Pine Lakes Country Club Golf Course Review

Pine Lakes Country Club Golf Course Review
The clubhouse and putting green at Pine Lakes Country Club

Pine Lakes Country Club Golf Course Review

Pine Lakes Country Club
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Grade: A
Teachers’ Comments: A wonderfully old school course.

Dating to 1927, Pine Lakes Country Club is the oldest course in Myrtle Beach. It is wonderfully old school, immaculately kept, and exudes charm. Nicknamed “The GrandDaddy,” Pine Lakes is a must-play Myrtle Beach course.

Just outside the clubhouse is a plaque commemorating the creation of Sports Illustrated between rounds at Pine Lakes.

An interesting fact about Pine Lakes: It was in the clubhouse, between rounds in 1954, that Sports Illustrated was conceived.

Pine Lakes originally was designed by architect Robert White, the first president of the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) of America and a co-founder of the American Society of Golf Course Architects,. The course has in recent years undergone extensive renovation, returning the back nine in particular to White’s original intent.

As you might expect from a 1920s design, tees at Pine Lakes usually follow closely after the previous green. Folk in the 1920s, after all, walked. The exceptions are between the third green and fourth tee, which is a significant distance that passes the sixth tee, and from the fifth green back to the sixth tee. The path between thirteen and fourteen loops back around the clubhouse.

Pine Lakes is compact, but not crowded. Certainly on any given hole you usually can see players grinding away on other fairways or greens. But the holes at Pine Lakes thankfully have wide margins and treelines that prevent them from becoming a shooting galleries.

Most of the holes at Pine Lakes are relatively straightforward affairs. Doglegs on four, five and thirteen are the exception. The terrain is flat, except for fourteen, which plays downhill to a pond/creek, and then back up again to a hilltop green. Fifteen starts on that hilltop, and requires a tees shot over the water, but the height otherwise does not come into play.

Straightforward, however, does not mean simple. Pine Lakes is aptly named. Water is everywhere, appearing on sixteen of the eighteen holes. Four of those require a carry; the rest border one side or the other of the fairway. Elevated greens, with often steep faced surrounding traps, and strategically placed fairway bunkers provide further challenge.

The fifteenth at Pine Lakes is a 378 yard par 4.

My favorite hole was the 378 yard par four fifteenth.  The tee shot requires a carry over a small ravine and creek, and must avoid the large bunker on the hill’s facing. From the tee, players need to decide whether to play safely left, or challenge the bunker to shorten the hole. Tree on the right near the direct line between the tee and green should give more pause for thought. While the fifteenth is a relatively straight shot from tee to green playing left will effectively turn it into a dogleg.

The ninth at Pine Lakes is a 369 yard par 4.

The ninth is another excellent, and very beautiful hole. A tee shot over water must stay right to avoid another inlet of the same pond further down the fairway. Try to play a fade or a straight shot here. The closer you play to the far water, the straighter the shot into the green, which has bunkers flanking left and right. Too far to the right off the tee, and the approach will need to fly the bunker and stick to a small, unfriendly green.

Pine Lakes is a par 70, with just one par five on each nine. From the back tees, Pine Lakes measure 6, 675 and plays to a 72.3/134. The middle tees are in at 6, 305 and play to a 70.5/128. The forward men’s tees are in at 5, 756 and a 68.1/120. I honestly think the course plays longer than the yardages and rating/slope indicate.

Conditions on the day I played were excellent. Greens were smooth and quick. Fairways were well-tended and free of problem areas. Tee boxes were in good shape. Areas under the tree lines were tended and free of undergrowth. Pine Lakes had “Country Club” conditions. More than than good conditions, Pine Lakes is a really beautiful course.

My brother, a weekend hacker, commented that it a much nicer course than he could remember playing.

Put “The Granddaddy” down as a must play golf course in Myrtle Beach.

The Pine Lakes Country Club Golf Course Review was first published August 8, 2017, based on a July 2017 playing.

More photos of Pine Lakes follow:

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