the creation of the esteemed “Sports Illustrated” magazine. In the winter of 1953-54, a group of Time-Life executives assembled at Pine Lakes to conceptualize what would turn into one of the world’s most popular sports magazines. A blue historical marker at the club commemorates this iconic event.
Pine Lakes Country Club’s pioneering contributions to golf extend beyond its verdant fairways. In 1951, it became home to a leading ladies professional golf tournament, the Serbin Open. This event, held here until 1963, bolstered the club’s authority on the international golf map and was a precursor to the emergence of the LPGA Tour.
Furthermore, Pine Lakes’ commitment to accommodating golfers of diverse abilities played a pivotal role in popularising the sport across different demographics. Its Slope Rating system, introduced in 1987, allowed golfers with disparate handicaps to compete equitably, marking a significant evolution in the world of amateur golf.
Despite undergoing considerable physical and architectural transformations over its rich, nine-decade history, Pine Lakes’ commitment to upholding golf’s traditions remains impeccable. The 2009 restoration brought it back to White’s early designs, capturing the spirit of this Granddaddy of golf. Structures including the Grand Strand’s first clubhouse, with its distinct Mediterranean flair, were renovated to articulate the thread of golf heritage this club represents. Also noteworthy is that Pine Lakes is the only Myrtle Beach golf course that has Seashore Paspalum grass, providing exceptional playing surfaces.
To step onto PLICC’s historic grounds is to transport oneself back nearly a century and immerse into the legacies of golf that have permeated through time. It’s not simply about the green turf, the classic clubhouses, or the signature Southern hospitality that graces Pine Lakes. For resident golfers and international patrons alike, every drive, putt, and chip echo the club’s rich heritage. Today, Pine Lakes International Country Club holds its head high as a beacon of historical significance, sharing its treasured narrative with all who come to participate in its timeless tradition of golf.
Ultimately, Pine Lakes symbolizes a powerful narrative of resilience, evolution, and sporting heritage, setting it apart as an emblematic golf institution and reminding us why it fully deserves the title ‘The Granddaddy.’ A visit to Myrtle Beach, for golf aficionados and history enthusiasts alike, would be incomplete without experiencing the charm and wisdom of the Granddaddy, a living testament to golf’s everlasting allure.